Wednesday, 10 January 2018
It's been awhile, the mad rush of NaNoWriMo and December having messed with my ability to organize the next participant (I know, it would have taken all of two minutes), but here we are finally, back with part 7 of the exciting adventures of Lord Logenburt. You can catch up on parts 1 to 6 here.
The Lord Logenburts past were responsible for the dragon problem, at least in some abstract way, and Lord Logenburt present could put an end to it.
He decided on several courses of action at once, and his body twitched as it tried to move in all directions. Half of him reached for the crumpled leathery creature, with vague ideas of strangling it before it started baying for blood. The other half turned to crush the remaining eggs before he had to learn the collective noun for baby dragons. The third half—the part that was terrible at maths—headed for the door to get help.
He unbalanced, and performed an ungainly pirouette to right himself. He scolded himself to think things through and act logically.
But then the dragon lurched onto all fours and started crawling rapidly towards him, so he decided on a new option: run away and let somebody else deal with the problem.
He turned, wincing as his knee creaked in protest, and found the sneering Baron blocking his path. He’d acquired a dagger from somewhere; a vicious tapered blade that glinted in the candlelight like a wink. Frederic swallowed.
The Baron opened his mouth but, before he could speak, another voice interrupted. High-pitched, with a background hiss like a balloon being deflated.
Frederic whipped around. The dragon had stopped a few feet away, staring at him with large yellow eyes.
He must have misheard. It was imp—
This time, he saw the thing’s lips move as it spoke.
He raised a shaky hand and pointed to his chest. “Me?”
It nodded, then resumed crawling. Frederic backed away. It occured to him that the Baron was in that direction—and, more pertinently, the dagger—which brought him to a halt. Death behind, death ahead.
Courage, or perhaps desperation, made him blurt out, “Go away!”
The dragon stopped, and flopped onto its bottom with a dull thud. The little face crumpled, and Frederic felt a bizarre stab of guilt.
“I’m not your mama,” he said.
The dragon blinked, then frowned. It clenched its little fists, and a curl of smoke drifted out of one nostril. “Mama.” There was a steely note in its tone that made Frederic swallow again. He recalled, as he often did in stressful situations, a passage from a book.
Dragons make excellent parents. The dragoness will guard her eggs fiercely for several months until they hatch. During this time, her mate will bring regular meals, even he keeping a wary distance from the precious clutch. Upon hatching, the dragonling will imprint on the first face it sees: that of its doting mother.
The dragon continued to stare, the hissing growing louder until a blue jet of fire blasted from its black nose.
Frederic clutched the sleeves of his jacket. “Oh... well... I suppose, in a way... I mean... yes, okay. Mama.”
“Mama,” the dragon confirmed, and smiled toothily. It launched itself forward, tail wagging, and spread its wings. Before Frederic could move, the creature grasped his trouser leg with sharp claws and climbed up his body. It sat down on his pot belly, and sniffed at his jumper.
“Oh dear lord.” Frederic’s breath exploded. “You don’t want a nipple, do you?”
It blinked up at him, expression blank.
“You!” came a splutter from the Baron. With all the other horrific things happening, Frederic had blocked out his existence. He was reminded sharply with the tip of the dagger in his face. His eyes crossed to keep it in focus. “How dare you! Look here, Dragon, I’m your mama.”
The yellow eyes turned their gaze to him. There was a pause, and then the dragon said, “Bad man.” It stared hard at the Baron, then at the woman lying pale and still on the slab, and then back. “Bad man hurt Papa.”
The Baron’s lips thinned. “Time for you later.” He tightened his grip on the dagger and took a step closer to Frederic, whose back hit the wall in less than two seconds.
“You won’t steal my dragons, Logenburt!” He sprang, slashing with the dagger. Frederic pressed himself against the wall, trapped, and only escaped the blade because the Baron withdrew it. He had to, because a whirl of black jumped from Frederic’s stomach to his face and sank its teeth in is neck.
