It has recently come to my attention that this site needs to be significantly changed. I’ll be moving Solomon and Aldain to their own dedicated subdomains very soon and using this as a blog/news hub for myself and my work.
In other news, this past November marked the completion of the first draft of my first complete novel. Details will be forthcoming once I finish the first round of revisions.No comments
I think I’m gonna update Aldain with a few more chapters pretty dang soon. Keep an eye on things.No comments
Sorry that I’ve been neglecting to update this site, but this year’s NaNoWriMo site of mine is up and in full swing. I’m actually a little bit further ahead on the story than the site indicates, as I’ve been writing about a chapter and a half each day for the last couple. So today Chapter 4 will go up, but chapter 5 will probably be half written, so I’m not quite as behind as it looks.
So the website is http://www.jericho.andrewblatt.com. You should also check out fellow Fool Brant “Rubble” Bell’s story at http://foolsanddevils.blogspot.com. Give him some encouragement. I’ll try and update the links list accordingly.
-The Drewcifer1 comment
So November is rapidly approaching. I’ve made preparations for the coming month, which I think will be more effective than last year. This year’s nano will be hosted at jericho.andrewblatt.com. The site isn’t set up just yet, but then again, I’m not allowed to write anything for it yet.
-The Drewcifer2 comments
Sorry about the long delays, folks. I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that within 7 days, I promise I will have a new chapter of Solomon up. The bad news is that it will be the last chapter of Solomon for the forseeable future. Chapter 13 will mark the end of Part One of Solomon. As soon as chapter 13 goes up, I’ll be shutting down Solomon for revisions. I’m going to be rewriting everything and when I’m done with the revisions, I’ll decide whether the revised Part One will be posted. If I plan on giving Part Two the same treatment that Part One got, you readers will need the revised Part One so that Two actually makes sense and has the proper chronology.
While the revisions are occurring, I’ll attempt to do some major overhaul of the site. I have a few ways that that could go, we’ll see what happens.
Catch you later,
The DrewciferNo comments
Solomon: Chapter 12
Jacob woke to the sound of Aidan’s voice. “Solomon? Solomon, wake up,” said the boy as Jacob’s eyes fluttered open. “Felicity’s awake. She asked to see you even before I told her you wanted to know when she was awake.”
Jacob sat up and nodded. He reached over and secured his hat firmly on his head before following Aidan into Felicity’s room.
The ten- year- old was sitting up in bed, waiting patiently. She wore an expression that spoke of intelligence, serenity, and worldliness beyond her years. It was the sort of expression you imagined would be found on a fairy-tale queen, not a real-life child. It was a regal thing that was becoming familiar to Jacob even in his short time knowing her.
Jacob bowed and removed his hat as he crossed the threshold of Felicity’s room. “Hello Felicity. I hope you’re feeling better?”
Felicity nodded, the feeling of sagaciousness she projected undiminished. “The battle was the first true test of the limits of my abilities I’ve had in a long time. I fear I may have slightly overestimated my capabilities. We were fortunate to have your intervention.”
“I am happy to have been able to assist my friends when they needed me.”
Felicity stared at Jacob. “I assume that you and Lucinda were accosted on your way back to us? That would account for her weakened condition when you arrived.”
Jacob nodded. “Yes. When do you think you’ll be strong enough to forge the Pact? The sooner we accomplish that, the better off all of us will be.”
Felicity’s serene demeanor was temporarily suspended for frankness. “I really don’t know. I feel strong enough now, but I should probably wait for at least another hour. The pact itself is not incredibly intense magic, just complicated. More effort will go into setting up the spell circle than the spell itself. Have we decided on a name for ourselves?”
Jacob shrugged. “I hadn’t really thought about it. It’s not like a name is required for a cabal.”
“Agreed,” she said. “But it does lend us some power. A name gives substance to the ephemeral. It will be easier for our enemies to fear something that they can attach a name to than one that they cannot, if only because it will be easier for them to think about us at all.”
