Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day. I had hoped to get a Christmas story up but just haven't had any time at all. Instead all I was able to do was a quick sketch of Michael Crandon and company out caroling (which was supposed to happen in the story ;)
Reilly, Victor, Justine and Michael out caroling
I hope everyone takes some time to relax today as well. I'll be back soon with more posts.
I meant to post this Friday when I made it, but... I was too tired that night and have been working ever since so I only got a chance now. But yes! I made a Hobbit supper on Friday to celebrate the release of The Desolation of Smaug which I also got to see that day and LOVED IT!!! I don't care what anyone else has to say, no one is going to sway me in my opinion that it was blooming wonderful. My only problem is that I need to see it again to actually get everything to register since I was having a fangirl attack through the entire movie.
For my supper, I made little meat and potato pies, boiled carrots, and scones with jam and honey. To drink I made "ale" by mixing grape juice and ginger ale together ;) Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I had to fend my brothers off while I was trying to take the pictures.
As for the movie itself, yes, I already said I loved it. It was actually even better than I was expecting. I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but I LOVED what Peter Jackson did with it because in my opinion, he kept all the stuff from the book that mattered but really just fleshed out the storyline, and gave the characters more character. I loved the original story, but I really didn't like how all the dwarves seemed like essentially one dwarf. There were no defining characteristics between them. The actors who portray the dwarves in the movies work so so hard on coming up with backstory and little things that just bring the characters to life and I love that so much about it. Richard Armatage is one of my favorite actors ever--he might possibly even be my favorite, and the emotion and character he put into Thorin is just...there's too much there. I loved how they gave Kili more of a story line in this one as well, though I wish there was more of Fili! They come as a package deal and while he's there, the story didn't focus on him. There was one part in particular that happened to be my favorite in the whole movie between them and Thorin though. I'm not going to give it away, but anyone who knows me well enough can probably guess at what it was ;)
Look! All my favorite characters on one Poster! (Apart from Bofur, I love him too)
One of my main concerns with the movie was that there would be too many elves, but in all honestly, I didn't have that impression when I watched the movie. In fact, Lee Pace did such a brilliant job as Thranduil, that I actually wished he had more screen time. And I liked to see Legolas be not so perfect, younger and more hot-headed. I've never disliked his character, even though he has never been a favorite either. In short, I never watched the movies for Orlando Bloom like some people I know ;) I also didn't hate Tauriel like I thought I would. I still could have done without her, and all the important moments with her in them probably could have been accomplished by Legolas (Okay I have to give this spoiler to explain myself, so if you haven't seen, don't read until the next paragraph!!!) I think Legolas could have healed Kili and at the same time furthered the plot: In my writerly mind, I see it like this: Legolas felt kind of bad for what a jerk his father was to Thorin's company, and so he goes after the dwarves to help them when he finds out the orcs are on their tail. I can't see him leaving Kili to die just because he's a dwarf, that makes no sense, so he would have obviously healed him, and it would have taught him a lesson that dwarves aren't all conceited, and later help to further his friendship with Gimli in the Fellowship, and it would have taught the dwarves that not all elves were the enemy. And I think it would have been especially important for Fili and Kili to have been a part of that exchange, because they were not jaded by the past like the others of the company, so it would help form bonds later. So you see, I could deal with Tauriel, but she felt out of place and unnecessary. Frankly I just think she was the product of lady writers helping Peter Jackson. It always annoys me when people put (especially a non-series) girl character into a movie made from a book. We all know it's only to keep the women viewers happy. Um...well, we already have Richard Armatage, Aiden Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Martin Freeman and whoever else might take your fancy, and for the most part, the girls (like me) are going to be happy. The only girl fans who even care whether there are strong female characters are in the 12-15 age range. And Tolkien's female characters have always been strong and awesome! Remember Eowyn? If he had wanted to put a female character in The Hobbit he would have, and I am nearly certain she would have been just as awesome, but there wasn't a need for one in this story. At it's heart, it's a brotherhood story, a story about home and kin and there wasn't a need for a female character. As I've said many times before, romance does not need to be involved to save someone's life. It is not weird for a man to save another man's life at all and it would not have been strange for Legolas to do so for Kili. (end explanation.)
