Dragon Age Fanfic Update

DA-MageI’ve been updating my Dragon Age fanfic weekly over at AO3 (Archive of Our Own) and because I was initially sharing my writing here, I felt a little careless that I had ignored the updating here as well.

I write under a pseudonym on the AO3 because I wasn’t sure of what kind of writing I was going to explore through this avenue, and this may sound odd, but I thought I might be embarrassed.

Truth is, I really enjoy writing this story, and I have written a “mature” chapter (or two) which involves a little smut.  I like that word.  It’s totally tame, especially compared to some of the stories I’ve read on the site, but it was something I wanted to challenge myself to write.  There’s a first time for everything, right?!

I will not be posting the more mature chapters here, but will share the link when they go up, as you have to choose acceptance for such content before continuing on the site.  That’s for any of you minors out there.  😉

I appreciate your continued support, and would love your feedback when we get to those racier scenes as it’s so different and new for me, but until then, enjoy Chapter Two of Redcliffe and The Circle.

~

The village had been under siege for days from a horde of undead from the castle, and the lad had been on lookout duty awaiting reinforcements, as they were ill prepared to survive another attack.  The people had taken refuge in the Chantry, hence the silence.  We followed the path that twisted down the hillside past the windmill, as the boy tried to catch his breath amidst prayers and thanks.

The heart of the village had been built on stilts and it rose slightly above Lake Calenhad. I do not know why I found this odd. Perhaps because I could not understand how it was defensible? I found that having that idea was odd as well. The silence had been deceiving. From a distance the village seemed almost abandoned, but there was a great amount of noise coming from the Chantry, and we were informed that the leaders of the town could be found within.

Villagers and soldiers moved quietly about, looking beleaguered and downtrodden after many days of turmoil.  The few knights present seemed to be gathering supplies and organizing what they could in preparation for yet another onslaught.  A small training area was filled with young, inept men, and it was clear that if they were going to survive the night, they would need help.

The doors to the Chantry were heavy, probably reinforced, which was good, and took a little effort to open. The stench of fear was palpable. The villagers were like refugees in their own town, huddled together, praying for mercy.  I overheard conversations of plans to leave the area, traveling to destinations outside Ferelden in the hopes they might outrun the evils here and the Blight.  I heard mention of Kirkwall, a city across the Waking Sea that was taking in refugees, and it reiterated to me that no matter what, we had to succeed.

The moment that thought settled in my mind, I shivered.  “No matter what” was a broad phrase with many meanings, but how many dire circumstances could one country survive?  An undead army was on the march in Redcliffe, the Brecilian Forest had had werewolves, darkspawn were scorching the earth in droves with an archdemon at their backs, and civil war was tearing us apart at the seams. Then there were the other facts, such as the king was dead, the Wardens betrayed, and there were only five people (and a trusty mabari) trying to unite all the inhabitants of Ferelden against the Blight.

A man stood in the center of a small group of soldiers and Templars, clearly the one in charge. When the men disbanded, I saw him rub his face in exhaustion and frustration – the burden of responsibility. We could sympathize.

His name was Teagan, the brother of the Arl, and he remembered Alistair as a boy.  His appearance softened, and he greeted us warmly, even referring to me as “my lady”.  I was relieved that he bore mages no ill will, despite the magical nature of the attacks. He even made a remark about my beauty to which I could not help but blush.  He was sly in his flirtation, and I was compelled to return the compliment. I was unsure how Alistair might respond, but it was all so new and unfamiliar, and honestly, it was harmless. I was starting to feel more like a woman, and less like a thing…it was nice to discover there was a distinction.

We learned from Bann Teagan that the castle had been inaccessible for days, and no one had been heard from, including the Arl and his family.  He had been duty bound to protect the village and its people, but with many of the castle’s soldiers scattered in search of a cure for the Arl’s strange illness, they were unprepared and incapable of doing more than riding out the storm behind the Chantry’s walls.

We took it upon ourselves to do what we could to help the situation by recruiting those in the village who had abilities to lend.  In our efforts we discovered an elven spy, who, after some persuading, offered us Loghain’s name as his contractor.  That man had his claws dug deeply into every region; playing a game we knew nothing about.

I knew very little of the politics outside the Circle, we had our own, but from what I understood the Arl was a powerful man with a swaying voice in the political circles.  This was one of the reasons Alistair suggested we seek him out. He would be a strong ally against Loghain, and that was something we desperately needed.  Obviously, this is why he had been singled out with hostile intent, so he couldn’t offer us his help or stand against Loghain. Rescuing him now seemed a priority, and in order to reach him we would have to defeat this current threat.

Night fell, and what came with it was something I could barely believe.

