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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mad Smart Pirate #3

Mad Smart hoisted himself over the ledge and scrambled to his feet, but the rooftop was empty. According to his calculations, there was a 92% chance the woman headed south along KA-POW! Street where the buildings were closer together. Yet he spotted no movement in that direction, only quiet rooftops illuminated from below, the amorphous orange glow of streetlight refracting through Ahno’ma Topia City’s nightly pollution haze.

He unclipped the Wiffle bat from his belt, and tiptoed along the rooftop. It wasn’t a particularly stealthy maneuver for a man of his size, but the probability variances of his secondary hypothesis were contracting which meant stealth wasn’t necessarily the most—

The heat rushed him from behind. Then the roar of the flames. Mad Smart spun and twisted the dial on the end of the Wiffle bat until it glowed blue. A spherical plasma shield shot out from the barrel of the bat and enveloped him, absorbing the stream of fire before it reached him. The flames continued, a whooshing meteor burning in his blue plasma atmosphere, but Mad Smart stood his ground. Then the flames were gone.

The woman stepped from the shadows, clutching the flamethrower nozzle near her hip. Mad Smart lowered his Wiffle bat. “You’re out,” he said.

The woman scoffed. “What’s that? Some kind of superhero Wiffle ball pun?”

“What? Oh. No, I mean you’re out of fuel. See, I estimated the size of your fuel tanks and superimposed a modified expiratory flow volume curve to determine the maximum duration of—“

Flames shot out of the flamethrower again, and once again Mad Smart raised the Wiffle bat plasma shield just in time. Their standoff lasted several more seconds before the woman cut the stream. “Spare tank,” she said. She slipped off the shoulder straps and the flamethrower tanks clanked on the rooftop. “Now I’m out.”

Mad Smart lowered the Wiffle bat and the plasma shield disappeared. “Who are you?”

Striding confidently toward him, she said, “Experimental Inferno."


She smiled. “I like to… try things.”

Mad Smart straightened, rising to his full height. “I should warn you, I’ve already calculated the effect of your perfume—which I suspect contains a bremelanotide derivative—and I’ve nullified any repeat scenarios by enhancing my own levels of—“

Inferno rushed forward, took his face between her hands and kissed him, long and slow. Mad Smart swayed, his eyes losing and regaining and losing focus again and again and again until, at last, his legs gave out and he feinted.

* * *

Inferno retrieved the flamethrower while the helicopter swung into position. A sling thawumped on the rooftop nearby, and she rolled the unconscious Mad Smart Pirate into it. Then she climbed into the sling next to him and flashed the OK signal. The helicopter rose high above the orange glow of Ahno’ma Topia City and disappeared into the night.

To be continued…

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Call For More Stories

We're down to two stories, thanks Blogless Troll/Writtenwyrdd for your submissions. Looks like the rest of us need to get something submitted. (Actually, Whirlochre was posted just on Monday.)

I'll get the second part of Hidden Embers written soon. What about some of these other cool characters we haven't heard from in a bit - or at all? Hopefully you all will find time.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sorrow #2

Kye struggled to fasten his shirt. The fabric felt stiff and the buttonholes squeaky, but mostly, the fault lay with his fingers. Was it excitement? Or fear? Or both?

He looked across to Asteroid scampering over the duvet.

‘Summer’s over,’ he said. ‘You’ll have to play on your own today.’

Pulling on his trousers, Kye tested the pockets for size. He figured all his trading cards would fit — but would anyone want to swap? Would anyone want to play?

A voice called from downstairs. Dad.

‘Are you ready yet? I’ll be late for work if you don’t get your skates on.’

Kye slid Asteroid from under his pillow and lowered him into his cage. ‘Time’s up,’ he grumbled. ‘As ever.’

‘Too right.’ replied Asteroid.

Only he didn’t.

When Kye reached the living room, Dad stood ready to go with his briefcase packed and his sensible coat slung over his shoulder.

‘For God’s sake Kye, where’s your tie? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten how to do it already?’

‘No,’ Kye replied, frowning. ‘I just forgot.’ Staring at Dad, he uncoiled the stripy fabric from his blazer pocket and dangled it in front of him like a steamrollered cobra.

Dad grabbed it, looking flustered, and flicked up Kye’s collar. ‘How many times have I told you? You’ll never get a decent job if you don’t learn to listen.’

‘Yeah,’ thought Kye. ‘But I’m eleven.’ Pouting deliberately, he braced his neck while Dad stood behind him, tugging him from side to side.

‘Got it?’ said Dad, wrestling tight a knot fit to strangle an elephant.