Jacob saw her point. “Very well. Would you like to come into the living room to see everyone else now? Or do you need to stay in the bed?”
“I am sufficiently recovered to mingle with the others. As long as I refrain from any magical activity for the next hour, whether or not I am walking around should be largely irrelevant.”
She stood and accompanied Jacob and Aidan back into the living room. Jacob realized that he hadn’t really payed any attention to how his companions were when he woke up, so focused had he been on Felicity’s wellbeing. He mentally chastised himself; when a demonologist got unobservant people died. Now he took stock of how his allies were coming along.
A quick glance at the clock on the mantle revealed that it was now just after six in the afternoon. That meant that Jacob and Felicity had been asleep for just about three hours. Jacob wasn’t sure what Aidan had been doing during that time, but he looked much better. Of the four remaining magicians, Lucinda was still asleep on a couch opposite Jacob’s, Silver and Vivian were playing a card game by the fireplace, and Mort was nowhere to be seen.
“Where’s Mort?” asked Jacob, mostly to Silver and Vivian.
“Upstairs,” answered both of them in unison without looking up.
“Wait here for me,” Jacob said to Aidan and Felicity. “I’ll be back with Mort soon.”
Jacob made his way up the stairs, looking around instead of calling for his friend. He followed a hunch and found Mort standing in what appeared to be a guest bedroom, hands behind his back, looking into the mirror. Mort spoke when he saw him approach.
“Solomon. Something is wrong. A shudder ran through the Webwork while you slept. You can still feel it echoing if you tap into it.”
This was very bad news. The Webwork was a metaphysical network known to the practitioners of the darker arts, analogous to the ley lines utilized by those on the brighter side of magic. Powerful acts of dark magic could be felt by those tapped into the Webwork.
“When exactly did you feel the anomaly, Mort?”
“About two hours ago.”
Shit. Any magic powerful enough to still echo after two hours was going to mean trouble indeed. Jacob let himself tap into the network and feel around for the shudder. He didn’t have to look for long. It was big magic. Ritual, multiple participants. A summoning. As he examined the spell’s signature further, he felt his spirits sink. It wasn’t the power of the spell itself that was causing it to impact the Webwork so profoundly; it was the being that had been summoned. Jacob couldn’t tell what it was, specifically, but he could tell that it was both powerful and malevolent.
Jacob drew his attention away from the Webwork to find that Mort had turned to face him now. “Were you able to identify the nature of the spell, Mort?”
Mort shook his head. “All I could gather was multiple participants. Beyond that, everything was unfamiliar to me. I thought it might be a summoning. I figured you’d be able to tell me for sure, being that summoning is very much your thing.”
Jacob nodded. “You were right. It is a summoning. And the strength of the echo isn’t coming from the spell itself, it’s coming from the summoned being. Someone in the Darrington territory has summoned a truly horrifying creature to our world and I have a hunch who might have done it.”
“The Baron?” Mort ventured.
“Exactly,” confirmed Jacob. “And I’ll bet you my lucky hat it has something to do with us.”
“I need to check on our perimeter,” said Jacob. “I’ll be just a minute.”
Mort nodded. “Of course. Take as much time as you need.”
Jacob stepped out of the room and placed two fingers on his forehead. Marchosias, are you there?
The demon’s voice answered him in his mind. I am here, my Master. How may I serve?
What’s our security situation?
Everything appears to be calm. I have fully disposed of the remains of our attackers. I have not spotted any suspicious characters since the initial confrontation.
Good. Alert me if the situation changes.
Jacob stepped back into the room with Mort. “Mort, come with me downstairs. We have a few more matters to attend to before Felicity can forge the Pact.”
Mort shrugged and followed Jacob down the stairs and back into the living room.
“Hello, Mort,” greeted Felicity as they came into view.
“Felicity,” acknowledged Mort. “It is good to see you are feeling better.”
Just then, Lucinda began to stir on the couch. “Iz, are you there?”