My time in the Circle was a time of study. We were taught about demons and spirits and the dangers of blood magic, but for the most part, it was clinical, with the exception of the Harrowing.  The Fade was an elusive entity, almost beyond study.  The ever-present threat of possession and the possibility of becoming an abomination were always at the back of a mage’s mind, but within the Circle walls, for the most part, these things were just ideas. We, as mages, had little experience with fighting, let alone actually defending ourselves against a legitimate threat.

I’ll never forget that moment I saw my first darkspawn in the Kocari Wilds.  My stomach sank, and with it my heart, that something so truly horrific could exist. They were beings of anger and hatred, with no other sense then to fight and kill.  They had no language beyond the garbled noises they made, and yet they could unite and strike in formation, leaving death and devastation in their wake. They scorched the very earth and left twisted remnants of themselves behind as reminders to those lucky enough to survive, that true evil existed and was living among them. Or below them, as it were.

I learned quickly that they were almost as frail as any mortal, as they were made of flesh and bone just as we were, so when I got my first glimpse of the creatures that now stormed towards us from the castle, I almost felt a sense of relief.  They were half skeleton beings with fleshy remains that hung like ribbons from various body parts.  Some wore bits of armor and carried weapons and shields, but they appeared fragile in their bony state.

They descended upon us in a cloud of bright green magic, and as I struck them, I realized their frail state was merely an illusion. The magic that bound them was powerful, and it took more effort than I could have imagined to defeat them.  Wave upon wave of the undead came from multiple directions, and for some time, I feared it may be never ending, but in the end we were victorious, but not without a few close calls.

Alistair, Sten, and Keiko had run into the thick of battle, and there were a couple of times when I saw them nearly surrounded and a panic and fear I had never felt before crept in.  I would yell out commands to both Morrigan and Leliana and somehow we were able to hold back the impending doom that seemed inevitable. This would be one of those arguments for why it was best to avoid personal connections within ranks – impaired judgment – something I would deliberate over when I was alone.

I sent out healing magic when I saw each of them wane in strength or stamina, and I was overcome with relief when the last of the corpses were struck down with no others on the horizon.

The Circle had definitely not prepared me for this.

We reunited in the main square and I looked everyone over in case they needed additional healing, but other than being exhausted from battle, everyone was miraculously unharmed save a few minor cuts and bruises. I made a mental note to remember to ask the First Enchanter for more training in spells that would be useful in protecting my companions amidst battle when we traveled to the Circle for aid. Maybe even Morrigan could teach me a few new tricks.  I would ask her when we were next in camp.  For now, we had to plan our next move.

~

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The Dragon Age Obsession Saga Continues…Part 4

InquistionPosterAs I’ve now finished a second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, I felt it was time to wrap up this series of posts.  Here are posts one, two, and three which are in regards to starting the game and importing a history, character creation, and dialogue and romance options with companions to bring you up to speed.  I am unable to discuss any of the DLCs because after the first one was released, Bioware decided not to release any others on the XBox 360, so I haven’t purchased any of them.

The anger I have about the gaming industry’s ploys to wrangle more money out of their gamers is real.  I was not ready to fork out $400 for a new gaming console, but if I want to know the rest of the story, that is exactly what I’ll have to do, and because you all know I’m passionate about this story, I’m going to do it…very, very soon.  ARGH!  As this post is not a rant on that, I’ll save that for fuel for another day.

This post is about the grand scale of the story of the world of Dragon Age.  Inquisition is part three and a culmination of the events in the previous two games where story lines and characters come together.

Origins-WardenShieldIn Origins, game one, your protagonist is from one of six “origin” stories (2 human story lines, 2 elf, and 2 dwarf)  in which each avenue ends with you becoming a Grey Warden, an old order of warriors chosen to fight a specific evil known as darkspawn and their archdemon, an old god twisted by their tainted blood.  They live underground and are rather hideous, similar to Tolkien’s orcs.  The presence of an archdemon is a time referred to as a Blight and when the Grey Wardens are needed most, as they are the only real solution to ending a Blight.  In this first game, there are a number of obstacles to overcome while you try to unite the country against the impending threat, and there is treachery around every corner as the Wardens are declared traitors after an initial battle against the darkspawn.

There are a number of characters who you meet in game one that will progress forward through each game, some of them taking on major roles in Inquisition.  Same can be said of characters from game two.  Fun fact: if you’re game one character is a human mage, you will be related to the protagonist in game two.

DA2In game two, you are a human whose family has escaped the Blight and traveled across the sea in search of a safe haven.  The entire game takes place in and around the city of Kirkwall.  Although many people didn’t care for this game, especially in comparison to Origins – you could only play as a human, there was a lot of repetition in the floor plans, and the primary single location of the city as the backdrop – this is where game three is setup; the conflict between the mages and the Templars.  Without giving too much away, one of your allies takes drastic action that incites a war between the mages, who are considered dangerous and are required to live in prison-like societies called Circles, and their captors/overseers, the Templars.

