Dreadful Tales: A Matter of Discretion Part 1

As I mentioned earlier, the Dreadful Tales begin!

Dreadful Tales: A Matter of Discretion

“Surely, Sir, you cannot be serious?” asked the woman in the grey dress.  She crossed her arms, a sure sign of her displeasure.

The object of her incredulity crouched beside an open storm drain, holding a tear-drop shaped piece of lead swaying on the end of a string.  Unseen forces tugged the lead, pulling it towards the open hole.  “Oh, I assure you, Lady Brae, that I do not joke about such endeavors.  Our quarry has descended below, and,” he cast a rakish glance towards her, “if you wish to continue following the trail, below is where we must descend.”

“That’s filthy, disgusting,” she said closing her parasol.

Standing with unhurried grace, the handsome man looked at the city around them.  Tall, soot covered buildings leaned precariously close to each other above their heads.  Foul water dripped from eaves and gutters, while the sweet smell of rot pervaded the alley they stood in.  The ever-present misty shroud that obscured the sun was unusually low today.  The shadows of vast air ships prowled above it, like great whales beneath the surface of a turbulent ocean.  Rats watched them brazenly from a nearby corner.

“Perhaps you haven’t noticed, my Lady, but you have aptly described the whole of Gloomhaven.  Or has our trip through the lower quarters not shown you enough of how those below the spires live?”

Lady Brae sniffed and brushed back a strand of burgundy hair that had strayed from beneath her hat.  “There is no call to be rude.”  She peered over the edge of the hole and then wrinkled her pert nose.  “You haven’t been wrong yet, warlock, so I must take your word for it.”

“Now who is it that’s being rude?”  The man crossed his arms and leaned away from her.  “I thought we were past this.”

Brandishing her parasol, Lady Brae said, “You style yourself as the ‘Gentleman Warlock.’  Why should it displease you if I address you thusly?”

Pushing the tip of her weapon from his face, the man said, “Because you left off the ‘gentleman’ part, first of all.  Secondly, because you know my name.  I would expect a highborn scion like yourself to use it.”

The pair locked eyes for a moment before Lady Brae lowered her parasol.  “You speak truthfully, and I have forgotten myself in the excitement of the chase.  Please accept my apologies, Mr. Silver.”

Mr. Silver took one of her gloved hands and brought it to his grinning lips.  “Apology accepted, Lady Brae,” he said, before planting a kiss on the back of her hand.  A little color rose on her pale cheeks.  “And please, call me Marcus.”

The Gentleman Warlock stepped back and gazed down the hole.  “Now, I’m afraid, there’s nothing for it but to hold one’s nose and jump.”

“I think you’ve gone far enough. Mr. Silver,” she said.  As he looked back to her, she took a deep breath and continued.  “I believe that we must now part ways.  You have performed your duties admirably, but I fear this next part is for me alone to face.  I have made the arrangements already; you shall receive the agreed upon payment for your services.”

“Indeed?” he said, eyebrow raised.  “You wish to go into that dank sewer?  Alone?” Continue reading

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The Inconvenience of Life

Life is inconvenient.

There’s really no way around that.

If you read my earlier post, you saw that I had some big plans coming down the pike.  I was working hard and had reached 4000 words on the 5000 word goal for my short story.

Then, by chance, I found out about a publisher, Angry Robot, that was opening their doors to unsolicited manuscripts.  So, I quickly set aside my work on the short story to focus on the novel and cleaning it to make it more presentable.  I had another good friend with mad editing skills go over the first few chapters (this makes the second major edit I’ve had from excellent friends).

While I was focusing on the edits and the synopsis writing, I received word that my grandfather had had a major stroke.  His health has been deteriorating for the last five years and he has suffered numerous mini-strokes.  At first, we thought he’d recovered from the stroke, but then found out there were some significant complications and the prognosis was very bad.

Working on my book or short story was about the furthest things from my mind.  Living across the ocean, there was precious little I could do but wait.  I managed to muddle through and get the submission finished and turned in on the due date, making me one of 990 they’ve received.

We had some false hope, but then things went poorly again.  Four days after completing the submission, my grandfather passed away in his sleep.

Since then I’ve been over to the states and then back again.  It’s been a painful roller coaster of emotion that has been both better and worse than I feared.

When I’d started this blog I’d said I wasn’t going to write about things that were personal or unrelated to writing, so I guess I’m reversing that decision.  I don’t really feel bad about it.  Life has made finishing my story very difficult.

Both good and bad things happen at the most inconvenient times.

I loved my grandfather and I’ve always been proud of him for being a Veteran of World War Two.  I knew some of the stories about his time there, especially of the grievous injury he suffered during his time there.  His obituary had some details that I didn’t know, or at least put some specifics to things I had never asked.  Because I’m proud of him, I want to share that little detail of his life.

…serving in Europe with the 45th Infantry, (Thunderbird) Division. He was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line, March 13, 1945 and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Battle Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, American Theater Medal and Victory Medal.