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Archive for July, 2013

 

More excerpts! This one is longer than my other posts, but if you have the time, give it a read. I’m not really happy with the first half, but I think the pace picks up quite nicely after that. Writing is rewriting!

***

They sat in tense silence as the sky settled into an evening dusk. Matt stood with his arms crossed, leaning back against the far wall of the cell. His gaze seethed in silent reproach, considering Wit who lay unconcerned on the pallet in the corner. Fae paced the length of the iron bars despite trying to keep a tight reign on her anxiety. She didn’t like being shut in; she didn’t like being trapped. She allowed Lori’s consciousness to sooth her mind, embracing a momentary calm as she let her worries drift up through the stones to be swept up by the wind. She smiled sadly as she thought of her sister trapped within her mind, as she herself was trapped within these bars. Sensing Matt’s gaze, she turned her face towards the small barred window, watching the sun slowly sink below the rooftops.

“I suppose we’re too late to meet up with Serina,” she said, keeping a steady tone.

“We’ve been held back a little,” Wit shrugged casually before Matt could say anything. “She’ll understand.”

“We wouldn’t have been help up a little if you had bothered to think things through.” Matt said harshly.

“Yes well, I didn’t really expect there to be a naked dead man, did I? Or an guild assassin for that matter, which you still owe me an explanation for,” he noted. “It was still the best course of action.”

“Except now we are thought to be murderers as well as thieves.” Matt interjected.

“Near as I can tell that alchemist’s been dead for a week at least. They’d have sent us to the gallows already if they had though we actually had anything to do with it.

“Now, I can still get us out of the cell, it’ll just require a little more finesse, that’s all. It’s already taken care of, so just sit back and I’ll have us out in no time.” He assured them with a grin.

“I just wish you would have told us earlier instead of springing it on us like that,” Fae sighed forcing herself to stand still.

“I told you that you’d have to trust me.” Wit pointed out as he sat up. “I don’t reveal all my cards until I have to.”

“This isn’t some game.” Matt said with a dangerous edge to his voice.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Wit responded grimly, staring Matt down without flinching.

Fae sighed as she turned away from them, grasping one of the iron bars tightly. She could feel her anxiety bubbling inside and she could barely keep from hyperventilating, but she didn’t pace, even though her feet itched to be standing still. She breathed deeper and tried to calm her nerves with an old trick her sister had taught her when they were girls. Focus on a pinprick of light in your mind, and allow it to absorb your anxiety and fears, transforming them into pure white light. When the light becomes unbearably bright, let it course through your entire body. Accept the light as a part of who you are and you can control it, and your fears, as you would control your own breath.

But as she did so, Lori’s consciousness expanded as well and filled her with a seething light. She could feel sweat beading her face, her hand tightening it’s grasp around the iron bar of the cell, but it all seemed distant to her. She was floating untethered in her own mind. The calm was overwhelming; her thoughts and feelings echoing through the void until she could see the pattern of her own being. Her mind appeared to be a tranquil pool that stretched into the darkness. Ahead of her, she could see her sister lying atop the water, small ripples drifting across the surface beneath her still body. Her calm was shattered by a surge of emotion. She reached forward but Lori faded away as Fae was drawn back into herself.

“Are you alright?” Matt’s voice seemed far away at first, then the cell became real, his voice became real. She turned towards him; both Matt and Wit were starring at her concerned.

“Yes.” She managed to say letting go of the iron bar. “How much longer?”

Wit eyed her warily as he stood. “Actually, I think we’ve waited long enough.”

Despite having been searched for weapons, Wit pulled out a thin dagger and pick from the folds of his clothes. He walked over to the door of the cell and picked the old lock. He heard a soft click, carefully pushing open so that it didn’t creak.

“That was surprisingly easy,” Fae noted as they followed Wit out into the alcove.

“Old lock,” Wit shrugged walking past the door that led to the corridor where two alchemists were posted to keep watch.

He picked the lock of the next cell, which was filled mostly with crates and storage boxes. They made their way carefully to the back corner of the cell, ensuring not to knock anything over. Wit crouched down, prying a heavy stone out of the floor. There was a narrow gap dug underneath the wall.

“I dug this years ago, thought I might need it someday.”

Fae followed him through the gap, uncomfortably pushing her way through hard-packed earth. She emerged on the outer wall, crouched within a large tangle of shrubbery. Matt followed closely behind her, nearly hitting his head against the stone that hid the hole as he wriggled free.

“How is it that no one knows this is here?” he asked.

Wit was peering out at the rooftop sentries across the street. Luckily it was easy to spot their outlines against the clear evening sky.

“Like I said, the guards can’t come onto the grounds, and I don’t think they’ve ever had to use those cells other than for storage. Let’s go.”