Fun fact: there is a Dragon Age 2 DLC that introduces you to a powerful darkspawn named Corypheus.  It was Hawke’s father, a mage, and the Grey Wardens who imprisoned him.

DAIGame three begins 10 years after the events of game one.  Your protagonist is found as the sole survivor of a terrible, cataclysmic tragedy where a resolution to the Mage-Templar War was supposed to transpire.  A conclave was called at the Temple of Sacred Ashes in Haven, a village you will have discovered in game one.  With no memories of what happened and a strange mark upon your hand, you are considered responsible for a number of the current problems, including a giant hole in the sky; a Breach in the veil, the line between reality and the spirit world, is the source of a demon invasion.  An old form of justice, an inquisition, is formed to solve the many problems that the world now faces.

Everything you’ve learned from the past two games will pay off as you make your way through Inquisition.  The things you know about the Wardens are relevant.  A relic you found in game two has resurfaced with a vengeance.  You will see old, familiar faces (Hello, Flemeth) and meet interesting, new ones (Well, hellooo Solas).  The world of Dragon Age is vast and all encompassing, and you will discover how well it’s constructed.  I instantly became devoted to the series because it combined things I love such as fantasy, medieval times, old world orders, magic, dragons, romance, and adventure, and then went above and beyond to make it a fully fleshed out universe.

As I’ve tried to end each of these posts with some relevance to writing, you will find, if you choose to play, how key world building is and character development.  It’s key to think multiple steps ahead, whether you’re writing a single story or a series.  How do people know one another?  This may reflect in how supposed strangers speak to one another upon meeting – there may be a history there.  What is their religious affiliation?  How do they feel about the history of their people?  Their government?  What consequences do their actions have later?  This is a good one to consider, especially in a serial.  Actions taken by a character may have unforeseen consequences that may be fun to explore later.  Think of the domino effect.

Consider epic tales like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.  I would count Dragon Age among them.  There is so much more going on than the happenings of one person, and you get to live it first hand, well, vicariously through your character.  Your decisions have bearing on the world around you and shape it.  You become a leader in each game; you build loyalty and friendships or enemies.  You get to save the world, and maybe the boy too.  😉

Aren’t these a few of the reasons we write?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts as much as I’ve enjoyed talking about it.  I could do so much more.  I’m continuing my fanfiction shortly, so if you’re not inclined to play, you can follow along the journey of my Origin character as she tries to save the world and the boy.  I will continue to post them here, as well as on Wattpad and Archive of Our Own (which I just realized needs to be updated).

Have a great weekend and Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #11

Irene SheriThis image makes me think of the poem by Byron, “She Walks in Beauty” and I feel compelled to write a poem, which I just don’t do.  Be kind.  😉

She walks in moonlight with gentle grace

A coy smile upon her lips

A gentle sway in her hips

She knows he watches from a distance

The heat of his stare a fire upon her skin

A pause mid-step to relish the moment

Turns into a dance of seduction

At first she plays shy, ignoring the pull

She glances at the flowers

And tosses her hair

She hears the quick footsteps of her lover drawing near

Her heart skips a beat

And she waits

The footsteps have stilled

And yet she waits

A soft breeze stirs around her and she slowly turns

An innocent gesture draws his attention

One that stirs desire

She stands in moonlight

The embodiment of his heart’s silent yearning

He takes a step forward and reaches out

To find it all a dream

The following is a little excerpt from my Dragon Age fanfic that I am hoping to continue now that contest season is drawing to a close.  I’m not sure where this section will fall in the series, perhaps it’s the opening for Chapter 2: Redcliffe…?  I had this visual of my mage taking a moment after a battle.

For those unfamiliar with what I’m doing, I posted an image of concept art some time ago as a Writing Prompt from the game, Dragon Age Origins called the Brecilian Forest.  I was frustrated with my writing at the time and took to writing some fan fiction.  I loved it!  If you are interested in reading Chapter 1, click here.  It’s written in the first person like a journal.  *The following is a rough draft sample.

My feet swayed slightly across the surface of the water, causing a small ripple effect in the otherwise perfect stillness.  I sighed deeply, trying to gather my thoughts, when I heard the familiar footsteps of the one person I was trying to escape.

Should I do as Morrigan suggested or hold out for something more?  We had barely glimpsed the possibilities and I was feeling more compelled to play the paramour the more time I considered it.  What would it be like to be flirty?  How would he even respond?  Raised in the Chantry, I can imagine he’d blush.  Being free of the Circle was definitely expanding my horizons.