‘Yeah,’ replied Kye. ‘So when do I die?’

‘Less of your cheek. It’s a new start, remember? No answering back this term, or else.’

Kye saluted. ‘Scout’s honour.’

Dad looked at his watch. No time for a reprimand. ‘Let’s get moving. I’m supervising staff training this morning...’

Shaking his head, Kye slackened his kipper garotte. How anyone could get so enthusiastic about working in a bank, he had no idea. But much as he hated to admit it, he knew Dad was right, for once: another new start he start he didn't want.

As he shuffled to the door in his unscuffed shoes, Kye turned to look at the mantelpiece. Couldn’t stop himself. There, in a frame of lifeless glass, a face smiled warmly into the room.

He felt a hand fall softly onto his head, ruffling his hair.

‘Sorry for shouting,’ said Dad. ‘Mum would have been proud of you today.’

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hidden Embers: Mist Over Monticello

Mist Over Monticello (part one)
by Bevie James
The door opened. A short, husky man dressed in a suit emerged. Looking around he saw but one person: an aged old man with a long white beard hanging against his chest. The burgundy robe made him look priestly. The short man left the security of the building and hurried to the man in red. “Did anyone see you?”

“No,” the old man’s voice sounded like a crackling fire. “Why do we have to meet here?”

“What’s wrong?”
“It’s filthy! Look at the ground. You’ve got oil spills.”
The man gazed down. A large stain of oil covered a significant area around the dumpsters.
“Damn garbage trucks!”
“If you would like, I can clean it up for you,” said the old man. He spit wad of flame down and it sizzled into the oil. “It’ll cost you extra, though.”
The man considered for a moment and then shook his head.
“No. I’ll get one of my employees to clean it up later. Now, what about our deal? Is he willing to do business?”
The old man spit another fire wad. “He’s willing. But it’s going to cost you more than you offered.”
“How much more?”
Another spit. “Five thousand.”
The man gasped and shook his head. “Five thousand! I haven’t got twenty-five thousand dollars!”
Spit. “Then you haven’t got a deal.”
The old man started to leave.
“Wait!” The old man returned. “I’ll pay it.”
The old man chuckled and spit again. “So you have it after all?”
“I can get it, but it’ll break me if he’s not successful.”
“Oh, he’ll be successful, all right. No need to concern yourself with that.” The old man spit again, and again the oil sizzled.
“I have to be concerned. If that light rail goes through I’ll lose all of my business. They’ll all go to St. Cloud. I can’t afford that. I’ll lose everything.”
“Don’t worry. When Wafula finishes, they’ll abandon all plans for light rail.” Spit.
The man hesitated, as if having second doubts. “Where will he strike?”
“Does it matter?” Spit.
“I – I just was wondering. That’s all.”
“Monticello! But there’s a nuclear power plant there.”
The old man smiled and spit again. “So there is. We’ll act when we have the money. You know where to bring it?”
The man nodded. “The Crow River, just outside Rogers. I’m to drop it over the side as I drive over the bridge.”
“Be sure you do,” said the old man. He made one last wad of flame and spit it into the center of the oil slick. “I’ll clean that up for you. For a thousand.”
“No. I’ll get an employee to do it.”
The old man walked away and the man in the suit reentered the building. After they left the oil stain began to move. It coagulated into the form of a man and eventually showed itself to be a man in costume. The man looked down at the spit stains.
“Shi’it, man. I just washed this.” .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mad Smart Pirate #2

“I can’t stop staring at your lips,” said Mad Smart.

The woman smiled. “Yes, they’re irresistible, aren’t they?”

“Actually, I think it’s the giant arrow on your face mask. It’s pointing right at them. I’m quite literal minded.”

The woman shrugged. “If you say so.”

She approached slowly, and as she circled around him, the back of her hand brushed against Mad Smart’s thigh. His heart raced. He felt… weird, almost paralyzed. He couldn’t recall ever feeling this way, but he was having trouble recalling much of anything at the moment. Something was disrupting his neuronal morphogenesis and negatively affecting his dendritic plasticity—possibly her perfume, which smelled of jasmine and stirred in him an urge to compose poetry. “Whatever you’re trying to do," he said, "it won’t work.”

“Really? Is that why your head bowl thingy fizzled?"

Mad Smart flinched. How did she know?

"Hey, is that a Wiffle bat?”