And so onto Bilbo!!! Yes, Bilbo fans (and I AM one despite what some people like to accuse me of just because I love Richard Armatage more than Martin Freeman ;) Bilbo fans can appreciate this movie. There were so many awesome Bilbo moments that made me really happy. I liked to see him having grown from the first movie into knowing more of what he was doing and pretty much keeping the dwarves in line since Gandalf wasn't around to do it. Again, I think Martin Freeman is perfect in the role and I know he's going to kill me in the third movie (am so and so not looking forward to it) And the part between him and Smaug? Perfect. Just perfect. It was traditional to the book, but again, had, I felt, more added character and Benedict Cumberbatch voicing Smaug was totally awesome. His voice acting was wonderful ;) And yes, they actually did manage to slip a couple tiny Sherlockish moments in. (Yes I totally, maybe almost laughed really hard in the theater when he deduced Bilbo had come from Laketown). Oh yeah, and the visual effects were lovely too.
And that's pretty much all I can put into words. It was the best three hours I have spent all month and now I'm going to go see it again soon =D
And on another note, if you haven't already taken a look at my new blog "Tales from a Modern Bard" go check it out and start reading my story The Voices Beneath an Arthurian retelling from Mordred's point of view. And so I can't be accused of shameless plugging, if you are interested in being a guest writer for the blog, let me know!! You can find my email up in the "Contact Me" tab. I would love to hear from you fellow writers!
I hope everyone is having a good holiday! I will have at least one more post up by Christmas for sure. Until then...
Slainte! And if you haven't already seen Desolation of Smaug GO SEE IT NOW!! And then come back to discuss it with me =)
Hey everyone! I mentioned before that I had started up a new blog, "Tales From a Modern Bard" and it's now officially in use. I will start posting the first chapter of my Arthurian retelling The Voices Beneath later today, and if you're interested, please click the picture below to find out more about the story.
Also, on another note, if you are a writer, whether you're a published author or not, if you would like to participate in guest writing opportunities shoot me an email at email@example.com. I'm going to be looking for guest writers to feature of Modern Bard, and you could do anything from short serials, to one shots and even fun challenges with themes I or another writer will create to write from. If you think that sounds like fun (and trust, it's really going to be fun) I would love to have you! It's a great opportunity to get your writing out there to potential readers. If you're a new author, it will help you get feedback and more exposer, and if you're already published, letting people read your short stories might induce them to check out your novels. So it's a win-win, there's no way you can lose. I also hope that all my guest writers will help critique other guest writers so one of the qualities I look for is to bot give and take constructive criticism in a helpful, non judgmental way.
Click here to view more about the story and the blog itself!
Well, I was going to get another post up this week with a snippet or something, but this month turned out to be way busier than I thought and this week I had little to no time to actually sit down. The awesome news is that I did end up finishing my first draft of Wolfsblood like I had hoped! Now I'm going to set it aside and start working on a weekly serial story which is an Arthurian retelling. I mentioned in a previous post that I was starting a new blog just for stories and writing by myself and hopefully guest writers as well. My goal is to post something each week. But you can read more about that here at the blog: Tales From a Modern Bard. I will be posting an introduction of sorts for my Arthurian story next week before I start posting it so if you want to know more about it, start following the blog, so you won't miss anything!
Anyway, on to by favorite reads for the month. I actually did get to read more this month than I thought and I read quite a few good books. Here are my favorites.
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever. Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in world-building, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world. Review Thoughts on the Overall Book: This is one of those books that sounds so very strange at first that you really have to read it to know whether you will enjoy it or not, and in this case, I really enjoyed it a lot! And I also found it to be one of the most unique books I read this year.
Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes! It's awesomely steampunk and I love the mechanical horse on the front, even though the mechanical horses didn't have all that much to do with the story.
Characters: I actually wasn't quite sure what to make of Joel at first. I liked him, but he just seemed a little bland and like he complained a lot and didn't try to do anything to fix his problems, but once I got to know him better I really came to like him. He's a sensible boy, and honest (sometimes that might be considered a fault) but he's not afraid to take chances and do what needs to be done, and take charge, even ahead of superiors. While not my favorite young male character ever, I really enjoyed reading about him. Melody I loved first off. Maybe because she loves sketching unicorns and that's delightfully quirky? She's the kind of female character I love to read about. She's got spunk, and she's sarcastically dramatic, and most of all, she's not perfect and admits it and that always goes a long way to endearing me to a female character. Unlike Joel, I didn't find her annoying at all.
As for the supporting characters, I really licked Fitch. He was kind of your typical absentminded professor and was kind and a good guardian for the both of them. Nalizar was both annoying and yet you are never really sure what to think about him, which I really liked. I'm not going to say much more about anyone because I'm afraid I'd give away spoilers. You'll just have to read the book =)
The Romance: There wasn't any! Amazingly, Joel and Melody's relationship stayed kind of brother-sister. It may turn into something more in later books, but I don't think it will be for a while. Truthfully there's all too much going on in this book for romance anyway.
Writing Style: The writing style itself isn't really anything amazing, but I'm giving most of the writing points to Brandon Sanderson for world building. That was what I loved most about this book. It's a story set during the turn of the century in a steampunk/gearpunk universe that is like the United States, but...not. Instead all the states are seperate islands, and kind of more like they were before the American Revolution, all being a bit like their own country. For some reason, the island of Nebrask has a whole ton of rampant chalklings that need to be held back from invading the other islands. No one knows how they got there, but all Rithmatists are required to serve there to fight against them. The whole idea of Rithmatics is terribly clever, and I could tell that the author put so much work and consideration into it. I am not mathematically minded, but I loved the idea and the theories of Rithmatics. It's just such a cool idea! The whole thing about how some people are Rithmatists and others aren't was a little bit confusing, but even the characters in the book seemed to think so, so I guess that's just the way it is. In any case, this book is just totally awesome, and I have never come across something like it before.
Accuracy/ Believability: Not applicable, but the Rithmatics are actually very understandable which I was really glad for.
Problems/What bothered me: I didn't really have all that many problems. I have to say that the first third of the book was a little slow, but it helps to build up the story for later on, and it will definitely help the reader understand Rithmatics and everything else.
Conclusion: 5 stars. The ending surprised me several times before the book was over, and I love that. I just really liked the combination of alternate history, fantasy, and mystery that this book held and I can't wait to see what the author has in store next.
Recommended Audience: Girl or guy read 13 and up. It's kind of hard to recommend this book, but any fantasy lovers would enjoy it. I'd say Kenneth Oppel fans and Maggie Stiefvater fans would probably enjoy it. (Read my friend Mara's review here) 17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery. Nobody in town will explain why, but Verity hears rumors of buried treasure and witchcraft. Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in. Determined to understand, Verity finds herself in a life-and-death struggle with people she trusted.
Inspired by a pair of real caged graves in present-day Catawissa, this historical YA novel weaves mystery, romance, and action into a suspenseful drama with human greed and passion at its core. Review Thoughts on the Overall Book: This book was a surprisingly nice romance, an intriguing mystery and a cast of likable characters with a well researched historical background. It's a quick, easy read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Cover--Yea or Nay: I'm divided. I don't like the character impersonator on the front. She doesn't look like how I imagined Verity. I do like the picture of the caged grave and the gold embossing and the colors are nice too.