A moment later he was standing beside me.

“Would you care to join me?”  I asked.  I looked up, shielding my eyes from the glaring sun, and found Alistair without his armor.

A casual Alistair was quite the sight.  After the battle, the weight of his armor must have felt heavy, and he was quick to remove it.  I wondered who had aided him.  Surely not Sten?  I laughed a little at the thought.  His tunic and wool pants hung just so, and I had to force my gaze upward.  He looked tired.

“I don’t wish to interrupt your solitude.”  He countered.

Since Ostagar, one of us would seek out the other after any battle.  I had never even thought about that until this moment.  I patted the spot beside me, and smiled as he came to sit with me.  He removed his boots, rolled up his pant legs, and dipped his toes in the water.  He shivered slightly at the cool relief.

He didn’t say anything.  Neither did I.  We just sat there, dangling our feet.  I let my mind go blank and just reveled in the moment.  We had survived yet another fight.  We were still together.  As I sat beside him, I realized that I had never had a friend like him.  Things were just different in the Circle.  Alistair, regardless of circumstance, was my friend.  One I knew I could count on like no other.  That thought brought a special smile.  After a short time, I laid back on the dock, closed my eyes, and enjoyed the silence.  He soon followed suit.

“You were marvelous this night.”  His voice sounded distant, as if he were drifting off to sleep.

I turned to look at him and let my gaze linger, knowing I was not to be discovered.  He seemed at peace.  “As were you.”

I felt his hand drift closer to mine, just enough to touch, and that small hint sent my pulse racing.  And instead of fighting every impulse, I succumbed.  I let my hand move to take his, and when I felt his fingers intertwine with mine, I finally exhaled.  Out of the corner, I saw him glance my way.  After a long moment, which equated with me building up some semblance of nerve, I turned toward him, and was caught off guard by the innocent, bright smile that greeted me.  He inched over and closed the distance and I could not but help to smile in return.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Discrepant Writer Rambles about Captain America: The Winter Soldier

CaptainAmerica2shieldSo as you may have noticed, I have been quite absent as of late.  The new job is just sapping my energy and creativity, and by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is look at another computer screen.  I thought by now I’d be on a better track, but I’m not quite there yet.  So I thought instead of rambling about the job and the lack of writing, I’d do something a bit more fun and do another movie review.

I am now always behind in my tv and movie watching, this never used to be the case…I wanted to write this post over a month ago, and even then I was already behind.

As some of you may already know, I am a big fan of Captain America, the character.  Chris Evans is absolutely adorable, don’t get me wrong, but I am smitten with the good ol’ American blond boy in general.  I like to think of myself as a good person, that I would do the right thing; even in my video game playing I always choose the “right” path (for which The Sis will usually mock me) and something about that quintessential good guy is extremely appealing.  The good guy doesn’t necessarily have to finish last – although if Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was standing in front of me (or just Hiddles in general), I might leave Cap in the cold. 😉   I like a big action/blow ’em up type movie, and the surge of comic book movies has been a lot of fun for the movie-going experience, especially with Marvel doing such a good job of mixing their universe.  Side note, I’m not going to discuss all the prejudices and politics that have become the main topic of conversation recently in association with these films.  That can be for another day.

I wanted to see CA2, but when it was being released I wasn’t quite the Cap fan that I am now.  I have one friend in particular to thank for turning me on (pun intended) to the world of Captain America.  So when I realized how much more I wanted to see this movie, it was already on its way out of theaters and I had to wait for the dvd release – months later.  Another reason for my late entry on this subject.

So here’s my insight, kept to a minimum because I’ve already rambled a bit more than I anticipated (and it’s been a little while now since I watched it), of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was aware of more of the particulars by the time I finally saw the film, so I felt I understood more going in then I would have before this new interest.  And don’t worry I won’t spoil anything for those of you who are behind too.  The movie had a more realistic feel, despite the superhero nature.  Of course there are some big action sequences and massive destruction, but most of the time, I didn’t feel like I was watching a comic based movie.  It is based in the real world and deals with the current political climate and the lengths some people are willing to go to.

I like Natasha being a part of the film, as Steve’s friend and partner, without there being that underlying romantic theme.  I don’t understand why the majority of movies feel it necessary to put the guy and girl together, regardless of their compatibility, just because.  God forbid a man and woman just be friends and work together…side note, she deserves her own movie!

We meet Falcon, who, from what I’ve seen in other mediums is a teenager, but is now a war vet.  He’s not a superhero, but just a good man who wants to do good and because of his admiration for the Cap joins his fight.  I’d like to learn more about him.