“Um, yes,” he said, lowering the bat to his side. “Yes, it is. I’m Mad—“

“Mad Smart Pirate. Last of the legendary Celibate Pirates,” she said, gesturing dramatically at the empty space above her, as if “Legendary Celibate Pirates” was up in lights on an imaginary marquis. “Your fellow pirates have all mysteriously gone missing and no one, not even you, can figure out what happened to them.” She took a step forward and stood on her tiptoes so that her mouth was inches from his. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Without thinking, Mad Smart blurted, “A jiffy is an actual unit of time measuring one one-hundredth of a second.”

He wasn’t exactly sure if that’s what she’d meant, but to his surprise, the woman closed her eyes and softly exhaled in a way that suggested it was. She leaned in even closer and whispered. “Go on.”

Whatever this was, he was ending it now. “Er, I’m placing you under arrest, if that’s okay with you. I mean—No! That’s not what I meant.” Mad Smart squeezed his eyes shut and concentrated. “I’m placing you under arrest for murder.”

“Fine,” the woman said, pushing away from him. “But you’ll have to catch me first.” And with a stunning combination of flexibility, acrobatics, and tear-resistant clothing she vaulted herself onto the nearest fire escape.

She had completely scaled the four-story building before Mad Smart found the strength to take his eyes off of her. He shook his head, making a wooba-ooba-ooba-ooba-ooba sound. Now that she was gone, his thoughts were already coming back into focus.

Obviously, the woman planned to escape by traversing the rooftops. All Mad Smart had to do was calculate the most likely route and head her off.

He put two fingers in his mouth and whistled. Headlights flashed at the end of the alley as the Mad Smart Car turned the corner. But whereas some other superhero’s vehicle might have barreled down the alley in a rocket-powered frenzy and performed a fire-belching one-eighty ending in the flashy opening of the driver’s side door so that said superhero could hop in and save the day, the Mad Smart Car ambled along at a conservative yet reasonable pace, bounced rather violently when it rolled over the remnants of a discarded packing crate, and executed a flawless three point turn before coming to a brake-squeaking stop. Sensibility, Mad Smart firmly believed, always trumped style.

A stream of fire rained down from the rooftop and transformed the Mad Smart Car’s tires into puddles of sizzling goop.

Mad Smart hung his head and sighed. He should’ve seen that coming. This woman was trouble.

He grabbed hold of the fire escape railing and started climbing.

To be continued…

Friday, April 17, 2009

An Excellent First Week

Well, our first week has been completed and I for one am happy with it. We read six (6) hero stories and each author has shown a different style, which makes for good variety and fun reading. (Kind of like television viewing. The show at seven isn't anything like the show at seven-thirty, despite being on the same channel.)

Thanks to Bevie, Blogless Troll, fairyhedgehog, Lisa, Whirlochre, and Writtenwyrdd for their contributions. I'm eager to read more and am glad to see some sequels already slated.

Hopefully our other authors (freddie, Ms Sparrow, and Trulyana) will get some time soon to add their submissions. There are a couple others, too, who haven't officially signed up yet, but have indicated they may like to submit every so often. Hopefully, they will.

Congratulations on an excellent Gala, authors!

Keep on writing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Foggy Choices - Part II

Foggy Choices (part two)
by Bevie James

Pelage smiled. “Hello, Panthera. Looking for me?”

Panthera didn’t answer. She looked to the wall of water. Would Pelage release it? If she did, Panthera knew she would be worse than helpless. Pelage continued.

“You were careless, Panthera. How unlike you. But then I could always get around you, couldn’t I? You’re in my power again. Why are you here, as if I cannot guess?”

“I’ve come to bring you home, Pelage.”


“Because it is where you belong. This world. It’s not for us.”

“There are riches to be had in this world, girl.”

“Not for us, Pelage. I’ve seen the things these people call ‘riches’. Things of metal and stone. What have we to do with that?”

Pelage laughed. “I do not speak of the minerals. I speak of something far greater, which they transport from this port around their world.”

“And what would that be?”

Pelage became serious. “Grain. Untold amounts of it. You’ve seen the ships? They are filled to capacity. Just think what that could mean for us back in Khat?”


“Yes, honey. Us. There is no reason we can not do this together. We’ve always been good together. Remember?”

“I do. But I cannot enjoin myself to this plan, Pelage. It is wrong.”

Pelage shook her head. “Well, you never did show much sense. But I love you anyway. Still, I can’t have you interfering.”

Panthera backed to the wall. Pelage and Onca came down to stand before her, the wall of water at their back. Pelage’s dampening aura was reaching out, threatening to drain Panthera into unconsciousness. Panthera focused her thoughts. “Now, Leo.”