Characters: Verity Boone is a very likable girl character. I never got annoyed with her once through the whole book and I felt indignant on her behalf for the things she had to go through coming back to the village, and I understood her misgivings when she meets Nick for the first time and finds him not so much like he was in the letters. Nick I wasn't sure how I felt about at first, but as the story progresses, I like Verity became increasingly fond of him. I also liked Hadley Jones, though I felt sometimes that his flirting with Verity got a little how of hand. The supporting cast was also really enjoyable, I especially liked Nate's sisters, and wished we got to see more of them. Verity's father is a very likable character as well, and I also really loved Beulah.
The Romance: Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle in this story, but what makes it bearable is the fact that Verity at least feels guilt for her feelings for Hadley and doesn't really know why she is attracted to him. I was very pleased with how the romance aspect of this story ended, and I think that, in the end, Verity ended up with the right guy.
Writing Style: The style isn't the best I have ever read, but the author did her best making it fit the time period, with the dialogue and everything. I almost wished it was in first person, but I didn't mind it in third either. I really liked the prologue because it pulled me right into the story, making me very interested to find out what happened, and I'll admit, even the prologue really surprised me.
Accuracy/ Believability: The author obviously spent a lot of time researching for this novel and it shows. I didn't see anything to complain about on a historical note, and I really love how she used the names from real caged graves to create her characters. I really love it when authors do that. I only wish the author's note had gone into a little bit more detail as there were several other things in the book that I wanted to know whether they were based off of anything or not.
Problems/What bothered me: Nothing really bothered me in this book.
Conclusion: 4 stars. An enjoyable read, and a rather fast-paced mystery. The end was totally surprising; I had some ideas about who I thought the culprit might be, but I didn't really expect the actual outcome so that's always nice.
Recommended Audience: Girl read, 15 and up. Readers who enjoy historical mysteries and don't mind a little romance would like it. Those who enjoyed "The Dark Unwinding" by Sharon Cameron would probably enjoy this one too.
Okay, I promised to post pictures of the plushie I made of my character Justinius from my WIP Wolfsblood. I thought it would be fun to make one of my characters from this novel so I could post it as a fun thing for NaNo. I crocheted him and I had a lot of fun making him, especially his hair. Justin is my favorite character from the story, and I think everyone here probably knows how much I love redheads, since I have one in every book, so he was the obvious candidate to get turned into a plushie.
I even made him an (abridged) wolf skin out of the fuzzy yarn I made a capelet out of. I wouldn't suggest crocheting with it, but for this is turned out really good mainly because it ended up looking matted and feeling so too :P
And then because I love doing little details, I had to give him a wode tattoo.
Anyway, there's something fun for the weekend! I hope everyone is good and not going to stress out next week. If I don't post again before Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving to US readers!
Here's another snippet from my Nano project Wolfsblood. Now that's I've completed the 50,000, I am hoping to finish the entire first draft by the end of the month. I'm sorry I didn't get pictures up this weekend of the Justinius plushie I made, but I will do soon when I have a little more time.
On another note, I am working on starting up another blog just for short or serial fiction that I write. Mainly anything from really short, one shot stories, to longer novellas that I will post as a serial, or poems. I might even have guest authors on sometimes. I just decided I wanted to have a specific place to put other stories that I'd like to share, and though I'll be posting them onto Wattpad as well, I wanted to have a blog specifically for the stories. That way I can post accompanying artwork and people can comment even without having a Wattpad account. Anyway, the reason I'm doing this now is because next month I really hope to start posting up an Arthurian retelling I've been working on, which you will hear more about later. But I'm planning on starting to post it online either the first or second week of December, so I'm kind of excited to start my first serial story.
But for now, on to the snippet! In this part, Alex goes hunting a wolf for his wolf skin cloak, but finds more than he bargained for. (Terrible synopsis, I know, sorry.)