The title gave me hope that we would see more of The Winter Soldier, which unfortunately was kept to limited, mostly non-verbal scenes.  Although the few scenes he does have are poignant and will make you more sympathetic to his plight.  There is a whole other post I’d like to dedicate to this character and his relationship to Cap.

After watching the film, I was interested more than ever to learn more about Captain America and his story, especially as hints of The Civil War story line continue to spread.  Then the move happened, and the new job, and I’m no closer to knowing any more than I was just after watching the movie.

My final take on the movie – it’s among one of the best of this genre.  I’d say it’s in my top 3; behind The Avengers and Iron Man and no, I have not seen Guardians yet..I know.  It doesn’t feel as far fetched as some of the other stories, and I think it resonated more with audiences because of its modern take.

Needless to say, I’ve been on the hunt for just the right Captain America shirt and have some comics waiting to be purchased.  I bought a reusable water bottle with Cap’s likeness from the comics and it is this new habit, that could be the right word, that got me the job.

So thanks, Cap!

If you’re interested in some Captain America fanfic, give Archive of Our Own a look.  That’s what started all this.

Have a great week everyone!

There’s Nothing Like a Move to Make You Reevaluate Your Life

DesertI’ve been meaning to post something, anything, for days, but every time I sit at the computer I’m compelled to do other things that a relocation requires, i.e. new home search, job hunt, moving company comparisons, purging and packing.  My thoughts cannot turn themselves toward anything creative, and hence, I’ve written very little over the last week or so.  The only thing I have been able to write is a little fan fiction while at my writer’s group last Monday night.  I know, I know.  Pathetic.

What I’ve discovered is that because it’s not really “mine”, I can slip into this particular story anytime and escape.  There’s no pressure.  As writers, we’re so compelled to put the exact right words on the page for every word, sentence, paragraph, etc. that we sometimes stumble around writing very little in the end because it is ours.  We want it to go out in the world and do great things.  It has to be perfect.  This is one reason I’ve been willing to stick with the fan fiction.  Besides really enjoy the story, which is why I was inclined to write it in the first place, I have found pleasure in the writing because of its freedom.

As you all know, I love my routine, so this is really wearing on me.  I don’t care for not having enough brain capacity to be able to split my focus and concentrate for a few hours every day on the thing I love, my writing.  So, I decided that today, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I would sit for a little while and chat with my friends for a bit…

SmilingEmoticonHi friends!  I hope I find you all well.

…and maybe do a little writing.  We’ll see if I can muster up some focus.

On a side note, as this current Los Angeles chapter draws to a close, I’m thinking of doing a few reflection-type posts; a reminder for myself and maybe a cautionary tale for others, with some helpful tips (and not just about writing).

So as I continue down memory lane with each packed up box, and the desire, albeit a small one, to just chuck everything into the trash…

I wish you all the best, and hope you’re working towards your goals!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #8

CanyonLake, ThailandWhen I shared this image, redgypsophila of Adventures in Writing decided to do something different and challenge herself by writing multiple pieces from the one image, conveying a different mood in each; 1. Contentment, 2. Isolation, 3. Betrayal, 4. Terror, and 5. Wonder.  For her final piece, entitled Mood #6: Editing, she joined them altogether, and recently shared it.  I’ve been following along and enjoying each one, and am pleased to share it.  I really liked this concept and how she chose to portray it, by showing the newly added sentences in red that would help join the moods more seamlessly and crossing out the now defunct text – a fun read!

Congratulations on completing your challenge and thank you for joining me!

As for me, I don’t have any new flash fictions to share, but I thought I’d share a little of the new chapter in the Dragon Age fan fiction I’ve been working on.  It’s sort of a continuation in the forest, where the previous chapter took place, because I was trying to figure out a way of joining the two together, and this is what came out of that…

*For those of you new to what I’m doing, I shared a Writing Prompt image of concept art from the video game Dragon Age (one of my fixations) and found that I really enjoy writing fan fiction.  You can read Chapter 1 under Excerpts.  This is the start of Chapter 2 (or perhaps the actual end of Ch. 1) –

Our time in The Brecilian Forest had had this strange side effect of separating us from the rest of the world; sheltered under the imposing canopy, removed from the impending threats, distanced from other people, and fighting trees, werewolves, and every other thing the forest housed had left us disjointed. A few weeks trekking through that unforgiving forest, discovering the source of the curse and its repercussions, had left us reeling in the aftermath. The first sight of the bright red sails of the Dalish’s landships were a welcome sight and the first sense of relief we had felt since we had last seen them.

Since the incident in the cave, I had steeled myself a bit in regards to my emotions, especially those toward Alistair. I had allowed my feelings to blind me to the task at hand, well not completely, but it had definitely been a distraction, and that was something none of us could afford. A mage with a lack of focus was not a companion anyone would wish for; my magic would be stunted and ineffectual, my aim would be off, and I could inflict harm to anyone nearby, even if unintentionally. I could be dangerous all the same, or more so. I had to do my best to reclaim some modicum of my level-headedness if not for anything but the safety of my friends.