“I’m here, Lucy,” Jacob said, moving more into Lucinda’s field of vision.
“Good,” mumbled Lucinda as she rubbed her eyes, stretched, and sat up. “Is Felicity okay?” Lucinda smiled as she spotted the little girl. “Hey Munchkin, feeling better?”
“Much,” was Felicity’s simple reply.
Jacob cleared his throat. “Now that we’re all here and awake, Felicity has brought up an excellent point that should be resolved before we move on with the forging of the Pact. We need a name.”
Time for some information and updates relevant to Solomon.
First of all, it feels good to be back in Jacob’s world, sharing his story. I think I’ll be able to keep up the pace over the summer.
Secondly, I’d like to emphasize that everything I post for Solomon is very much first draft. The book, once completed will undergo extensive revision and rewrite. One of the things that will be changing is how flashy the magic is. I’ll be going back and refitting the magic to be much, much more subtle. However, for now to keep everyone interested, I’ll probably keep the high-octane flashy fights. Just some FYI, I guess.
Thanks for reading.
Solomon: Interlude 1
Blood ran slowly along the surface of the altar, falling onto the stone floor of the chamber with an irregular rhythm.
The Baron smiled. The sacrificial victim had been one of his Knights. He had earned his current position by questioning the wisdom of the Baron’s plan. The Baron only allowed doubt when he consulted his Knights. Volunteering misgivings was not tolerated. And so the errant Knight had been made an example of.
His blood would power the very spell he had opposed. The irony of it delighted the Baron.
The Baron and his remaining Knights stood evenly spaced around the summoning circle chalked onto the stone floor. The Baron made eye contact with each one before speaking a single word.
The chanting began slowly and softly. The many voices chanted as one, gradually increasing in tempo and volume. As their voices reached a crescendo, suddenly all was silent.
A wave of darkness emanated from the center of the circle, briefly blinding the participants and chilling them to their very souls. When sight returned, the Baron found that in the center of the summoning circle was what might have been a crouching man. Might have been, but for the fact that it was more like a man-shaped hole in reality. The creature was more than dark. It was nothingness. A formless and nameless evil given shape by the spell.
“Rise and approach me, creature. Come to your master.”
The thing rose and made its way to the edge of the circle at which the Baron was standing. It spoke in a voice just as terrible as its form. A low, rasping whisper that was clearly audible despite its volume. To every person around the circle, it sounded like the creature was whispering into his ear.
“I am ready to serve.”
The Baron looked upon his handiwork appreciatively. The Knight to his right eyed the creature warily. “Shall we give it a name, my Lord?”
The Baron shook his head, never taking his eyes off the creature. “We shall let it choose its own name.”
“My Lord, is that wise? The creature is-”
A sharp gesture to the slowly dying Knight on the altar silenced him. The apprehensive Knight bowed his head. “Of course, my Lord. It is under your wisdom we fall. Forgive my foolish doubting.”
The Baron smiled. “You are forgiven, but only because our sucess has me in such high spirits. Do not let it happen again.” He turned his attention back to the creature. “Now, what is your name?”
The creature smiled. It was an awful sight, teeth terrifyingly white in the inky void of the being’s body. “You may call me
Hello everyone. It’ll probably come as no surprise that I’m not going to post any new Solomon or Aldain at the moment. My computer is in Lafayette, but I’m in Kokomo for the rest of May. As such, I have to move from computer to computer as my family members stop using them. As a consequence, I have no central location to keep notes, etc. However, I do have some ideas for little vignettes and whatnot. If you’re into my stuff, your best bet is to keep a wary eye on my Blogger site, which one can navigate to using my links.
Once I get back into West Lafayette, I’m going to spend a few days with a PHP manual and Paul’s theme for the SoF website. I think I might be able to trick WordPress into allowing me to set up more than one main loop, just like Paul did. If I can swing it, I’ll have three loops: Solomon, Aldain, and everything else. If nothing else, I think I can figure out how he got his “Previous/Next in News” and “Previous/Next in Events” to navigate to the prev/next in the category as opposed to the chronology. Maybe. I have some ideas of how to do it, but no concrete knowledge of PHP. (Paul, if you’re listening and what I’m attempting is just crazy, please feel free to tell me.)