Running after the wolf, I realized that we were heading back
out of the woods into the hills, and suddenly came out into the full light of
the moon and the wolf was a streak of silver among the bracken of the hills. He
ran up one, jumping from rock to rock and I followed, hardly feeling tired with
the chase at all. I nearly skidded to a halt as the wolf suddenly whirled
around to face me, crouching low and snarling deep in his throat. I raised the
spear, crouching myself and returning the growl. We eyed each other, watching
the other’s movements each waiting for the other to move first.
The wolf leapt.
I fell backwards in a sudden reaction to protect myself, the spear coming up
and striking it in the chest as he descended upon me. A yelp escaped his
throat, and I pulled myself to my knees, looking to the side where the wolf lay
with my spear through him, not yet dead. His yellow eyes met mine, and I
remembered Justinius’ words of advice. I pulled my knife out and placed one
hand on the wolf’s forehead.
peace, brother,” I said and slit his throat, feeling a surprisingly painful
ache in my chest as I watched the life flow from the noble beast.
I sat back
on my heels, surprised as I put a hand to my face and found a tear streaking
down my cheek. I was shocked at the emotion I felt at killing this wolf. I had
never known they could be so human. Perhaps more so than the warriors who were
cursed to change into wolves from the story.
planning on carrying the entire body back with me to skin at the fort, but as I
did so, a chilling sight caught my eye. Over the rise of the hill I could see
several more wolves coming toward me. I turned quickly and realized even more
were coming at me from behind. I frantically looked around and only saw more
and more wolves coming. I couldn’t believe my eyes, wondering for a moment if I
were hallucinating. Then a howl sounded out, and another followed closely
behind it, until all the wolves were sending up an eerie cry that echoed
strangely around the hills. I was hemmed in on all sides, and I realized with a
sudden fear coursing through my veins, that I had no way of getting out of
this. I was going to have to fight my way out, and even then, I didn’t think
the odds were very much in my favor.
Here's another snippet as promised! I'm also excited to say that last night I broke 50,000 words, so I'm pretty happy about that. Yeah, really happy actually :) I can only say that these characters have cooperated admirably and this story is writing itself. Now I'm going to see if I can finish the first draft by the end of the month. Hope you enjoy this snippet as well. As always, let me know what you think, good, bad, all of it. As last time, this is entirely unedited so there's likely typos abounding.
knew it, I was hemmed in on all sides, and at the head of the group was Festus,
who had appeared from the other direction to cut me off, a wicked sneer on his
face. All of them were looking disdainfully, almost hungrily, at me with their
strange tawny eyes that seemed so prevalent among the auxiliaries here in the
I tried to
effect my aloof, unamused officer’s expression, but feared it was not so
impressive as it had been previously. “I think you would do well to back away
before you do something you’ll regret, Festus,” I said coldly.
it’s you who’ll regret it. Sir.” Festus snarled like a dog. His eyes flashed
and he bared his teeth at me, his hands clenching, not into fists, but claws. I
tried not to let it unnerve me, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t. There
was just something not entirely…human…about
Festus, and I had never noticed it more than at that moment.
Festus,” one of his cronies said, sounding slightly worried. “We should wait
until the moon is full…” “I’d rather do for the whelp now and be done with it,” Festus growled, stepped closer to me and causing me
to have to step back so that my back was against he wall.
Festus,” I commanded firmly. “Get back or, by Mithras, I will have you
All he did
was smirk a wolfish grin, and lean forward with his teeth bared as if he would
bite me. I grabbed for the pommel of my dagger, ready to use it if I was forced
to, though knowing how detrimental that would be to the connection I had begun
forming with the men, I hesitated.
seemed with me that day, however, and from the most unlikely of places. I had
tensed in the resignation that I would have to run my dagger through Festus
should he get any closer, but a familiar ginger head appeared at the big man’s
shoulder, a knife finding it’s way to Festus’ throat. A sudden look of fear
crossed Festus’ face, and he froze as he felt the dagger touch his skin.