As the foghorn sounded the roar of a lion pierced the shroud of water and it fell apart like harmless rain. Pelage and Onca turned in surprise, releasing Panthera from the power of the aura. Panthera instantly focused her thought and was inside Leo’s body. Pelage melted into Onca’s body and the panther broke into a run.

Her goal was obviously to lose herself in the fog, but Leo had been ready, and the lion overtook the panther up on the hill in a park pavilion. Leo caught hold of Onca and at once the two women separated from their cats. Panthera wrapped her arms around Pelage. The other woman tried to struggle, but it was too late.

Pelage turned in Panthera’s arms so they faced. “Oh, Honey, don’t send me back. Please. For old time’s sake. After all, I could have struck back at the lighthouse. You know that?”

Panthera did know it. It had been what she had counted on. But now that her plan was successful, she felt guilty. She gazed into Pelage’s eyes and then kissed her. When they broke she released her prey. Leo did the same with Onca. As Pelage faded into the mists she turned.

“I love you, honey.”

Panthera sat with Leo through the remainder of the night. With each sound of the foghorn the big cat roared in anguish.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fairy Hedgehog meets Lizard Girl

Fairy Hedgehog arrived to find Lizard Girl painting a picture full of vibrant colour and intricate artwork on the side of Parishtown Library. Unfortunately, it featured the members of the town council in obscene and libellous acts and many of the watching crowd were taking pictures with their mobile phones.

Fairy Hedgehog spoke to one of the two police officers standing nearby. "Why haven't you arrested her?"

"Ma'am, stand back, please. She's armed!" he said.

Lizard Girl had a paintbrush in one hand and a spraycan in the other. Fairy Hedgehog approached her and Lizard Girl's scaly grey skin rippled as she turned and met Fairy's eyes.

"You can't do that here," Fairy said.

Lizard Girl raised her crest. She lifted her hands, extended her claws and ran toward Fairy Hedgehog, darting her head forward and twisting her hips from side to side in a curious hopping run. The spectators moved further back but they continued to take pictures. Lizard Girl pulled back her lips to show pointed teeth and shook the spraycan and the paintbrush in Fairy's face.

Fairy stifled a smile. "Give them to me," she said and held out her hand.

Lizard Girl stopped, dropped everything and ran. She shot back towards the Library and straight up the side, clinging on lizard-like to the building itself. Fairy stamped on the ground and huge vines rose out of the earth and up the building after Lizard Girl. The branches twisted and twined, seeking out their prey.

"Come down, will you!" Fairy shouted. "I'm not going to hurt you."

She sent a rush of power surging through the vine so that tendrils reached up and grabbed Lizard Girl who struggled violently. The vine pulled away from the building but she clung on. Slowly, the branches retracted back into the soil, bringing Lizard Girl down with them. Just as she reached the ground, she twisted herself around and pulled out of her supersuit. Leaving it dangling in the branches, she ran straight into the astonished crowd and was lost to view.

One policeman went over to deal with the crowd, the other came to confront Fairy Hedgehog. "Well," he said, "you certainly saw her off for us, didn't you?"

Fairy didn't respond to the sarcasm in his voice. "This isn't the end," she said. "This is only the beginning."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unata Gatto Dea - Saving Matilda

Her once brilliant yellow wings glowed a pulsing blood red as she leveled her gaze down to the blubbering fool bugging for mercy. Unata Gatto Dea had heard the call that one of her children was in distress and she had arrived to find a sad under fed tiger, while this fool who now groveled before her, had stood menacing over the cat.

The fiend wasn't at first too concerned when she appeared, he had sneered at her, thinking her pink attire too frilly as she whirled around in front of him. He had laughed, “What are you?”

She had reached down and rubbed the ears of the tiger who had conveyed its name as Matilda, once a great tigress, hunting the plains before the fiend had captured her and tried to starve her into submission. Matilda had rubbed her head against Unata's hand, she knew, all felines knew, who Unata was. Unata's touch alone was enough to restore energy to her tired body while Twinkle, on queue, fluttered over, and although not even a quarter the size of the tiger picked her up by mouth as if she were but a newborn cub, and disappeared.

It was after Twinkle had blinked away with Matilda that Unata Gatto Dea showed the fiend what she was capable of, she merely stared at him, he fidgeted from side to side, then started slowly backing away from her as his careless grin quivered. It was at this time that her wings changed color. She blew the energy bolt and wand into the air, they disappeared, and she held up her right hand, the palm facing her, and slowly unsheathed each fine razor tipped claw. And repeated the display with left hand. When the last shiny talon surfaced from her finger tip, the fiend turned to run, she allowed it. Titus jumped into the scene and then stood at a attention, his tail twitching eagerly, “Oh Please oh please, let me.” She signaled him to go, he bounded after the fiend and knocked him to the ground. The fiend hadn't seen this beast before, he was shocked, he had thought he might outrun the female in the funny get up as he didn't think she'd be able to skate on the pebbled road.