It had been difficult to distance myself from Alistair, but our circumstances were such that we had to stay together as a group at almost all times, which left little time for private side conversations. It was only when we were spread out as we made our way carefully through the forest that we sometimes paired off, but even then, I would stay near either Morrigan or Leliana while Alistair and Keiko led and Sten took up the rear.

At times I had heard Alistair talking to Keiko and Keiko barking a response. The mabari were an extremely smart breed, and made for wonderful companions in part because of their understanding. They were also intuitive, resourceful, and lethal. So when I would hear the two of them having a sort of conversation, I had to swallow back the emotions that would inevitably surface at such a show of affection. It was clear they liked one another, and such devotion from a mabari was a testament to a person’s character. Keiko liked everyone in our party, which only led me to believe further in each of them. I had known on some level that I could trust them, and if Keiko did too, then they must be worthy, but he had taken a special liking to Alistair.

One night as we all huddled together around a small fire we had built in the alcove of the remains of a structure, Keiko had stood guard for a short while. Occasionally, he would make a round to make sure we were all well, then return to his post, alert and ready. I didn’t sleep while he was on duty, but I soon discovered none of us had. It was not that we didn’t trust that he would alert us to trouble, or protect us if necessary, but there was something about keeping him company that we all silently agreed to. When he would make a round, he would sort of nudge each of us, and we would all smile in return and give him a pat or an encouraging word. At one point, Alistair finally agreed to keep him company and the two of them bounded off into the darkness.

I felt my heart constrict in that moment. I watched Keiko walk proudly beside Alistair, whose chainmail glistened in the light of the fire, with one hand sitting casually on the hilt of his sword, the other patting Keiko as they discussed their strategy.

“There is no need to fight so hard against it.” Leliana whispered. Her insinuation was coupled with a slight of her head in Alistair’s direction.

“There is every reason.” I countered, barely keeping the edge of my emotions from my voice. I could feel them bubbling to the surface, along with the hundreds of thoughts I had had since that episode in the cave. There were too many unknowns, and we were surrounded by danger and death at every turn. It was unlikely either of us would survive until the end, whatever that actually meant.

I swallowed hard and pushed all those emotions and thoughts down. This was neither the time nor place, if such could even exist. We were duty bound, and every thing else was a foolish notion, a daydream. It didn’t seem a bad idea to have something to hope for, but the threat of loss was too great, and the subsequent pain might be too much to bear, depending on how long things carried on before they came to an abrupt halt.

Morrigan interjected. “When at war, certain…relationships occur, for the sole purpose of their necessity to maintain a sense of stability in a violent world. Perhaps you could look at Alistair in that regard. You need not look beyond the need for comfort, although I would recommend someone, well, less him.” There was the faintest hint of amusement teasing her lips.

We were all taken aback when Sten joined in, “He would most likely take instructions well”, to which we all laughed. Our giggles prompted even the gruff Qunari to break a smile, or what could be considered a smile, as none of us had ever seen one on him before.

And now…on to Redcliffe.  RedcliffeVillage

Guilty Pleasures

I’ve had a snippet of this post pending for some time, and after reading through some blogs I decided today was the day to talk about something we all have…

TVblueGuilty pleasures.

Admit it.  We all have at least one; be it a book, a tv show, a movie, or what-have-you, that we enjoy for no reason.  It doesn’t have to be Oscar worthy, or popular, but for some reason we just love it.  Geek culture has opened the door to more possibilities, allowing things that were once hidden – under beds, in the back of closets, and only looked at in the privacy of our rooms – to have their day in the sun.  This is something I fully endorse.  It allows us to be more honest about who we are, what we like, and unites us with other like-minded people, even if only virtually.  It gives us a place to be ourselves.

SleepingBeautyI was born a Disney princess.  After many years it felt like it should be something that should be tucked away and that I should “grow up”, but it is absolutely a part of me.  If you’ve ever read my “about” page, it’s all laid out right there.  I do love the color pink.  I love the idea of love at first sight.  When my feminism falters, I do still want my Prince Charming to rescue me.  I want to be wooed.  I love castles.  And twinkle lights.  I love long flowy dresses and chivalry.  I want happy endings.  But this is not my guilty pleasure because although at times I felt it was something I should outgrow, I’ve never kept it a secret.  This is just me.

Dragon Age is also not my guilty pleasure.  My love affair with England (and everything related including its men) is also nothing to be shy about.  But I do have a few.

Confession time.