Wit gracefully raced out of the bush, Fae and Matt close behind him. They squeezed through the metal bars, the shadows concealing them from the street patrol that stood only a little ways up the alley. Wit led them through a series of winding alleys and streets. To Fae’s surprise, they ran into few patrols and those they did encounter were easily avoided. When they turned down a deserted street Matt held out his arm to stop Fae, and Wit also slowed to a halt. They could hear drunken laughter somewhere in the night.

“Where are we going? We need to rejoin Serina,” Matt stated, emphasizing that the last we did not include Wit.

“Listen, usually they wouldn’t kick up much fuss for a couple of kids caught trespassing, but we were actually inside the Alchemist Observatory. We could have seen things, heard things; they aren’t just going to let us go. They’ll be looking for us; we need to get out of the city.”

“We can’t leave without Serina,” Fae interjected. “We’ve been avoiding the patrols so far, let’s just head back to the get her.”

“It’s not just the patrols I’m worried about.”

“What do you mean by that?” Matt asked pointedly.

“I wasn’t the only one following you earlier,” Wit admitted. “Whoever they are, they’re probably interested in why you went into an alchemical auxiliary, and what you found out.”

“Why are they following us?” Fae asked.

“Why were you following us?” Matt added, his eyes now scanning the rooftops more closely.

“I’ll tell you, but first we have to get out the city. I know a place, and I’ll get a message to your friend to meet us. Just trust me.”

“Is the place your taking us going to lead to another dungeon?” Fae asked skeptically.

Wit smiled mischievously. “I can make no promises.”

“Really not the time.” Matt said, purposefully looking around. “Where are we headed?”

“Actually, we’re almost there.” Wit lead them down the street, the sounds of laughter and drunken yells grew louder.

“They probably know we are heading out of town, but I think I managed to loose them a little ways back, so they’ll have trouble finding us now.”

They emerged in a wide and crowded street lit by lanterns that hung from the sides of the taverns and bars. As they pushed their way through the crowd, Fae caught glimpses of women dancing in the streets to entice patrons, men sipping bottles from beneath their cloaks, and playing dice on overturned crates. A man doubled over in front of her and she narrowly avoided the contents of his stomach splashing on the cobblestone.

“Keep your head down,” Matt cautioned from behind her as they walked past a couple of guards who were laughing drunkenly with a group of street merchants. Fae pulled up the hood of her cloak when they had passed, allowing her face to be obscured from the lantern light.

“Here we are,” Wit said over his shoulder, and he pushed open the door a small tavern, his voice suddenly lost as the sounds of fiddles and drunken cheers spilled into the street. The tavern was brighter than she had expected, it was easy to distinguish faces, clothing, and the glint of metal from dagger hilts. She felt gazes turn their way, even though she couldn’t really tell who was watching. Wit scanned the room, but before he could step any further a grizzled barman hobbled towards them.

“Bringin’ more trouble?” he growled loud enough to be heard above the noise. He eyed Fae, then just as quickly dismissed her. He lingered on Matt a little longer, whose face was indignantly indifferent.

“Why would you think that, Dirk?” Wit smiled grasping the man’s forearm firmly. As he slipped his hand back, he let a small pouch fall into the large man’s hand.

“Then why do I hear the city guard be looking for ye?” Dirk lowered his voice so that only they could hear.

“Aren’t they always.” Wit shook his head disparagingly. Dirk grunted.

“Only when yer make stupid mistakes. I hear they had ya begging on hands n’ knees.”

“Please Dirk,” Wit said painfully. “You shouldn’t believe everything you hear.”

“Well one of ‘em is waiting for ye. Said to tell ye he were here.” Dirk nodded behind them.

Fae looked to the back of the room and saw a lone guard sitting as he watched them intently. She hadn’t really noticed he was there until now, and she felt her heart sink at the sight of him.

“Good.” Wit clasped his hands together, his brow slightly creased with worry. “Bring over some drinks in a bit will you?”

Before Dirk could respond, he started across the tavern, picking his way through the drunken din.

“This doesn’t look good,” Fae noted as Wit approached the guard, grinning broadly.

“No. It doesn’t.” Fae jumped; she had forgotten the squat barman was still there. Now he was looking at her levelly, and she shrunk back into her hood to hide her face. Dirk grunted and turned back towards the bar, hobbling nimbly around drunken patrons.

“Come on,” Matt said, placing a hand on her shoulder. When they got to the table, Wit and the guard were talking quietly as Wit scribbled hastily on a piece of parchment, but they stopped as soon as the two sat down.

“This is a friend of mine. He’s going to help us get our things back, and he’s going to bring a letter to your friend,” he smiled, patting the man on the back.

“It’s a fine mess you’ve gotten yourselves into,” the man said simply, his plain and trusting face giving away no signs of concern.

