The next few weeks — or was it months? — after the fall of Sun-On-The-Lake was a blur to me. The akor’mari set up shop within the city itself, repairing some of the buildings and walls, making them battle-ready. I don't know if they planned on living in the city once it was cleaned out, or if it was simply to be a temporary headquarters for the rest of our operations in Nah’Ke’tzin. They acted as if they expected retaliation.
The rest of the army was housed in tents, set up wherever there was space for them. I slept in Sus'syri’s tent during the days, half because that's how cramped the available lodging was, and half because... I felt different somehow. And somehow, she could understand.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the sort to be in the middle of attention. I talked lots, laughed lots, told stories. I had many friends -- or at least people I would speak with regularly; I know the word does not mean the same thing in your language. Still, I enjoyed their presence and would like to think they enjoyed mine.
Now it felt different. I found I couldn’t relate with the others like I used to. I would try, or be invited (or sometimes even dragged in), to their conversations, but after a few hours it seemed they would be on one side of the fire, laughing and joking amongst themselves, and I would be on the other, in more than a literal sense. They would make a joke about the war, or about Surfacers, or about how many wuyon’mari they had slain or raped, and... Suddenly I would see the the King's face again and I’d feel myself go far away where I couldn't hear them anymore.
Instead, I grew closer to Sus'syri. It's strange what strange circumstances can do to you; I would have never imagined pairing up with someone like her before the war. Some people still ask me how we manage to get along and not kill each other, and it's hard to describe, except to say: she understands me.
She wasn't (and isn't) very talkative, and she's incredibly serious. With my light-heartedness (prior the war) it was like fire and water.
Except that I suppose I wasn't myself during the war. I couldn't spin tales for the others like I had used to; I couldn't remember to complete my own sentences half the time. I felt like I was in another world. But in that world was also Sus'syri, so it wasn't so bad.
It wasn't like love that they describe in your Surfacer tales. I didn't fall into it without realizing that was what was happening, and I didn't swoon every time I saw her face. It was a friendship at first, us thrown together like driftwood onto the beach. And, overtime, it grew into something more.
I think sometimes that's why we’ve stayed together for so long. Of course there was (and is) passion, but that's not what the relationship was built around, not in the beginning, and not now. We held each other up, but we never forgot that we were separate people. The best I can describe it is that we are partners, but not lovers. Not in the fiery, romantic sense, at any rate.
I sometimes wonder if Sus'syri hadn't been there, if I would have turned out just as empty and blood-crazed as all those other akor’mari had. It's not a pleasant thought.
A full text transcript can be found on the FoxFireFiction blog (on accounts it won't fit into a Locals.com post), here: https://www.foxfirefiction.com/2022/02/13/axes-and-lightning/
Art stream time! In this one I played with a new way of doing architecture and its shading, stumbling my way through new tools as I did so. This would probably work better in a vector program where I can make the shapes perfectly clean. Not an art I'll keep, but a learning experience.
I'm having a very productive week!
Here's the sketching phase, perhaps the most fun of the art phases aside from coloring in plate armor. Since each of these weas only about 5 minutes long, I combined them into one video.
Three World of Warcraft comics! Titles will probably be, oh, I dunno...Exception!, Siqsa's Eulogy, and Three Cloth Boots (Socks).
If you're interested in seeing the completed comics, as well as an explanation for how I got started on these, check out my blog!
The akor’mar occupation of Sun-On-The-Lake was not a certain thing by any means. On the outside, it appeared as if Sun-On-The-Lake had always been an akor’mar city, for all the wuyon’mari you saw out in the open. The akor’mari sung and celebrated and began to build up rudimentary dwellings for themselves -- and for their prisoners – as if it was nothing more exciting than carving out a new market cavern back in Vuzsdin.
Yet in the alleyways and abandoned corners of the city, there was still danger. We may have occupied the main roads and the Palace, but the rest was free-for-all. At night we were safe enough; we could see in the dark better than the wuyon’mari, and they knew it. During the day, though, where the sun stung our eyes, they came out to harass us. There were ambushes and raids and assassinations. Daily we were warned by our officers about places still held by the wuyon’mari, where they had taken pains to dig out the cobblestones and plant pitfalls or other kinds of traps. The ...
Some of the army's excitement waned as we stumbled our way through the twisting forest paths of Lesser Nah’Ke’tzin: now tame Surfacer forests of beech and oak. Scouts like myself had chosen a path that took us in a circuitous route around Rising Heath, and we could let our guard down for the first time since we had come in from the ships. We marched in single file along deer trails, stepping in each others’ footsteps, moving only like the akor’mari can with complete silence, as if we were all playing Stalk-the-Nekru in the close tunnels of our homeland. I wondered then if we had only been taught those games to prepare us for something like this, not just our own childish amusement.