The Baron dropped the knife, and screamed in a surprisingly high pitch. He rained blows on the little black body clinging to his flesh, but the dragon didn’t seem to feel them. It flapped its wings, making the Baron turn away and close his eyes. Blindly, he clamped his hands around its back and tried to pull it off his neck. Those teeth were tenacious. The Baron let go, momentum sending him stumbling backwards, and Frederic felt it in his teeth when skull hit stone.
The Baron’s eyes stayed closed, and he stopped moving.
The dragon sat on the Baron’s chest, licked its lips with a forked tongue, and made an unhappy face. Then it morphed into a pink-cheeked human baby—Frederic noted that it was a girl dragon-baby-thing—took another tentative lick, and smiled. “Mm.”
It licked the blood off its face with relish, and then followed the trail to the puncture wounds in the Baron’s neck. Frederick strongly considered running away while the thing was distracted, but he couldn’t leave the Baron like that, no matter what he had done.
“Stop that!” he said, trying for the tone that his own mother had used to great effect.
The baby stopped.
Frederic leant over the Baron and felt for a pulse. Slow, but strong. The wound wasn’t bleeding too heavily. He’d have a stonking headache when he woke up, but unless that crack to the head had caused internal bleeding, he would survive.
He turned a stern gaze on the baby. “That was very naughty. Very.”
Its blue eyes brightened with tears, and its chin wobbled. “Bad man hurt Papa. Bad man?”
Frederic hesitated, then admitted, “Well, yes. I suppose. Bad man.”
The baby smiled and waved chubby fists. “Move Papa? Away from bad man.”
And that’s how he found himself at the Baron’s door twenty minutes later, with a dragon stuffed down his jumper and a half-dead woman propped on his shoulder, trying to edge past the servant who’d showed him in.
“Are you sure I can’t arrange a carriage for you, Lord Logenburt? Your companion looks... tired. Are you quite sure she was with you when you came in?”
“Yes,” said Frederic, at the same time she said, “Blergon,” - rather unhelpfully, he thought. She slumped further onto Frederic’s shoulder.
Her skin was milky white, and there were makeshift bandages around her arms, courtesy of the Baron’s shirt. It’d taken much ear-splitting wailing from the dragon-baby before her eyelids even fluttered.
“She’s Swedish,” he said, as if that explained everything, and pushed past the servant.
“Bye bye!” said a muffled voice from his jumper. He shushed her.
This was going to be difficult to explain to Tubs.
Monday, 30 October 2017
Lord Logenburt Part Six
contributed by L.A. Bridger
(Catch up on previous installments here.)
The crack rang through the air. Frederic Logenburt the last of the Dragon Lords turned slowly, heart pounding in his chest, to see one of the eggs with a large crack in it. Before he could even think to run, the egg shattered completely revealing what lay inside.
From where he sat on the floor Frederic watched as the creature unfurled leathery, bat like wings to reveal the body of a small child. However, it was like no child Frederic had ever seen. Its arms, legs, and back were covered in dark green scales that extended down a long thick tail covered in spikes, which protruded from the tip of the tail to the base of the creature's neck. As it turned to look at Frederic he saw its eyes were yellow with narrow slit-like pupils like that of a cat.
Suddenly the creature opened its mouth revealing sharp needle like teeth and let out an ear splitting wail. Frederic clamped his hands over his ears but it did nothing to block out the horrible noise. Beside him the baron also was covering his ears. As the creature continued to wail Frederic thought he could almost make out words among the noise. But that couldn’t be possible. Everyone knew dragons couldn’t talk, though he had to admit he had never seen a dragon that looked so human before. He had known that a monstrosity would be born if a dragon was hatched using human blood, but he had always assumed that it would just be a normal dragon with the intelligence of a human.
Even as he continued to watch the strange creature he could see the dragon aspects beginning to fade from its body until all that sat crying before them was a normal looking human child. Except for the leathery wings coming from its back of course. Feeling more confident now that the creature looked more like a human child he slowly approached, more out of a need to get it to stop crying rather than bravery. Just as he was about to reach out and touch it it opened its eyes and in a second it had become a fully transformed baby dragon. Frederic gasped and pulled his hand away.
“Incredible.” Frederic heard the Baron breathe behind him.
