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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

The Hierophant

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
 
 
    "The juniper's berries, hot in the third degree, dry in the first, are key in countering poisoning, and are a powerful ingredient in the resistance of pestilence. The ashes of the--"
   "I am a centaur."
   Apollo looked up from the variety of herbs laid out across the sun-lit table and blinked at the scowling young man. "...Yes, Chiron, you are."
   "So what good are the properties of juniper berries among my people? Or music, for that matter? Or archery? Centaur are strong just as we are! We don't need weapons! Nor oracles!" He rose to his hooves and tossed the bowl of juniper leaves across the table, gritting his teeth while offence seared in his deep, dark eyes. He watched the condescending patience ooze from the god's rich bearing, standing as he was, his arms folded across his proud chest while he stared back with an infuriatingly gentle expression on his face.
   "Learning this won't help me to fit in! What value is this to them? To me?! How will the other centaur accept me among them when I don't know their ways, only yours?!"
   "And what are their ways?" He asked calmly. "Lust? Anger? Violence?"
   "Passion!"
   "Unruliness?"
   "No," he glowered, "wildness. As wild as untamed horses! And they are your sons, yet you speak so ill of them!"
   Apollo shook his laurel-wreathed head. "No. I merely speak the truth of them. As indeed do you. You do know their ways. So why do you not adopt them?"
   "Because you, dear foster father, will not allow me."
   "I've held you back?"
   "Yes!" Chiron boomed, storming around the table towards him in a thunder of hooves. "With all your teachings! Filling my head with useless things that will never help me find my place! You are a god, and the centaur are your sons! I am also a centaur - not of your blood, perhaps, but I am one all the same! But I've never been given the chance to prove it! Why would you wish to isolate me like this? Wish to make me so...different? Wish to make me suffer? Handicap me, blind and deafen me to my true culture? My true nature?!"
   "How," Apollo cocked his head, his voice still as soft and deliberate as ever, "can you know your own true nature if it isn't allowed to bloom? You remain here by choice, though you may not wish to admit it. Your door is not locked. You need not come to me every sunrise - but you do."
   "I'm not welcome among my kin! I have nowhere else to go!"
   "You do, once you acknowledge that you can turn around."
   "Enough of your philosophy!"
   "It's simply a truth."
   "Truth, truth, truth," his tail flicked, but he kept his itching back leg from lashing out and kicking the table away, "only the truths you wish me to know! You would turn me into what you want me to be!"
   "I would turn you into what you truly are."
   "And what, exactly, am I?!"
   A gentle smile curled the god's lips, a smile that abruptly froze the centaur's ire. "You, Chiron, are you. I'm simply teaching you how to find it."


 
Words copyright © Kim Wedlock
No part is to be reproduced without my permission.
Written based on the Hierophant tarot card for a scrapped project.



Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Read Chapters 1-6 Of The Zi'veyn For Free


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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Join Me On Patreon! + Free Monthly Short Stories Coming June!

   I'd been playing with the idea for a while, and even went as far as to make my page last April to avoid Patreon's percentage hike if I ever decided to go through with it. And, a few weeks ago, I finally did.
   Writing is a huge passion of mine - you probably noticed - but it takes such a very large amount of time, passion and energy to produce anything I can sell, and I need to live in the mean time. So I decided Patreon might be a good way of both financially supporting my writing a little more, and bringing readers in on the process.

   I want to keep my tiers simple and affordable, so I only plan on having 2 true tiers at this point - $1 and $3 - and a couple of higher-priced tiers later on for one-off rewards that patrons aren't expected to keep supporting (ie pledge once, get the custom reward, then drop back to a lower tier or leave entirely). I'm still working on those higher tiers, but my lower tiers are more important to me anyway.
   Along with the below rewards that distinguish one tier from another, all patrons will get early access to news, cover reveals, and an inside look at the writing/creating process. They may also be subjected to my more personal writing woes. Sometimes a character winds me up, and I just have to vent. I will also need beta-readers from time to time, and patrons will absolutely be my first port of call.


https://www.patreon.com/KimWedlock
Tiers & Rewards
Library Moth - $1 a month
   As of right now, there is only one tier available - Library Moth, $1 a month. This tier gives you monthly access to 1-4 raw snippets from my current work, usually something I wrote that very week, but that are chosen deliberately to avoid any spoilers (and will therefore impact whether I can share them weekly or not). These snippets won't be shared anywhere else, they're exclusive to patrons; no one else will see them until they find them in the books themselves, once released.
   There will also be a desktop wallpaper featuring a quote from my books - meaningful, or funny. These will be emailed out every month.
   This $1 tier is, ultimately, just a way for able supporters to contribute, and can join, cancel, and re-join at any time. There are no hard feelings at all. Money shifts; circumstances change.