Our nerves and the excitement came back all at once when we finally found ourselves up on the gray cliffs overlooking Sun-On-The-Lake. It was just past dawn, and we could see the waters of the city’s namesake, Lake Ta’hiki, through the mist.
I have been to that city in the years since the war, and it is now not ...
Greater Nah’Ke’tzin was like no place I had ever been before. It was a forest, but it was not like Bataklik. Bataklik has its fair share of trees and vines and flowers, don't get me wrong, but nothing on the scale that Nah’Ke’tzin has.
And I do mean literally the scale. Some of those flowers were so big a whole unit could have used them for cover. One of the officers even suggested that and took his men up into one to camp among the petals.
I'll never forget their screaming. We were ordered to avoid the flora after that.
It was not an easy thing to do. Nah’Ke’tzin is Lunaria's realm, and Lunaria is the Mother Goddess of nature and the Surface mari. She protects her own. The most innocuous incidents involved large fruit or pinecones snapping off their branches to hit us in the head, or roots suddenly rising up out of nowhere to trip us as we marched.
Less innocuous were the rumors that the trees moved, and whole units would get lost when a grove of trees decided to all get up and move a ...
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Here at FoxFireFiction, we are proud to unveil our latest product: Text Adventures! Choose your way and become a Talmenor hero... or villain! The choice is yours, starting with the TA "Carpe Diem", a tale spun by Hristjian Pavlovski.
It has been a busy couple months! In response to unexpected delays on the print publishing side, our first FoxFireFiction novel is now available through our website! Read the Prologue now for FREE, with the rest available through FFF's subscription service!
(For our Locals folks! With the release of Locals.com Articles functionality we are also looking into releasing the full novel here, hopefully within the next couple weeks.)
When she woke up in the Division’s infirmary, the tall hall was strangely empty. Beds lined the walls, including one with a memorial to the Ghost etched into the stone above it. Sparrow smiled at that, now knowing for whom it was named...
Yet the sheer emptiness of the place echoed, like dust dancing in a beam of sunlight or like the dull, black ache she also felt echoing inside of her. Shadow to light, light to shadow: it was like mourning, or the darkness between stars.
A healer she didn’t know came in to check on her later, briefly, taking her vitals and straightening the covers for her. Sparrow didn’t have the breath to ask any questions, even if she had wanted to. The silence, the emptiness, it all seemed to encourage sleep, for Sparrow to sink down into darkness and submit to...what was down there? Certainly not the Shadow, she thought. Althrasia had been defeated. Somehow she knew that, with all her heart, even though she hadn’t seen Althrasia die personally.
Why else would she be in the infirmary, though, if Althrasia had won?
Hours passed, or was it days? She flitted in and out of consciousness. She didn’t see the healer again. She knew, though, on waking a final time, that she had to report in to Commander Hale about the success of her mission. Tentatively Sparrow pushed herself to her feet and limped out of the infirmary.
Sparrow lingered in the great hall of the castle, standing before the great statue of Freeport’s leader, the Mogul. She was reluctant to face the commander, even though she would be returning in triumph, of a sort. Althrasia had been defeated. The Shadow and her undead armies were no longer a threat. The Singing City would be indebted to the Division, and perhaps would now accept the Mogul’s rule without compunction.
Yet at what cost… she didn’t want to think of it, of the rules the Mogul would bind the La’aln people to. So she avoided the thought, like she avoided her meeting with Commander Hale.
Finally the floor was cleared, and one of the undead was drawing a glowing circle on the floor, to mark out the boundaries of the duel. Solcadens stepped forward to face Sparrow. A couple of gangly zombies limped up, handing each of them a dueling sword and almost falling over themselves as they bowed — as it was, the one assisting Sparrow dropped a few teeth on the floor.
Sparrow swallowed her nausea, pocketing the hammer head as she took up the sword. It was a wicked thing, notched and curved, probably something Neddryn would have liked to wield. Sparrow swung it a few times, and felt horribly awkward. She had never been the best fencer, and watching Solcadens take up his blade with practiced ease, she could plainly read her own death into the situation.
Solcadens and she met in the center of the ring, saluted to one another, then turned their backs to each other as they paced to the edges of the ring. It was an old ritual she had done so many times with her father when he had deigned to teach her some swordsmanship, that Sparrow felt queasy at the comparison.
We are live!
I think. Is this thing on? Earth to humanity? No screams of microphone feedback or children separated from their lollipops? I think we're good, then.
Welcome to the FoxFireFiction Community! In this community you will of course find posts to do with the FoxFireFiction settings and news, but the bigger reason we are here is to network!
In the coming weeks I'll be investigating ways in which this community can be of best use to you, as fellow authors, artists, photographers, video game developers, and other various entertainment industry personnel. For that purpose I'm opening up this first (well, second) post with the question: What would you like to see here?
Poll added with some ideas, or post yours in a comment!