Titus held the fiend down with his big paw, his claws engaged just enough that any movement would pierce the fiends skins. Unata stood over him, she nearly purred with venom, “I'm Unata Gatto Dea, and you will pay for what you have done to Matilda.”

“Matilda,” the fiend mouthed his eyes darting left and right.

She came up to him, nose to nose, “Humans have no business with my children when they don't even know their names.” As she stood, her hair went flat against her head, her ears pointed forward and should stood poised as the fiend quivered and whined for mercy beseeching her to explain what he had done.

“But who are you?”

“Gatto Dea you mortal fool – Cat Goddess.”

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sorrow #1

Episode One
by Whirlochre

All eyes fell on the coffin.

So small, it could have floated away.

As the bearers laid it down on a plinth of lilies, the first yelp of anguish broke the hush, and tears streamed into the void.

The girl’s parents held each other close. But they could not touch her.


After the service, the mourners walked from the modest chapel into the unforgiving August heat. The girl’s parent’s shuffled at the centre of a dark cloud, drawn from one outstretched hand to another like there was nowhere else to go.

The father made a brief announcement. Sandwiches. Tea. Back at the house.

‘There should be room in the street to park,’ his wife added awkwardly as her partner’s words petered into a mumble.

Family, friends, teachers, neighbours: everyone had come.

But there, at the back, stood a woman no-one seemed to know. Poised and dignified, she alone wore white. And she alone did not cry.

When the father reached her, he proffered his hand.

‘Thank you so much for coming,’ he said. ‘How...how did you know Susan?’

The woman bowed her head, shielding her face with the brim of her hat. ‘I’m so sorry for your loss,’ she replied.

‘Thank you,’ said the father, ‘thank you,’ and with eyes glazed red and silver, he moved on, directionless. Lost.

The woman stood watching till the cars trailed away, breathing the heavy air, then sat on the low wall circling the crematorium. She laid her hat on her lap, removed her white gloves and stared at her slender fingers.

‘Again,’ she whispered to the starling breeze. And waited.

A stabbing pain cut her into a stoop and she thrust her hands forward, fearing to clutch at her heart. She fell from the wall onto her knees. Formed her palms into a cup. And wept a single tear.

It glistened in her hand like a star. Seemed to capture the sunlight and the sky’s glaring blue. Then its sheen grew dull, turned to lifeless wax.

She peeled it from her skin like a petal stuck to water after a storm and set it inside a tiny jewellery box.

Rising slowly, she brushed down her skirt and composed herself just so, and as a church bell chimed the hour, she passed into the haze flickering over the gravestones.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mad Smart Pirate #1

In a dark back alley of Ahno’ma Topia City…

A large man in tights placed a smaller man named Baxter down on the damp pavement.

“Er, thanks, Mad Smart Pirate.”

“Anytime, friend. But I must warn you, dumpster diving is an inherently dangerous activity.”

“Right…” said Baxter. “Thing is, I wasn’t dumpster div—“

“I calculated a forty-two percent chance of you contracting Havervill fever from this particular dumpster. Havervill fever is a form of rat-bite fever caused by the organism Streptobacillus moniliformis most often spread through the consumption of food or drink contaminated by rat feces.”

The alley filled with an awkward silence that seemed to stretch on forever. At last, Baxter said, “Hey, is that a Wiffle bat?”

“Um, yes,” said Mad Smart, lowering the bat and hiding it behind him. “Yes it is.”

“You know what? You’re all right, Mr. Pirate. You’re really a nice guy after all. I don’t know why they call you Mad.”

“Oh,” said Mad Smart, shuffling his feet uncomfortably. “No, no. It’s not mad as in angry. It’s an alternative definition, typically meaning ‘a lot’ or ‘really’. As in, ‘I’ve got mad skillz’ which some elect to spell with a ‘Z’ instead of—“

Mad Smart froze suddenly, his eyes fixed on the brick wall behind the dumpster. “Hey, you okay, buddy? Hello?” said Baxter, snapping his fingers in Mad Smart’s face. “You need a doctor or something? Your…” Baxter waved his hand over his head in a circular motion. “…head bowl thingy, it’s gettin’ all fogged up. You all right?”