“Yes well, you owe me one,” Wit reminded him, drumming the tabletop. “Where are those drinks?”

“Yeah, but I’ve never done anything half as stupid as this. I saw you when you were up there, you nearly wet yourself when this one had you over the edge,” he smiled.

“No need to be crude,” Wit sniffed, crossing his arms. “And I did not.”

“This may be some pitch-filled city in a field, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to take this seriously.”

“We know what it means to be have been caught inside an Alchemist Auxiliary,” Matt said gravely.

“No, I don’t think you really do,” the man said, leaning back. “You, on the other hand, have no excuse. And I’m risking more than I’m comfortable with because of it.”

“I know, I know,” Wit said rubbing the bridge of his noise. “I didn’t really expect all the company.”

“Guild business,” the man said, idly glancing at Fae for the first time since she sat down. For some reason she felt as though he had grasped much about her in that one look.

“It was very important that we get into the observatory,” Fae assured him, stopping herself from shifting her weight uncomfortably. “I’m the one who asked him to take us, I’m sorry for the trouble it’s causing you.”

“I only hope it was worth it.” He looked at her again and she couldn’t help but feel as though he were trying to figure something out. His eyes were a deep chestnut, his jaw sturdy and his features plain, almost generic. She may not have been able to pick him out of a crowd. She was relieved when Dirk hobbled over and brought them each a mug of yellowish-brown liquid. Fae could smell the yeast from where she sat and politely passed hers to Wit, who was already nearly finished his own.

“It was nothing easy, but I managed to get my hands on what they confiscated from you when you were taken. I’ll have them sent to where you’re going,” the man told them between sips.

“And where is that?” Matt asked.

“It’s a secret,” Wit said as he set down his empty mug. “But you’ll know soon enough.”

“Why?” Fae asked, starting to get annoyed with all the secrecy.

“Because I like secrets,” he said. “And it will be easier to get you there if you don’t know where there is.”

“That doesn’t make much sense.”

“No not really,” he grinned. “Alright, my friend. Here is the letter I need you to deliver. She’ll be at the Evening Veil.” Wit folded the letter, and pulled a used stick of wax from his cloak, holding it to the flame. He let the wax drip onto the fold and then pressed it flat with the bottom of his mug.

That man nooded, taking the letter and slipping it under his coat. He finished his ale as he stood. “I better be going, they’ll miss me soon enough.”

As he moved to leave Wit caught his arm in a firm grasp.

“I do appreciate this,” he said seriously. “You know I wouldn’t ask.”

“I know,” the man sighed. “I guess you owe me now.” He smiled.

“Well I wouldn’t go that far.”

 

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Threads of Fate

EXT. Universe
Panel One
The dizzying array of the cosmos.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
The universe is in constant motion, hurtling towards an indeterminable future.

Panel Two
Drawing back, the galaxies begin to form glowing fault lines as though part of the aurora.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
Indeterminable to those who cannot see the threads of Fate, weaving infinite futures into a single path, a single purpose.

Panel Three
Even further still, the galaxies look like they are part of a web of glowing white filament.

DR.FATE (unknown narrator)
And through this, the delicate balance of all universes is created. So fine, that even the slightest fray could unravel the very fabric of our world.

INT. Wayne Manor – Thomas Wayne’s Office – Night
Panel Four
Still pulling back, the thread is part of a necklace of pearls.

Panel Five
The necklace is on the neck of a beautiful woman in a portrait.

Panel Six
The portrait is of the Wayne family, the pearl necklace resting around Mrs. Wayne’s pale neck. Bruce is in his late teens.

WORKING TITLE  Batman: Worlds Apart

Panel Seven
Wide shot. The portrait hangs on the wall behind Bruce Wayne’s desk, which once belonged to his father. The chair is vacant. Bruce (35) is standing at the window.

Panel Eight
Alfred enters, remaining at the door.

ALFRED
Master Wayne, nearly all the delegates have arrived.

Panel Nine
The two are standing at opposite ends of the room, Bruce with his back to Alfred.

BRUCE
It’s Bruce, Alfred.

Panel Ten
Alfred bows his head, reserved.

ALFRED
Of course Sir. Shall I introduce you?

Panel Eleven
Bruce’s fingers rest on the rim of a glass of scotch. Inside the glass, the reflection of the Wayne’s family portrait is almost indiscernible.

BRUCE
I’m sure they already know who I am.

Panel Twelve
Wide. The two stand in silence.

Panel Thirteen

BRUCE
…I’d rather not go out there.

ALFRED
You are the face of Wayne Enterprises, Sir. The title comes with certain responsibilities, as tiresome as you may find them.

Panel Fourteen
Beat. Bruce takes a swig of his glass.

BRUCE
Shall we then?

BATS AND BRUCE

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