Incredible?! More like terrifying, Frederic thought. A dragon that could pass as a human would be extremely dangerous. Especially if it was following the orders of a man like the Baron. Frederic knew he had to do something but what that something was he didn’t know.
Friday, 29 September 2017
Lord Logenburt Part Five
submitted by Kim. M. Watt
The Baron’s grin widened. “Monstrosities, yes, but my monstrosities!”
Frederic fumbled in his coat pocket for the flask of whiskey. Never mind social niceties or keeping up appearances – this was madness. Breeding dragons had been forbidden for decades, in no small part due to the actions of the previous Lords Logenburt. He gulped whiskey, staring at the still form of the woman in the shadows, feeling the old sick shame in his belly. He’d never wanted to be part of it, and his father had hated him for walking away. Hated him for preferring books and diplomacy to fire and might. But who had been proved right, in the end?
“Now then,” the Baron said, interrupting Frederic’s unpleasant memories. “It’s been said you’re quite an expert in these things.”
“No,” Frederic said. “Not me. I’m just looking for the girl.”
“And now you’ve found her.”
There was a challenge in the Baron’s words, and Frederic flinched, his hands shaking as he tried to get the cap back on the flask.
“I – yes,” he said finally, giving up on the cap. “I have. So I guess I’ll be off, then.” He took a cautious step backwards.
“That’s not going to work for me, I’m afraid,” the Baron said, managing to sound quite regretful. “See, I need the girl to complete the incubation, so I can’t have you running off and telling people about this, can I?”
“Oh. Yes. I see,” Frederic said. The heat and blood-stink was making him dizzy. That, and the whisky. He took another sip anyway, on the theory that things couldn’t get worse.
The younger man took a step towards him. “I’d be grateful of your expertise, of course.”
“Would you?” He was actually feeling terribly unwell. What on earth had he been thinking, getting involved with missing girls and Barons?
“I would. I’ve read all the books, of course, but my knowledge is all theoretical. Having one of the Lords Logenburt to help would be very advantageous.”
“I wasn’t really part of all that,” Frederic admitted, thinking vaguely that perhaps the whiskey hadn’t been the best idea. Shouldn’t there have been a way to work this to his advantage?
“So you don’t know anything?” the Baron demanded. “But your father –“
“It wasn’t my thing. All the blood and whatnot.”
“It wasn’t your thing?”
“The last of the Logenburts, the Dragon Lords, and it wasn’t your thing?”
The way the Baron was keeping on about this was really very annoying. He’d said it wasn’t, hadn’t he? He just wanted to go home, make a very large hot toddy, go to bed and forget this whole thing.
“Look, you’re messing it all up anyway,” Frederic said. “Human blood is completely out. Even I know that.”
“Oh, so that you know?”
“Well, of course! You have to use the blood of docile things, things that want to obey. Not ones that are more worried about the rising price of butter and how on earth they’ve gained a kilo. That must’ve been in the books.”
The Baron might have looked uncertain for a moment, but it didn’t last. Instead he crossed the floor to Frederic in two quick strides and grabbed the front of the older man’s shirt in one hand. “I don’t care,” he snarled, close enough for Frederic to determine that he’d had garlic for dinner. “They’ll be my dragons, and they’ll do as I say.” He hauled the hapless Lord with him as he headed towards the hard platform the young woman lay on. “And if you can’t make yourself useful, I’ll make you useful!”
Frederic squawked and tried to resist, but the Baron was too strong, and he’d never been good at this physical stuff. His movements felt slow and confused, ineffectual against the younger man’s anger. He managed to grab the edge of one of the warm pans of blood, sending it clattering to the floor but doing nothing to slow them down.
“Stop it, you idiot,” the Baron snapped, half turning to glance at the blood slopping across the stone. Frederic (rather regretfully) threw his flask in the man’s face. The Baron yelped as it smacked him painfully in the nose, the alcohol stinging his eyes, and Frederic took his chance. He threw himself forward, his not inconsiderable bulk sending them staggering into another of the warming dishes, blood slopping over their feet and making the floor slick. The Baron was shouting, and Frederic wondered if he should try to throw a few punches. The odds of landing them seemed slim, however, so he continued to drive the Baron in front of him, crashing into eggs and knocking over gas lamps, until he slipped on the treacherous surface and took them both to the floor.