I don’t know why and I don’t dig deep into wondering why I will watch, every time they’re on, films like The Abyss, Twister, or Lake Placid.  Every time.  I don’t think I have any tv watching guilty pleasures, because I don’t watch any reality tv or anything I think I should be embarrassed about.  I don’t think.  I did watch two seasons of Brett Michaels’ Rock of Love years ago during a marathon weekend, but that’s it.  I am so thankful to not have cable right now though.  Netflix really limits what I have access to.

I don't know what I'm looking at..But my new guilty pleasure is the whole fan fiction thing, which includes “shipping” (the idea of wanting two fictional characters to get together, and this is regardless of sexuality or even being within the same canon – I found an Alias/Captain America crossover that I just loved, and am waiting for more).  This is something that always sort of floated in the back of mind, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized there was an outlet for it.  In addition to the tamer side of fan fiction (my DA fanfic falls into this category, for now 😉 ), I have been introduced to what can only be considered smut, and as a princess (and still a naive one at that), this is all new to me.  I have to keep Googling terminology.  But I secretly love it.  Well, not a secret any more.

So what about you?  What are your guilty pleasures?  Are you willing to voice them aloud?  C’mon…share. 🙂

An Odd Sense of Accomplishment

DA-MageFirst of all, I’d like to thank you all for your continued support while I’ve posted and rambled about this particular topic, for what seems like days on end.  I appreciate having such a kind and welcoming space to share in.

So…Chapter One: The Brecilian Forest (a fan fiction story based on a video game, Dragon Age), is complete.  Yes, chapter one.  After some thinking and the revelation of the pleasure this story gave me, I’ve decided to continue the story of my mage according to the game’s timeline; just snippets of events that could have or may have happened while on this adventure.

Potentially 7 chapters overall, with each chapter a different location visited in the game; Redcliffe Village & Castle, Orzammar, the home of the dwarves, The Circle Tower, the home of the mages and my character’s former home, and finally Denerim, the capital city of this fictional land.  A lot happens in Denerim, so I’m thinking this will be broken into two chapters, one earlier on in the timeline, and another chapter wrapping up the story as this is where the final battle in the game takes place as well.  And then I was thinking, I may need to do a “what happens after all the fighting is over” chapter.  I want my happily ever after, or what ever that might mean for my characters.

There is a scene near the end of the game in which a decision must be made that could have a tremendous impact on the characters, and this is something I have always wished to explore, the emotional ramifications of that choice.  In the game, there is a short conversation, a snippet of a scene if one choice is made, then it fades to black, never really to be discussed again.  Nope, not having it.  I want to explore the potential pre and post conversations more in-depth.

BrecilianForestCaveThis became so much more than I ever intended.  One writing prompt image of concept art started it all.  I just started writing.  I had no idea or concept for the story, no outline, no timeline, or a vision until last night.  It all sort of just came together, and now this part of my hero’s journey is complete.  It’s a little over 6,500 words and it wrapped up nicely.  Well, I think so considering the lack of vision.  If you’ve been following along as I’ve posted, I did a little rewriting, so there are newly added scenes.

I wrote the story in the first person because I liked the idea of it almost being like a journal of this character; to see the world through her eyes, to hear her thoughts, to feel her emotions.  As a screenwriter, I have to write almost removed from all that because of the style and technique that screenwriting requires.  And I truly believe that writing this has helped my writing overall.  I was excited to sit down and write, which, as my fellow writers can attest, can sometimes feel like a chore.  Sometimes writing is painstaking, a challenge, and we can sit for hours without accomplishing much more than a few sentences.  I sat down a few times and wrote 6,500 words.  Me.  That’s why I entitled this post “an odd sense of accomplishment”.  I’m kind of proud.

I’m not sure how to post it, so I’ve added it to the Excerpts section here.  I broke it down into 4 sections, but it is all on the same page.  I’m also thinking of adding it to the fan fiction website I mentioned the other day, Archive of Our Own, in an effort to be a part of that community.  And if you’re wondering how this all began, you can read my post about my Dragon Age Obsession here.

Have a wonderful and productive weekend everyone!

And thanks again!  xx, Rach

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #6

UnderTheGreatTreeI am pleased to share with you this week’s submission from redgypsophila of Adventures in Writing, who accepted last week’s writing prompt challenge, and wrote another inventive piece entitled Jill and the Beanstalk.  Please give it a read and offer her your support.  Again, thank you for sharing your creations!

As for me, I went back to my writer’s group last night – I had taken a small hiatus, and because my computer is on the brink of death, I struggled to write anything.  It’s old.  Really old.  And it strains itself to open each app, sometimes failing.  That little color wheel just spins and spins.  When I realized it wouldn’t be able to open my email and give me access to the newer version of my script, I settled on writing more Dragon Age fan fiction.  From all my time gaming, you’d think I would be better about hitting that little save button, but no…my computer shut down on me mid-type, and I felt those first tinges of fear, that I had lost everything I had just written, about 500 words.