So that’s where we are, Readers. I hope you’ll stick with me.
-The Drewcifer3 comments
Originally, this assignment was limited to a 9 page maximum and needed to show setting, internal and external conflict, and a bunch of other stuff.
Anyway, I need to do a revision of it by next Tuesday, the revision can have as many pages as I want. There is a notable lack of internal conflict in this story, among other flaws. To all of my readers, I’d like as much input from you on improvements as possible. I know the ending is wonky, so suggestions there are very appreciated.
Note: Anne Marie’s name and likeness are used, but her powers and goals are very different. Consider this “fanon” as far as she’s concerned.
Thanks very much for your help, guys.
by Andrew Blatt
Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m psychic. I can’t say I blame them. In fact, I’m always a little suspicious of people who do believe me right off the bat. That said, I’m being 100% serious when I say that’s what I am.
Not professionally, of course. I’ve never met a genuine psychic who made money from his or her “gift.” Unlike some of the frauds, I can find my own car in a parking lot. Most of my clairvoyance, though, is the ability to see my immediate future. I know you’re thinking that that sounds great, but it’s not. See, to go along with that little edge, I have terrible luck. So when I stare into the infinite maw of Probability, all I see is how much my life is going to suck in about five minutes.
I seem to have forgotten to introduce myself. My name is Gregory Hallen. As I’ve mentioned I’m a psychic by nature, though not by profession. I’m pretty much always between jobs, a side effect of the bad luck. Doesn’t bother me too much, though. I can always see what’ll give me the best results during an interview, so getting new jobs isn’t much of a problem.
When you’re psychic, seeing things like ghosts isn’t supposed to be a big deal. Somehow, I never quite got to that point. I think that the restless dead make me uncomfortable because they throw off my predictions. I can’t read anything about the future when ghosts are involved. Once you get used to a life with no surprises, even if that life isn’t all that great, surprises start to make you very uncomfortable.
Which is why I’m never quite as happy to see my dad as one might expect.
“Hello, Greg.” My old man’s voice is slow and melancholy. Not because he’s dead, though. He’s sounded like that for as long as I can remember.
I jump slightly in my chair, then put down my paper and turn to face my father.
“Hi, Dad. What can I do for you today?”
These visits are starting to get out of hand. Before, it was unusual for me to encounter a ghost more than once every two or three years. Even after Dad died, he would just drop in twice a year; once on my birthday, once on his. Simple, little things. But this is the third time Dad’s been here this month.
But he shrugs it off like it’s nothing. “Just wanted to see how you’re doing, Greg. I worry about you a lot. I worry about your mom, too, but she can’t see me.”
Uh oh. Looks like Dad’s going to work himself into a ramble if I don’t do something.
“Look, Dad, something must be up. You’ve visited me more in these few weeks than you have in all the rest of the four years since you died. I know you. You don’t get that sentimental. And you know that you being around tends to gum up the one single talent I have.”
Dad’s trapped. Everything I’ve just said is pretty much spot on, so there’s no use in him arguing it. He sighs and looks at me with an unfamiliar expression. After a moment, I realize that it’s pride.
“I always knew you were smarter than we gave you credit for,” he says to me. Great. That makes me feel just wonderful.
“Right, whatever.” This is becoming irritating. “Look, Dad, if this is something I can help with, tell me. If not, you need to let me get back to my life. Birthdays are still fine, but you can’t just hang around the living all the time. We’re both supposed to be moving on.”
Dad shifts uncomfortably. He hasn’t really changed any of his mannerisms since his death. It’s somewhat unnerving. People are supposed to be different after they die.
“I just wanted to make sure you were safe. There’s been some sort of plague or something. Something is killing psychics and no one can tell what it is.”