Frederic landed on the Baron heavily enough to drive the wind out of him, and they both lay there gasping for a moment before the younger man slammed a fist into his side and shoved him onto his back. He lay there staring at the ceiling in the dim light of the few remaining gas lamps, spent.
“You fool,” the Baron snarled, getting to his knees. “What did you think that was going to accomplish?”
Frederic had to admit that he had no idea.
For a moment the only sounds were the panting of the men and the hiss of gas, and the last Lord Logenburt had time to consider that he might have been the first of his line to turn away from dragons, but they’d still be the death of him.
And then there was a crack.
Monday, 18 September 2017
Lord Logenburt Part Four
By Kit Danziger
Connect with Kit on Twitter!
Here is it! The long-awaited next installment of the adventures of Lord Logenburt. If you missed the other parts, catch up here!
Frederic followed the Baron out of the room. The manor was very dark and cold. Surely a man of the baron's stature and privilege could afford to light a few gaslamps, Frederic thought. But it wasn't his place to question a baron. He regretted laying his whiskey, in a moment of indecision, on a side table on his way out of the drawing room. Could he carry his glass into the baron's quarters? Frederic was no longer sure of the proper decorum: strange young women addressing him by his first name, barons inviting him into their private chambers. Maybe the rules of polite society had changed since he last visited. He suddenly longed for his quiet study and a tumbler of his own whiskey in his hand, where just the night before, the clock had struck the hours like a tell tale heart of his dull life. He was no longer a young man, and perhaps pleasant and uneventful were the best he could hope for. It was good enough for the Lords Logenburt before him.
Baron Bleddyn was barely visible in front of him, and Frederic's eyes were watering besides. They walked down a corridor and then down several flights of stairs. The gloom seemed to muffle their footsteps, and Frederic was glad when the baron appeared not to notice him stumble.
Abruptly, the baron stopped and swung open a great oak door. The baron beckoned to him. "If it please you, my lord," he said. "Enter."
Lord Logenburt walked into the room. Fortunately, here were a few lit gaslamps revealing a room that was decidedly not private chambers, but in fact, seemed much more cavernous. Frederic saw where all the duke's other gaslamps had gone. They illuminated and warmed...a clutch of large, dark eggs. Each egg sat in a type of large saucer warmed by a gaslamp underneath. Frederic never thought he'd see this familiar scene again. He gaped at the baron. At the sight of the baron's smug smile, he recovered quickly, and looked over at the other, darker and colder, side of the room, where he could make out the vague form of a young woman lying on a stone slab. A trough led from the slab to a channel in the floor that conveyed a dark liquid to the eggs. Suddenly, Frederic realized that the eggs were lying in a gruesome sort of tea-warmer. The blood filled the saucers under the eggs, and the gaslamps kept it hot.
"You're incubating the eggs in blood!" he said, aghast.
"Yes!" the baron replied. "The iron in the blood will make the dragons strong. The nutrients will make them powerful!"
"But you must never use human blood! Only animal blood. Human blood will create monstrosities, abortions of magic!"
Sunday, 2 July 2017
Lord Logenburt Part Three
By Thomas Roggenbuck
Connect with Thomas on twitter!
(If you missed the first installments, check out parts one and two here first!)
The carriage bumped along the road, which didn’t help Frederic’s uneasy stomach. Even though it had been a few days since Vivian DuBois had come to talk with him, the conversation was fresh in his mind. He couldn’t believe he had agreed to help look for her. Perhaps he drank too much whiskey and it clouded his judgement; Tubs always said he drank too much. However, he knew the alcohol had no influence, or at least very little, on his decision to help the women. He had wanted an adventure, and it was why he was on his way to Baron Thomas Bleddyn’s manor.