Festus,” Justinius said in a mockingly scolding tone. “You know what happens to
a soldier when he attacks an officer. It’s death, it is. Likely something
entirely unpleasant. As a fellow comrade, I wouldn’t want to see you fall foul
of that now, would I? So back away, man. There’s a good soldier.”
stepped away carefully, and the rest of his fellows moved with him as one. Once
they were out of reaching distance of me, Justinius let the knife fall from
Festus’ neck and he immediately clapped a hand to a red mark there. I was a bit
surprised to see it, for I had not thought Justinius had pressed that hard. I
quickly gathered myself, remembering my position, and stood straight, repairing
my lost dignity as I glared at the miscreants.
I told Festus’ followers. “Latrine duty for two weeks. I hear there’s a back
up. Best start now.”
off and I turned to scrutinize Festus. “You on the other hand, I’m not sure of
what to do with. I will decide soon enough. Until then, secure him somewhere,
pleasure,” the Celt nodded and grabbed Festus by the arm, marching him off to
the storage building. I followed him to see that everything was done properly
and watched Justinius lock the glowering legionnaire away in a small pantry. He
followed me back outside once the deed was done and I was left with just my
ne’er-do-well rescuer, not entirely certain what to say.
Festus overmuch, sir,” Justinius said as he started to tuck his dagger into the
back of his belt. “He’s just a hard bargain case. I’m sure you’ve seen them
come from, Justinius, even hard cases don’t go around threatening officers so
readily,” I said blandly.
shrugged as if it made little difference. “This is the north, sir, and things
are done differently. May I ask what you will do with him, sir?”
none of your concern,” I said sternly.
watched me for several seconds before he reached behind his back again, to pull
out his dagger, handing it to me. “On second thought, sir, why don’t you have
this? It’s a fine dagger, sir.”
got a perfectly fine blade, Justinius,” I said, making no move to take it.
respect sir,” he said insistently with no trace of his usual smirk. “It’s not
like this one.”
well,” I replied, taking the dagger to humor him. “Now be off with you.”
and started off. I studied the dagger, seeing that it was a good blade as he
had said. Locally made as well, as I could see by the carved wooden handle that
had traditional knot work in what looked to be the shape of a dog or wolf. The
only difference was that the blade was made of silver. It was pretty enough as
a ceremonial piece, but would never hone as well as steel, nor would it be as
strong. I tucked it into my belt and started off, puzzled over the events of
the last few minutes. I had never expected anything like that from Justinius.
Tiberius, yes, Marcellus likely enough, but not the red-headed Celtic renegade
with the easy grin and wode tattoos. His actions today were, well, surprising
to say the least, but also those befitting a comrade. I began to realize that I
would much rather have Justinius at my shoulder than anywhere else.
Also, later this week, or next week, I'm going to post pictures of my Justinius plushie I made. He's very adorable, I might add ;) I'll also hopefully be posting some character sketches later this month along with other snippets so stay tuned if you are interested!
As promised, here's a snippet of my NaNoWriMo WIP, Wolfsblood. If you missed the post where I introduce it, look here.
As a note, this is an entirely unedited scene, as I am not doing any editing until I read my 50,000 goal, so I apologize for poor grammar or typos. As always, I appreciate any constructive criticism you may have. Let me know what you think!
I had a strange feeling before I even got to the gate. The
fort seemed lifeless. Having grown up around military forts all my life and
spent three years in one, I knew how much activity they produced, even when
viewing them from afar. Here I could feel no active buzz, nor could I see any
sentries posted on the walls. I was immediately irritated, beginning to see
exactly why I had been sent here. If these men were so lazy they didn’t even
post a normal sentry, then I had no idea what the inside of the fort would look
like. If an attack came, they would never know until it was too late. Another
thought crossed my mind that that was exactly what had happened and I would
find nothing but bodies inside the fort.