Something killing psychics? That seems strange. “But,” say, frowning. “Wouldn’t we be able to see it coming? That’s kinda what we do. My life’s kinda shitty, but I’m not usually in any sort of mortal danger.”
My dad grimaces. “That’s the problem. Whatever it is, it’s striking without warning. I guess I just want to tell you to be careful. Don’t rely too much on your ‘gift.’ Keep your eyes open in the present, too.”
As much as I hate to admit it, his frequent visits have been forcing me to ease off reliance on reading the future. Whether he realizes this or not is a matter of speculation. Still, I’m glad he decided to warn me.
“Thanks Dad. I’ll keep on my toes.”
“Love you, Greg,” he say as he fades from view.
Funny, he rarely said that when he was alive.
The futures I can see slowly become relevant again. The thing about my clairvoyance is that it doesn’t stop when I’m dealing with ghosts. If that were the case, I’d still know when they were around from the “blackout.” Instead, timelines and futures with the ghosts in them just never show up.
That’s when it hits me.
This malevolent presence hunting down psychics, it must be ghostly in nature. It’s the only thing that really fits. And Dad probably knew that, but couldn’t tell me. There seem to be a lot of very strange and arbitrary rules governing the behavior of the dead, one of which seems to be a restriction against telling any living being what exactly the rules are.
Right. Sorry about that. I seem to have inherited my father’s legendary ability to ramble ever since I hit my thirties. So where were we? Right, my potentially looming death.
So far I’m betting it’s another ghost, obviously a malevolent one. Though to be honest, I’ve never heard of a ghost outright killing anyone, which always led me to believe that they couldn’t. The number of murders who would prefer not to be stopped by death is not a small number, let me tell you. But I’ve faced down the spirits of serial killers and saints alike, finding them equally unable to touch me.
This is turning out to be a great day so far.
I do know someone who might be able to help me solve this little mystery. After all, that’s what she does. So I take the bus downtown and end up at the offices of one Miss Anne Marie Thompson, private investigator.
I raise my hand to knock on her door, but am interrupted by Anne Marie’s voice.
“Come on in, Greg.”
Did I mention she’s a psychic, too? I know what you’re thinking. But we’re the only two in this town. It’s only natural that we’d know each other, right?
I open the door and close it behind me. Anne Marie’s office is small and sparse. Three sets of filing cabinets, a desk, and two chairs are the only furnishings she has. The air in here is think and smells heavily of nicotine. Sitting behind the desk is Anne Marie herself, smoking a cigarette.
At thirty-two, Anne Marie is quite a looker. She is, like me, average height. Her dad was a boxer, so she learned and used his training regimen, which keeps her in shape and ready to kick the ass of the punks she usually ends up chasing down. She keeps her dirty-blonde hair just short of shoulder length. You’d think two thirty-something, single psychics would have hooked up at some point, right? You’d be right, though that was a while ago. Back when we were still twenty-somethings.
“So, Greg,” she says, blowing blue smoke into the ceiling fan. “What brings you to me today?”
Interaction between two psychics has an effect similar to, yet totally different from, interaction with ghosts. Similar in that our talents will be largely useless in our interactions with each other. Different in that I can see futures with Anne Marie in them, they’re just fuzzy and constantly shifting. It’s much less unsettling.
“I got a visit from my Dad today,” I say, dropping into the seat across from her and placing my feet on the desk. “He had some rather downer news for me.”
“Just so we’re clear, this is your dead dad we’re talking about, right?” She’s got the same apathetic edge to her voice as always. But her eyes tell me she’s interested despite the act.
“Yes, my dead dad.”
“Okay, so what was this news?”
I take down my feet and lean in, resting my elbows on the desk. “He says there’s been a slew of psychic killings lately. That none of them saw it coming. Heard anything about it?”
Anne Marie shakes her head. “I’ve been out of town the last couple of weeks. I read about a couple of deaths, but I didn’t think it was anything connected. Any ideas who’s responsible?”