The carriage came to a stop in the courtyard of the manor, a large complex with beautiful stain glass windows, magnificent archways, and stunning gardens. Frederic stood next to his carriage for a moment, taking in the scenery, before moving forward. A servant greeted him at the front entrance.
“How may I assist you, kind visitor?” the servant asked.
“My name is Lord Frederic Logenburt, and I’m seeking an audience with Baron Bleddyn,” Frederic said. He tried to keep his voice steady and his hands from shaking.
“Very well,” the servant said, giving Frederic a deep bow. “I will return soon with a response.” The servant ran off and Frederic reached inside his jacket, tugging out a flask of whiskey. Whiskey relaxed him, helped him think. The servant returned a short while later, beckoning for Frederic to follow him.
The servant knocked on two large oak doors, both with intricate drawings of nature on their faces. Frederic took another swig of whiskey as the servant opened the doors.
“Stay here. The Baron will be here to meet with you momentarily,” the servant said. “You want anything, my lord?”
Frederic shrugged. “I’ll take a glass of whiskey, if you don’t mind.”
The servant bowed again. “As you wish.” The servant returned moments later with a glass of whiskey. Despite the drink, Frederic couldn’t sit still. He stood and walked around the chairs, then the table, then the room. He paused as a piece of artwork caught his eye. A goat, headless and bloody, lay at a man’s feet. The man held the goat’s head high in the air. Frederic stared at it confused, trying to decipher its hidden meaning.
“I got that piece from a merchant from the Jecous Peninsula. Intriguing, right?” a voice said from behind him. Frederic turned around. Baron Thomas Bleddyn stopped next to him, staring at the painting on the wall. “Cost me a little more than I would have liked, but the man gave me a large discount, since he didn’t want to take it back with him. Have we met before?”
“No. No we haven’t.” Frederic forced the words out. He sipped at the whiskey the servant brought him. He stuck a hand towards the Baron. “Lord Frederic Logenburt, sir.”
“Pleasure,” the Baron said, shaking Frederic’s hand. “Why is it you’ve come? Surely not to admire my artwork?”
“A sister of a...friend has disappeared. She approached me the other night. I figured I’d come to you.”
The Baron scratched his chin. “Who is missing? And who’s your friend?”
“Vivian and Lea DuBois. Vivian approached me the other night. Lea is missing.”
“Yeah, I know Lea. Cute little darling. She’s missing?”
Frederic swallowed. “Vivian told me she ran off with you, hence why I came here.”
“No. No, Lea hasn’t been here in a while; definitely not in the past week.” The Baron turned and looked directly at Frederic, whose gut clenched. “Are you looking for her?”
Slowly, Frederic nodded his head. “I promised Vivian that I would do the best I could to find Lea. I just assumed she was here and that I would have to lecture her about running off without anyone knowing, but it appears she isn’t here.”
There was a silence. Frederic’s hands began to sweat, so he wrapped his hands around the cool glass of whiskey. He took another sip, before the Baron spoke again.
“Come,” he said, striding back the way he came.
Frederic stumbled after him; whiskey never allowed him to move fast. “Where are we going?”
Monday, 26 June 2017
Thank you to all those who have volunteered to contribute to the Communal Book Project. Part Two is brought to you by Billy Owens Jr. Read on to find out what Lord Logenburt found on the other side of his door, or if you missed part One, catch up here!
Lord Logenburt Part Two
Written by Billy Owens Jr
Lord Logenburt Part Two
Written by Billy Owens Jr
"Hello!" Frederic warmly greeted the visitor. Before him stood a young woman, fair-skinned, with long, raven tresses, deep emerald eyes, and a distraught demeanor.
"Oh! H-hello," she stammered, surprised that someone answered the door. "I didn't think anyone would be up at this late hour. My sincerest apologies for disturbing you, it's just that I…"
"Would you care to come in?" Frederic interrupted, gesturing with his arm for her to enter. Again, the woman was surprised, this time by hospitality. She thanked Frederic and went inside.
This is it, Frederic thought to himself, as he escorted her to the study. A damsel in distress, danger may be afoot, and I could be the dashing hero to the rescue! Finally, a chance to escape this humdrum life!