I quickly jotted down, by hand, what I could remember while I prayed to the gods of technology to restore my computer and my words.  It took a good 15 mins. for it to turn back on, its poor little motor wheezing the entire time, but success!  Document restored!  I quickly used the camera on my phone and took a screenshot in case it shut down again.  My writing group friends laughed and mocked my outdated tech, but desperate times and all that.

I haven’t had a chance to really go back over what I wrote, but I’d like to post it anyway.  Once I do a little rewriting, I’ll post it under the Excerpts section.  I hope you enjoy!

III

I called out to my companions as they drew nearer to the creature to not strike at it.  Although it had commanded the spiders and every other facet of this environment, I had the innate understanding that it was only protecting its home.  There was no reason to strike it down, if anything, it may be helpful to our cause.

I couldn’t tell if the being was a man or woman from this vantage, only that it had sacrificed itself at some point to become the creature of flesh and forest before me.  Once the spiders were vanquished and we had the opportunity to regroup, I moved closer to the being to get a better look, despite the protests of my friends.  Although it seethed with anger and vibrated with powerful energy, I was compelled to try to speak to it, something about the idea of it having once been a mage.

Along our journey, Alistair had created a holster for my staff.  It was a leather strap that I could easily wear across one shoulder so that when I was not using magic, I could be free of the added burden of carrying my weapon.  I tucked my staff into its new place upon my back, and gingerly pushed Alistair’s pleading hands aside.  I looked into his eyes, his concern for me so visible, that I had to bite back the smile that threatened to break free.

“It will be all right, “ I reassured him resting one hand upon his unshaven cheek.  I probably shouldn’t have done that.  The heated moment elevated, now fueled further with a desire neither of us was prepared for.  We gazed into one another’s eyes for a moment as we both wrestled with our newfound feelings.  An interrupting cough from Sten was all that was needed to break the spell.  With a heavy, submissive groan, Alistair finally acquiesced and stepped aside.  My fingers twitched at the loss of contact.

I took my first few pensive steps with my hands before me in a conciliatory gesture, all the while my companions still at the ready.  Both Leliana and Morrigan voiced a final word of caution, to which I nodded silently.  As I drew closer, I was able to make out that the being had in fact been a woman at one time.  The body was thin and lithe, with soft curves at the hips and breasts; the remnants of which lay hidden beneath the vines that meandered upwards.  The face was shielded in a mask of mud and flora, but what remained visible were radiant blue eyes, a long, thin nose, and full lips.  Beneath it all, there was still a lovely woman.

I called out softly, in a reassuring tone, that we were not there to harm her.  We had happened upon this cave and we were not there to destroy it, her, or her companions.  I saw as she worked every word over in her mind in an effort to understand something long forgotten.  Her tension alleviated with every word.  I stopped a few feet short, not wanting to scare her away, or scare her into greater action.  She was powerful, and I wasn’t certain I would be able to resist a direct assault.  Her eyes were full of emotion; confusion, fear, and relief.  She reached a hand out to me.  I heard my friends’ voices of dissent.

To be continued….

Have a wonderful week everyone!  And look for the new writing prompt tomorrow! 🙂

My Favorite New Thing

Obsessed:Dedicated

I have quickly come to a discovery…I love fanfic!  Layman’s terms – stories inspired by fictional characters and worlds.  If you’ve been following my progress at my own attempt at a Dragon Age inspired story, which I have much grander ideas for now, you’ll understand that this was always the next logical progression, but I didn’t know it.  How did I not know this?!  Thanks to The Collective, I have been put on the path of my newest obsession…as if my Dragon Age one could use any more fuel.

Archive of Our Own is a website dedicated to fan fiction.  The site currently represents nearly 16,000 fandoms with almost 1.2 million works.  There is literally something for everyone.  I was initially turned onto the site via a Captain America story, but after perusing the list of other fandoms, I’m in trouble.  Forewarning – read the tags!  Some stories include sexual content, violence, and other adult themes, so some stories are not for the faint of heart.  The Captain America story was unlike anything I had ever read, and I blushed, often.  Still am.

Besides Dragon Age, which I am so excited about, I found a mashup of Alias, Captain America, and SHIELD.  The author has only written a few chapters, but the idea for this particular story was so intriguing…I can’t wait to read what else she has in store for these characters.  And I’m just getting started.  So if you’re looking for something to feed the flames of your own obsession, your current shipping (interest in the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction) fascination, or what-have-you in the regards to the fictional world, this might be the place for you too.

Happy Reading!