“I was thinking a ghost, actually.”
She frowns. “That’d fit the bill nicely, except I don’t know of any way a ghost could kill someone. And the couple of deaths I did hear about sounded pretty gruesome.”
I shrug. “I figure that’s your job. You’re the investigator. Do you think you can do a bit of digging? It’d be in your best interests, too.”
Another long drag on the cigarette. “Yeah, I’ll look into it. It’s a pretty small crowd we’re dealing with, so I should know something by evening. I’ll call you around six.”
With my hand on the doorknob I turn back to Anne Marie. “Hey, be careful, okay?”
She smiles at me. “You too, Greg.”
And with that, I’m gone. While I’m in town I collect my unemployment check then head home to wait for Anne Marie’s call.
The phone rings at 6:14. I pick it up on the first ring.
“Greg? It’s Anne Marie.”
“Did you manage to dig up anything useful?”
“I’ve got a few leads, yeah. And I think I have a good idea of who our mysterious
psychic-killer is. Can you meet me at that old warehouse on the south side of town? Do you know which one I’m talking about?”
“The one that closed down in ’93?”
“That’s the one.”
“Sure. When do you want me to be there?”
“Head on over now. I’ll meet you there.” Click.
And that’s the end of that conversation. I pull on a coat and head out. The warehouse is close enough for me to walk. Besides, it’s a pretty nice night and I could use the exercise.
When I get there, Anne Marie is outside, waiting for me. She tosses me a flashlight.
“You’re going to need that. The power’s been off in there for quite a long time.”
I nod and she leads the way into the old warehouse.
“So Anne Marie, what do you expect to find here?” I look around the warehouse, moving my flashlight along the walls and ceiling, turning my body around slowly. When I turn back to face Anne Marie, I find myself staring down the business end of a revolver.
“I expected to find answers.”
The future becomes staticky and unreadable. Each decision that Anne Marie or I considers alters the possible futures. The end result is like watching pay-per-view channels that you haven’t paid for. The pictures are distorted and scrambled.
So I stop reading the future. The sudden clarity of Anne Marie’s second sight disorients her just enough for me to duck behind a huge cable spool, left over from better days of this warehouse’s operation. I start to comb the threads of time as soon as I’m hidden, effectively jamming both Anne Marie and I.
“Why are you doing this, Anne Marie?” I run from one spool to the next, staying low and fast. Anne Marie squeezes off two shots, the second one just barely missing my right foot..
“We’re not meant to be, Greg!” The frustration and pain in her voice is completely different from the casual savoir-faire that she usually projects.
“What do you mean?” Another mad dash for a piece of broken and rusted industrial machinery. Another two shots, this time both of them going wild.
“This so-called ‘gift’ has never helped anyone. It’s brought both of us hardship and bad luck. The best we can manage to do is take advantage of other people with it. It’s been the same for every other psychic I’ve talked to. We’re a cancer on the world, Greg. I’ve decided to be the chemo.”
She’s raving. I don’t know what got her to this point, but there doesn’t seem to be any bringing her back. She is right about one thing, though. We psychics have terrible luck. And two psychics in one place is a recipe for tragic improbabilities. I glance above Anne-Marie. Through the gloom and shadows I can make out the shape of an old iron beam hanging from a rusted chain suspended on a old, broken down crane right above her. And I know what’s going to happen.
The future suddenly crystallizes for both of us. There’s no static because there’s only one path to be taken.
The chain snaps. The sound of the beam hitting the ground is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Its magnitude only serves to accentuate and reinforce the finality entailed by its fall.
I get up and brush the dust off of coat. I make my way over to the beam, picking up my abandoned flashlight on the way. There’s no sign of Anne Marie whatsoever. I shake my head and walk out into the pleasant air of the night. I always manage to have the wrong response to really serious events. This is no exception. For all my wanting to feel remorse, sadness, anything really, I can only manage one thought.
Looks like there’s only one psychic in town now.2 comments