Without altering his gaze, Mad Smart lifted his right knee, bringing his thigh parallel to the ground. Then, slowly and deliberately, he extended his foot upward and then laterally, in a sweeping slow motion arc, and when the tip of his shoe finally touched the ground four feet nine inches to the right of where it began, the rest of him immediately followed, so that he had, in effect, scooted entirely out of the way of the oncoming bullet, a full sixteen milliseconds before it was fired.

Baxter dropped to the ground, clutching his chest. Mad Smart turned, but the Doppler Effect frequency calculations he’d just completed told him the perpetrator was already long gone. He did not attempt to help Baxter.

“How did—” said Baxter, blood sputtering from his lips. “How did you know?”

“Simple really. I took what I knew of you based on visual cues and body language, ran it through a Markov probability matrix, and concluded there was an eighty-seven percent chance you were a currently employed henchman engaged in a subtle ruse to distract my attention while your colleague attempted to pierce one or more of my vital organs via gunfire. Then it was simply a matter of basic timing and trajectory calculations. The only question left is…” Mad Smart returned his attention to Baxter. “…who do you work— Oh.”

Baxter’s lifeless eyes gazed back at him. Just to be sure, Mad Smart checked his pulse. It wouldn’t have been the first time someone had feigned death while he was explaining elementary inductive reasoning, but, no, this guy was really dead.

Behind him, a soft thwump sound—like a cat in ballet shoes landing on a pillow—followed by the hissing of flammable gas. “He worked for me,” a sultry voice said.

Mad Smart spun around. In the middle of the alley stood a masked woman brandishing a flamethrower. A rush of possible calculation vectors—ranging from thermal permeability ratios to escape route efficiency quotients—flooded his thoughts and pleaded to be performed, but the most persistent of these, the calculation that refused to be rejected, no matter how hard Mad Smart fought to dismiss it, was the one calculation that he—the last of the legendary Celibate Pirates—had never attempted: Exactly how tight is her outfit?

Mad Smart gulped, then his head bowl thingy fogged.

To be continued…

Friday, April 10, 2009

Foggy Choices - Part 1

Foggy Choices (part one)
by Bevie James

Panthera knelt down and gazed out toward the lake far below. The flashes of light from the lighthouse along the pier pulsed in even measures while the horn sounded in mournful blasts. Curse the fog. It hung over and near the lake like a shroud of death.

The night winds played with her wayward tresses. She ignored the mocking gesture, but her hand absently dropped to scratch the back of Leo’s mane. The big lion purred, a feat not possible with the counterparts of this world.

“She will be along the water front, Leo,” Panthera said. Leo’s head responded with a slight nod. That was another thing about cats from Khat. They understood speech. “Perhaps I should venture down and check for myself.”

A soft rumble welled up from Leo’s chest. Panthera smiled.

“Worrier. But we’ll never see her through this fog. Keep a link.”

Making her way down the hillside of this northern port town was almost as dangerous as meeting her intended prey. Fortunately, the city was weakly populated, and so the streets were devoid of any meaningful life. A few trouble-makers lounged in dark corners, but otherwise all was still.

She walked the water’s edge. It was disconcerting, for water was not her friend. Beyond the harbor lift bridge was open water. Deep and powerful. Walking by a monstrous sea-going vessel she was reminded of the power of water. This lake had taken ships bigger than this one to its depths. It was far superior to her.

She couldn’t help the chuckle which escaped. Superior. That’s what these people called it.
Walking along an alley she saw four young men lounging in a huddled circle. As she neared they saw her and moved to intercept. Feeling generous, she waited.

They were ill-clad and ill-fed. They reeked of putrid smoke, coming from tiny wads of rolled up leaves in white paper. The tall one took a position in front as the others encircled her.

“Hello, dearie. Out for a walk? Perhaps you would care to join us?”

Her generosity was over. She felt Leo’s anger well up in her chest and with a shake of her head the sparks flew and Leo’s snarl echoed into the night. The young men’s eyes all went wide and they quickly faded into the mists.

She fancied she caught a new smell. The smell she had been searching for. Following it she found herself at the beginning of a long pier, leading out to the lighthouse. This was bad. All that water. It could be used against her. Still, she had no choice but to go on.

She came to the end and walked around the lighthouse. Then she heard it. The hiss of a panther. Turning, she saw what she feared most to see: a wall of water waiting to crash down upon her. Above it, resting on the lighthouse, was a woman not too unlike herself, affectionately petting a black panther. Panthera’s heart went cold.