Archivist - $3 a month (coming June)
   There will, around June, be a second tier available - Archivist, $3 a month. This tier will give the same rewards as the $1 tier, and will also provide 2-week early access to a monthly short story, which means that the story will be made available to everyone else 2 weeks later, so non-patrons won't miss out on those. These short stories may be book-related (but always written as a stand-alone, so no one will feel like they're missing crucial information), or they may be completely random.
   But - and I'm excited about this - it will also include exclusive access to my research every other month. This can generally be anything. I love to learn, I love making notes, and my research always gets out of control, so I definitely have some things to share. I research for my books, as well as for short stories, and can be about things like the moon, folklore, isolated cultures, crocodiles, wind, warfare, survival, tracking - the list is endless. Anything I need to research, I can share - and, like I said, I always go too far.
   The research won't include notes on how I've used it, it will just be fact, and that can be put to use by other writers, aspiring writers, or even artists creating OCs and cultures. You can read it and learn, or you can apply it to your own creative channels. That's what's so great about learning.

Future Tiers
   Future tiers will be more expensive because they will require a significant chunk of time for each individual, but they will result in one-off rewards such as a critique on a few pages of your own writing, or perhaps a custom short story (with full creative license).
   Because these will be one-off rewards, the patron isn't expected (and is in fact advised not) to keep pledging after that initial month.



Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Forsaken

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
 
 
   A hunt had brought her here. A need. An instability. She had to understand...something. She needed a reason for...something...
   For what, eluded her. Every time she thought it was in her grasp, every time she thought she could see her own questions, they faded into shadow. Such had plagued her for weeks, ever since she'd pulled herself away from the top of Lordearon's crumbling walls. She couldn't remember how she'd gotten there, nor why she'd returned to Tirisfal, of all places, after all these years, and after all that had just happened to upend her world. All she could remember of that week spent motionless beside the gargoyles was a question.
   What that question was, she'd also forgotten, but it had been there, and it had chewed its way deep into her mind.
   And now, somehow, she was here.
   Ny'alotha. The Waking City.
   She moved through its harrowing halls on stiff limbs, surrounded by a dark air that pressed in on all sides, squeezing desperation into her as it sought to grasp and rip her apart from the inside, and here, with every step, those faceless questions became louder and more distorted, and an overwhelming need for something clawed its way up her throat. Every step, another shredding reach.
   Her answers, her questions, her needs - they were here. The sole certainty in her dry and cracking soul was that she had to be...here.