As they entered the study, Frederic offered her to sit in his armchair. "Are you sure?" the timid woman asked.
"Quite alright,” he replied with a reassuring smile. As he went to the wet bar to pour himself another glass of whiskey, it occurred to him how he would be remiss foregoing introductions in lieu of pleasantries, so he decided to kill two birds with one stone. “Would you care for a drink, Miss…?"
"DuBois, Vivian DuBois, and no, thank you," she politely declined.
Frederic pulled a stool from the bar and sat across from her. “I’m Frederic Logenburt, pleased to make your acquaintance.” That being said, it was time to address the situation at hand. “So, Miss DuBois, what sort of trouble are you in, and how can I be of assistance?”
Vivian deeply sighed. "It's my sister, Lea. Two nights ago, she left our house with her boyfriend, Thomas, and has yet to return. I’m used to her coming and going as she pleases, being out all hours of the night, but it has been two days, without so much as a random drop-by or a call. Two days!"
Frederic pondered about what to ask next, as he wanted to choose his words carefully. He didn’t want to upset Vivian more than what she already was, but still, some questions needed asked. “Perhaps, Lea is staying with her boyfriend? What have the authorities said on the matter?“
“I can only assume she is, since I don’t know where he lives,” Vivian sobbed, “and the authorities have refused to help.”
“Refused? “ Frederic uttered, stroking his mustache. This baffling situation made him thirsty for another glass.
Vivian continued on as Frederic returned to the wet bar. “They said ‘it would not be in my best interest trifling in the affairs of a Bleddyn.’”
Frederic stopped in mid-pour and sat the bottle down. “Bleddyn? Thomas Bleddyn?!" Frederic breathed.
“Yes, I guess so. Who is…” Vivian asked, seemingly bewildered.
“Baron Thomas Bleddyn, a puckish rogue to say the least,” Frederic remarked.
“He’s a Baron?!” Vivian exclaimed, shaking her head, “Oh, Lea, what did you get yourself into?” She then slowly rose from the armchair, directed her attention to the wet bar. "Frederic, I believe I will have that drink now."
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Stay tuned for Part Three!
Thursday, 15 June 2017
I'm heading into the last part of Act Two in my WIP, and the action is really cranking up. Enough with the talking, the thinking, the quietly figuring things out. It is time to bring out the big guns. Quite literally.
With this in mind, I found myself facing several hot action scenes, with fights, shootings, and car chases to choreograph. As I'm not overly experienced in any of these domains, I had a ton of research to do, not least because my car chase takes place in the real life setting of an area of London near St Paul's cathedral, and I wanted the setting to be spot-on. (Hello, Google Maps.)
On top of all that, the three characters involved are newly-formed allies, with a ton of stuff to say in order to get everyone on the same page, very fast, whilst escaping bad guys and dealing with a bullet wound.
Writing the dialogue and action for these scenes was hard. The kind of stuff that makes me want to throw in the towel and take up knitting instead. So I did what any self-respecting writer would do. I took the easy route.
First I wrote the car chase, with minimal dialogue (mostly 'ouches' and 'look behind yous' and 'helps') and lots of raging action, then, in the subsequent lull before the next disaster, the three amigos had a good old chin wag with a ton-load of characterisation, and got it all off their chests.
The scene fell flat.
I was sad. I cried a little, moaned a little, grumbled a little, realised nobody was listening to me, and took a break from the scene. Then, when I came back, I had an epiphany.
*insert witty dialogue into action scene*
I took most of the dialogue (with some exceptions) and weaved it into the action scene, alternating between full-on car chase and vibrant (I hope) conversation, pumping life into this scene until it pulsated with energy. Now the characters are having a real great time, bonding fast as they race through the streets of London, popping tyres and dodging bullets.
Also, I was able to cut out most of the action beats and dialogue tags from the original conversation, hence reducing word count. Since my WIP is comparable to an oversized heifer, this is good.
I plan to use this technique again. When I face a scene that requires heavy action and sharp dialogue, I'll write them separately, then blend them as one. A bit like a smoothie. Minus the lumps.