“Pelage,” she whispered.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Six Submissions In - Tentative Plans

Here's the schedule I'm planning on going with. I'll probably do Friday's post some time after 4:00 a.m. C.S.T. This would be 10:00 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time. If I get up late (it happens) it could be another hour or two. If I get up early (happens a LOT) I will wait to post until I said. This should give you time to comment.

Right now we have four (4) stories in six (6) posts:
... Foggy Choices Parts 1 & 2* . .by Bevie
... The Phantom Poet Part 1 . . .by Writtenwyrdd
... Mad Smart Pirate Parts 1 & 2 by Blogless Troll
... Sorrow Part 1 . . . . . . . . . .. by Whirlochre

* = finished story

Since Foggy Choices is a finished story, I'm thinking to put it up on Friday and Saturday and be done with it. This will leave us with the Serial Stories.

Assuming One Post Per Day:

Friday . 4-10 Foggy Choices Part 1
Saturday 4-11 Foggy Choices Part 2
Monday . 4-13 The Phantom Poet Part 1
Thursday 4-16 Mad Smart Pirate Part 1
Saturday 4-18 Sorrow Part 1

In this version we are covered through Monday, 4-20.

However, since we have six posts perhaps we want to return to multiple posts on the first two days.

Assuming Multiple Posts Per Day:

Friday . 4-10 Foggy Choices Part 1
. . . . .4-10 The Phantom Poet Part 1

Saturday 4-11 Mad Smart Pirate Part 1
. . . . .4-11 Sorrow Part 1
Sunday . 4-12 Foggy Choices Part 2
Monday . 4-13 Mad Smart Pirate Part 2

In this version we will need two new submissions next week.

fairyhedgehog, freddie, Lisa, and Ms. Sparrow are all working on submissions.

NOTE: Maintaining a series can be draining. If anyone feels the creative well running dry let me know you plan on taking a break and I will know not to reserve space for the next installment of your series.

Opinions on this plan?

Anouncement Board

I added a Legion Announcement section at the top. Any reactions?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Stories Have Begun to Arrive (are you excited)

Writtenwyrdd has posted her story and post-dated it to 4-10-09, 10:22 p.m. If you have a story ready you may also post it up now. Just post-date it to 4-10-09 and press SAVE NOW instead of PUBLISH POST. Then let me know it's there.

Also, let me know if you are willing to let the story wait until Monday. We need a Monday story. Right now we have Writtenwyrdd's entry, and mine. (I will save mine as a draft later today.) Mine's a two-parter. I don't know about Writtenwyrdd's.

Question: Should 2-part stories be posted on consecutive days? Or a week apart?

My thinking was that for 3+-part stories we would post a week later, to enhance the serial effect.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Any Ideas on This

The question keeps coming up, and thus far I have no good answer for it, about how we will proceed with posting stories beginning next Monday.

We seem to be agreed that two or three posts per week (to start with) seems reasonable. The question I have is this:

Suppose Author A posts Part 1 of their story on Monday. Author B wants to post on Thursday and Author C wants to post on Saturday, and Author D wants to post the following Monday.

When will Author A post Part 2 of their story? We don't want to hold people up from posting, but at the same time readers want cliff-hangers to be resolved. I have some ideas, but I'm going to let you guys tell me what you think instead of pushing stuff at you.

EDIT NOTE: We need at least four more Hero pictures on the sidebar. You can either let me know and I'll put them up, or I can grant you temporary admin rights so you can do it yourselves. Whichever works best for people. Let me know.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Legion Gala -> A Bit of an Adjustment

Actually, you know what I think makes more sense than "scheduling" everybody for a day?

Just begin posting on Friday, April 10th. Multiple postings each day are allowed through the 12th. Not everyone will be ready by next weekend, and rather than people contacting me and saying they won't be able to post, we'll just let people post when they can. After the 12th, we'll go to two to three (2-3) posts in a week. If we get too back-logged we'll increase the frequency.

How does this sound?

Legion Gala -> Kick-Off to the Stories


Based on comments to this post, and to others, the following changes have been made:

... Bevie
... Blogless Troll
... FairyHedgeHog
... Freddie
... Lisa
... Whirlochre
... Writtenwyrdd

The Gala will begin on Friday, April 10th and continue through the 12th. Anyone can post during those days.

Beginning on Monday, April 13th, we will only do three (3) posts each week:
... Monday
... Thursday
... Saturday

If I understand correctly, Lisa has requested Monday. This leaves Thursday and Saturday open.

= = = = = = = = =

(original post)

As of right now, we have issued personal invites to 17 people, nine (9) have expressed enough of an interest that Official Blog Invites have been sent. Five have accepted the blog invites.