But as I
got to the gate, I pounded on it with a fist and shouted out, “This is
Centurion Alexandrus Arelius Crispus. Open up!” I waited a few seconds, my
horse shifting uneasily underneath me, making me slightly nervous. But then I
heard shuffling footsteps on the other side of the door and it was hauled open
to reveal two legionnaires, looking haggard and like they hadn’t slept in days.
I glared at them as I entered, and they gave me weary salutes.
and handed him the reins of my horse, but the beast balked and I was forced to
calm him. The man made no move to take the horse into his care and I
practically had to shove the reins into his hand. “See to my horse,” I told
him. “I need to see your commanding officer.” I took out my orders to check the
details. “Decurion Scaevola, I believe.”
indisposed, sir,” the other man said.
“Is he,” I
stated blandly. “Very well, if no one will help me, I suppose I will have to
see to things myself. Where’s the officer’s ward?”
in the general direction and I strode off, giving him no second glance. This
was not a good start.
found next nearly had me in fits of disbelief. When Gallus had told me this
fort needed disciplinary help, I had pictured snarky soldiers with tendency to
gamble and drink on duty and problems with following orders. I didn’t expect to
find the entire cohort napping on the parade ground and surrounding areas. I
halted at the sight, my mouth hanging open before I could stop it.
twenty men at most—and I was sure there were others doing likewise
elsewhere—were lounging lethargically around the parade ground—what is normally
used for training. Some were asleep, some were polishing weapons or just
staring off into the middle distance, looking as if they hadn’t slept in days.
I finally snapped my mouth shut, and set my jaw at a determined angle, striding
into their midst with my cane held ready.
the meaning of this?” I shouted. No one started and leapt to their feet as
normal soldiers do when caught in some nefarious act by an officer, but just
turned their eyes languidly to me, seeming to have a hard time focusing. “On
your feet, blast your eyes! By Mithras, I will have the skin off your backs for
this, all of you!”
forward and tripped over an outstretched foot. I whirled, seeing a large man
with dark hair and unshaved chin grinning wolfishly at me, his head lolling. I
gave him a nasty look before I strode on, singling out one man, a tall, lithe
Celt with a shock of bright red hair on his head.
man,” I told him firmly.
nothing, seeming to be attempting to focus his strange gold eyes on me. There
was a smudge of something in the corner of his mouth and I thought for a moment
it looked like blood. Delightful—drunk and fighting. Could it get any better?
feet, soldier!” I shouted in my best parade ground manor.
he attempted to pull himself to his feet, leaning a shoulder on the palus he
had been siting against, propping himself upright. A smirk snaked over his face
and he saluted tiredly. “Sir.”
“You will sir me,” I told him menacingly,
putting my face close to his. To my chagrin, he seemed to care not a bit for
it. “And you will stand in the presence of an officer. I don’t know what the
officers here let you get away with, but you will not do so with me, is that understood? What’s your name?”
sir,” he said, saluting again, and straitening slightly.
Justinius,” I said. “You will lead all these men here on a tour of the
latrines, and when you’re done, they will be clean enough to eat in, do you
understand? I want that done by tomorrow morning. If you have to stay up all
night, then so be it.”
he replied, his smirk finally subsiding with a look of sheer exhaustion. I
flicked the corner of his mouth where the bloodstain was.
yourself up. You’re a disgrace to the legions.” He touched the spot with a
frown, then rubbed his sleeve against it. I turned and strode off across the
rest of the parade ground. Some of the men, I noticed, made an attempt to stand
and salute, though most just stayed slumped or snoring in their regular
positions. I made sure all of them received a glare to tell them I was not in
the least pleased, nor would I forget about their punishment.
I hope everyone else is doing okay with their Nano writing. I actually just hit 24,000 last night which has kind of had me mindblown. I'm just really happy my characters are talking to me, and I have come to really love them a lot. I'll have another snippet for you next week, and hopefully some other fun posts as well throughout the rest of the month!