   She wasn't alone, but the others weren't truly with her. She could see a madness around the edges of their eyes even as they, like she, fought back the droves of Black Empire soldiers. They'd come here to defeat N'Zoth, to end the matter once and for all - but N'Zoth was already inching his grip tighter around each of them.
   Their hearts would burst.
   Their minds would rupture.
   They would give in.
   But she could see it happening; she could see the darkness around her own eyes. It had been in her heart for so long already, and it had settled there. A warlock was closer to it, that kind of darkness. In here, that became her strength, her protection, and she held it close against her peeling skin like a suit of armour.
   She wouldn't fall. She would be the last one standing, and she would find... she would find something...
   Spattered in black blood, she moved deeper, the void-torn place changing ceaselessly around her, but in no way that she could follow. The discordant noise grew thicker the deeper into the Black Realm she went.
   She turned her mind away from it.
   It only grew louder with the effort.
   Then one sound rose above the others. Bitter. Mocking. Sylvanas's unmistakable laughter, her voice the sound of ripping silk.
   '...Nothing... Nothing...'
   Nothing. Nothing...
   The word repeated itself in her mind and conjured any and every meaning possible.
   She pushed on, her teeth gritting and cracking, eyes shut tight, following a path laid out by the darkness itself. It would take her where she needed to go. Of that, she had no doubt.
   And yet, she still caught a flash of something, and with it...comfort. Reassurance. Promise... And her mother's face.
   With cold, violet eyes.
   Had her mother always worn Sylvanas's face?
   No. No, she hadn't.
   Her teeth clamped harder and eyes shut tighter as she shook it away. Her mother had had green eyes. Green eyes, hair of curling flames, and a wide and irregular scar on her cheek - a burn from a splash of boiling water. She'd splashed that water, helping in the kitchen as a child.
   She held that face, that memory, and the sound of her mother's startled cry firmly in the centre of her mind - firmly, even as the darkness edged in around it.
   '...is NOTHING!'
   Her fingers were wet. She'd broken her cheek. She realised she was clutching her face. She barely felt it.
   She barely felt anything anymore. Nothing beyond the dull clang of betrayal that reverberated behind her ribs.
   Another onslaught fell upon her thinning party, and she fought wildly, her spells flying far from where she wished them to as she held on to that desperate thread. The others were falling to the darkness around her, their blades and arrows finding their companions or simply attacking the empty air.
   Then, a crypt filled her mind, Shadow Grave...Deathknell...an abstract memory, but one painfully clear, tinged with anger, hurt, loss and hatred. They were her feelings, and they were others', but she had been at the heart of them.
   Then Tirisfal itself filled her sight.
   Tirisfal in sunshine.
   Tirisfal in shadow.
   Tirisfal in mist, fog...smoke...Tirisfal was burning.
   Tirisfal was plagued. It would never come back.
   'The Horde...is NOTHING!'
   She couldn't hold it back. The blackness crashed down in a wave. Her mother's scarred face stared back at her with five orange eyes. Sylvanas's victorious cackle filled her skull.
   Then Tirisfal was green again.
   The sound of battle vanished as she looked out over the healthy land, and her fears were suddenly so easily extinguished. And how foolish they had been! The deep, booming voice rattling through her ichorous veins assured her so.
   This was what she'd been searching for! Stability, familiarity, something to fight for!
   Those orange eyes, the eyes of her mother, overlooked it all. And the figures in black, they tended it - they treated the scars, the pustules, the writhing worms. Everything that shouldn't have been, they tended. They tamed. They strengthened.
   Tirisfal would be whole again, and it would be better than before.
   But then another darkness edged in just as she grew comfortable. It was another kind of familiarity, and though she turned away from it to continue to admire the world around her, the rich, purple lure enveloped her like yet another suit of armour.
   Her eyes fell onto the white slits that coalesced before her.
   You would...fall to...this? A deep voice breathed the words slowly, laboriously, from the outline of a face the colour of the sky at twilight. After...everything...? You would...subjugate us...use us...then fall...to this? With the power...you steal...from us...you cannot...even save...yourself?
   It wasn't mockery. She knew Arcarion's tone of mockery. This was disbelief.
   When she said nothing in return, watching the black figures tending - warping - Tirisfal through his incorporeal body, the voidlord withdrew.
   And she screamed.
   The splitting of dry skin as some alien part of her released the guttural sound snatched her back to the foetid place.
   Suddenly, those figures, those pustules, those worms - those tentacles - they were all around her. The same hopeful, deceptive aura saturated the air. Ny'alotha had her in its grasp and she was falling just as fast as the others around her. But as she stared around herself, between the flashes of battle, she found that Tirisfal wouldn't be the only realm to fall into complete desolation.
   The image of Orgrimmar flickered through her mind, cloaked in eternal night; the Storm Peaks turned from pure white to oily black; Tanaris writhed with tentacles and maniacally-flicking eyes. Even places as virile as Feralas, as shielded as Dalaran, as tainted as the Dread Wastes would succumb to this absolute evil.
   And there would be no coming back from it, because every single denizen of Azeroth will have lost their minds.

   Sylvanas had done this.
   Sylvanas would have allowed the world to rot in exchange for power, for a strength to achieve something the spirits themselves surely couldn't guess at.
   And Sylvanas had used her to do it. Used everyone to do it. And she'd been too weak to see what was happening and continued to lean on her beloved Dark Lady until she crumbled with the ground that shattered beneath the banshee's feet.
   And her own bones, the bones Sylvanas had freed from the Lich King's grasp, would pave her path to glory, right beside those of her victims. Because everyone - every single one of her kind, everyone who had stood beside her - were her victims. None but her own fair and immaculate skin mattered to her; none but her own power.
   And she would pull down everything she'd once stood for to gain more.
   Edwena had been betrayed before. By her family, her friends, her own kind. And she still stood.
   The Horde had been betrayed before. And it still stood.
   Truly, she was Forsaken.
   Everyone was forsaken.

   Her spine cracked as she pulled herself up straight. Her shoulders popped as she pulled them back. Her elbows clicked as she raised her hands. The dark, leeching magic she knew so well swirled around her, magic she had mastered in her ancient attempt to find purpose after her life had ended, restarted and been turned inside out. And she bellowed again - challenging Sylvanas, challenging N'Zoth, challenging herself - and felt that power flood her entire being and chase that reverberating betrayal out from where her heart had once beat.
   She fixed the putrid, sentient globules of blood rolling across the floor towards her with a burning, maddening hatred. They disintegrated beneath a rain of bilescourge, and she marched forwards with all who remained into the shuddering, booming, crackling carapace of the Old God.
   She was forsaken. She remained forsaken.
   And she would wear it well - because that was the only armour she needed.
 


Words copyright © Kim Wedlock
No part is to be reproduced without my permission.
World of Warcraft fanfiction, patch 8.3