... Bevie
... Blogless Troll
... FairyHedgeHog
... Freddie
... Lisa

... Robin
... Stacy
... Whirlochre
... Writtenwyrdd

Unable to Contact:
... Ms Sparrow

NOTE: If you have not received a personal invite it is probably because I do not know your email address. Personal invites were sent via email. However, not receiving a personal invite does NOT mean you cannot participate. By all means, post a comment and let us know you want to write, too.

The plan is to begin with a Legion Gala on the weekend of April 10th-12th. This would be the ONLY time we want multiple stories in a single day. We may not get that anyway, if we aren't all ready to submit.

My thinking is to assume the participation of all Blog Invitees. I set up a random number generator to pick who would submit on which day. This is the result:

Friday, April 10th:
... Bevie*
... Lisa*
... Whirlochre

Saturday, April 11th:
... Blogless Troll*
... FairyHedgeHog*
... Freddie*

Sunday, April 12th:
... Robin
... Stacy
... Writtenwyrdd

* = Official Participating Member at the time of this post

How does this work for everyone? Please let me know right away how this works for you. (I know some of you indicated you would only be occasional submitters, and I know who you are, but I thought it best to assume you could write instead of could not. So do not panic thinking I misunderstood. Just comment and let me know you can't make it at this time.)

Beginning on Monday, April 13th, we will go to a single post per day. It was suggested we use Monday and Thursday as "Official Post Days". I'm thinking we could include Saturday, too.

Also, to make it easy for readers to find your submissions (this is needful when you use cliff-hangers), I suggest we use Labels. Use one label for your name (for readers who like to follow an author); one label for each hero (for readers who like to follow heroes); and one label for each villain (for readers who like to follow villains).

These are just suggestions! Let me know if I'm getting too carried away. (I do that. Tend to get all kid-like over things like this.) I'm just thinking Labels are a great way to follow story-lines.

Please give feedback! As much and as often as you like.

Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So, What Do You Think About Having Awards

This was the only one I could come up with.

Some Clarification

Thought it might be a good idea to post some of the agreed upon parameters for those who are visiting just to check things out.

Fortunately, the parameters are few. We've tried to make the box as large as possible This is what we've (the Founding Members) have agreed on thus far.

1. Only one story should be published per day.

Since ALL members have complete posting authority this will need be on the manners system. The idea is to not give readers too much to follow at any given time. Also, multiple submissions on a day make the early posts less likely to be read, as readers may not have the time to get through them all.

We are thinking of using Mondays and Thursdays as "Posting Days", although that has NOT been finalized. It's a good idea though. (No, it wasn't mine.) There is still the idea of Saturday posting, too, but we're still collecting new members and so this concept is still open for discussion. If you have any thoughts on it, PLEASE discuss it by commenting to this post.

2. Maximum story size should be 500-words

Being a wordy person myself, I have gone through some of my blog posts and found that 1000-word+ postings give a headache. (I'm trying to be better.) So having a 500-word limit should work fine. It also encourages cliff-hangers, which (I think it was Whirlocher who said it) truly goes with the comic book theme of this blog.

3. Keep stories to PG-13 (or at least try to)

We expect more than a few readers to invite their children to read the stories. This doesn't mean stories have to be written
for children. Many children can appreciate stories geared for an older audience.

Right now, that's about it.

Lisa has made the great suggestion that we can ultimately bring the stories into the same universe. Heroes (villains) begin showing up in the stories of other heroes (villains). Which reminds me: We're calling this The Legion of On-Line Super Heroes, but that doesn't mean your main super character can't be a villain. This super world is huge. There's room for all kinds of creativity. At least two authors are hinting that their heroes won't be "all good". They intend to include human (personality) flaws, which will make the characters all that more dynamic.

FairyHedgeHog also has set up a place where on-line chats can take place. All we need do is let the other hero authors know when. Chats can take on two forms (as my current imagination sees): authors chatting about how things are going and any changes they would like to see; authors chatting as their heroes in a more whimsical meeting.

We DEFINITELY want imput from the authors involved. We also want to hear from readers, and those curious about how to participate. Eventually (by WE I mean YOU, if you are an author) Eventually. (soon, I hope) we will post a place for making such inquiries.

So, for now we'll keep on getting ourselves prepared. It looks to be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Idea to Consider

FairyHedgeHog just posted about the Legion of Super On-Line Heroes on her blog. She included a new Super character, but is unclear at the moment if he is a hero or villain. Fairy has mentioned something like this before. Do heroes always have to be "good"? Are villains always "bad"? What if we had the following categories?