Posted by: lordkyler | April 11, 2018

Announcement – Short Story Week Suspended

To anyone out there who might be eagerly awaiting my annual series of short stories, I’m afraid I have some unfortunate news. When I first started the tradition of posting short stories during the week of my birthday, my working hours were rather different, and – more importantly – I was not yet attending college. Given that this week is fast encroaching upon finals, I find I simply do not have the time to write fiction at the moment.

But don’t fear! Once this semester is finished, I will be free of college for at least the summer months, and I intend to devote significant time to writing. I have already determined what the remainder of this week’s short stories will be, and they are first in my docket for writing and release. Other project will follow – some of which you will see eventually. If you simply can’t wait to see more of my work, why not check out my serial fantasy series, The Legend of Lithra? The fourth book (prewritten) is wrapping up soon, and while it could use some polish, it is my best and most ambitious book to date.

Enjoy!

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Posted by: lordkyler | April 9, 2018

Every Man an Island – Short Story Week 2018

The process of waking up from cryostasis was growing uncomfortably familiar.

Theo gasped, feeling the burn in his chest as he breathed on his own for the first time in… how long has this cycle been? Anything longer than a few days required the same protocols, making it impossible to tell time from biological processes alone. The gap in his memory seemed brief, as though he’d only laid down for a quick nap, but his body ached like he’d been running marathons, and the symphony of symptoms that accompanied cryosleep – nausea, dizziness, fatigue – made it hard to think about anything. He would feel fine in a few days, but by then, it would be time to go back under.

Taking a moment to center himself, Theo listened to the familiar hum of machinery, savored the chemical tang to the air, explored his muscles as if for the first time. Sometimes, in these first few moments after waking up, he wondered why he still bothered. He was shackled to a dream that had long since died, clinging to a hope as faint and distant as the stars. If not for the mission, he would have ended it all a long time ago. But, inevitably, duty called him back from the brink, kept him going for one more cycle. One step closer to his goal.

The earth was lost, but he could still save humanity. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | December 23, 2017

Radiance II: Part IV – Of Traps and Trains

Previously: In an attempt to win Governor Abbot’s cooperation, our heroes decided to investigate the kidnapping of the local police chief’s daughter, a young inventor named Ophelia. After a little detective work and a meeting with her older brother Daniel, they realized that young Ophelia had actually run away, and is likely hiding in a nearby railway graveyard. Even after learning that Abbot may be working with the Anarchists, the agents decide to keep their word and meet with Daniel to find his sister… without scaring her away again.


Following the investigation at Cyrus Martin’s manor, the three agents made their way back into town, riding with a very satisfied Ernie. The rain had stopped by the time they reached downtown, and since it was already late afternoon, Niku, Sarah, and Vera determined the best course of action would be to get a bit of rest before their meeting with Daniel Van Weir at the trainyard that evening.

They found a passable diner, where Niku tried unsuccessfully to flirt with the waitress, and Vera made a quick trip to the hardware store, realizing she was short on rope. They spent the rest of the time napping in a nearby park. It had been a long day already, and tonight wasn’t likely to be any easier. Best to rest and recharge their mana while they had the chance.

When the sun was low in the sky, they hitched a ride on trucks and passing trains until they reached their destination: a large yard housing all the detritus of a major shipping hub. Rusting engines, decrepit freight cars, and every other bit of metallic and mechanical scrap in the region – old trucks, crashed planes, and even a decommissioned tank that might have come from the Great War. Massive heaps of scrap rose around the far edge of the facility, like a miniature mountain chain overlooking a ruined city. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | December 9, 2017

Radiance II: Part III – Mad Martin’s Manor

PreviouslyAfter facing a hostile reception from Governor Abbot, our heroes decided to investigate a kidnapping in order to get on her good side. After investigating, however, they found that she may have run away instead, and have agreed to meet her brother at sundown to find her. In the meantime, they are continuing their primary investigation: discovering which of the three Governors is working with the dreaded Anarchists. Governor Martin – the head of financial matters – is next on the list. 


 

Niku, Sarah, and Vera walked down the street at a brisk pace, trying to put some distance between themselves and the minor debacle at the Van Weir house.

After a few minutes of silence, Sarah piped up. “We should get some horses or something. Governor Martin is a long walk away.”

Niku raised an eyebrow at that, glancing at the factory smokestacks in the near distance. “I don’t think we’ll find many carriages in this district,” he said. “But maybe if we get to a bigger street we can find something.”

Taking a slight detour, they did indeed find something – or rather, it found them. As they reached one of the main streets, a cheerful horn beeped from behind, signaling the arrival of a battered black taxicab, one of the older steam models.

As the agents stared, a man with a ruddy face and a tweed cap leaned out the window, gesturing broadly. “Mornin’!” he called. “Need a lift? Soft seats, reasonable rates!”

The three agents shared a glance and promptly piled in, barely closing the doors before they were in motion, racing along the cobbled streets. Taking a puff of his cigar, the cabbie gave a little wave. “I’m Eddie,” he announced. “Where can I take you, guv’nor?”

“To the Governor’s, actually,” Vera said, rolling down a window to siphon the smoke away. “Martin’s Manor.” Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | August 20, 2017

Radiance II: Part II – Loose Cannons

Previously in the Radiance RPG: Our not-so-secret agents arrived in the town of Quill to battle against an Anarchist cell and investigate rumors of corruption among the council. After encountering opposition, the players decide to curry favor by searching for the kidnapped daughter of the local police chief. While fishing for rumors in the underground, our heroes ended up splashed by some conspicuously illegal substances, and have just run afoul of a patrolling officer…


“Hold right there!”

The three agents halted, and Niku took a step backward, but Vera stopped him. Fleeing was just as likely to cause problems as solve them. He stepped forward instead.

“Evening, officer,” he said, genial. His grin still bore a faint trace of light from the magical cocktail he’d had earlier.

The man was having none of it. “What’s the meaning of this, then?” he demanded, using his nightstick to gesture at the glowing stain on Vera’s shirtfront.

“We’re, uh…” Kinu trailed off, and Vera nudged him. “We’re confederate agents,” he admitted.

The officer stared skeptically, his scowl only increasing further as they provided proof. He was a young man, with somber features, dark hair, and pale complexion. His badge – Vera noted – named him as Officer Van Weir, a name that seemed strangely familiar.

“So you’re the ones they’re talking about, eh? Perhaps you can explain what these late-night libations have to do with your mission here? I’m sure Governor Abbot would love to hear your reasoning.” Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | August 13, 2017

Radiance II: Part I – Agents of Fate

You can read the introduction to this arc here.

Every week, a train dutifully makes the journey from the city of Isolation to Quill, the crossroads of Fate, carrying goods and approved passengers. Today’s train, however, carried some very particular cargo.

In a private car at the very back of the line, two women and a man played cards, though they have some difficulty agreeing on the rules. Each of the three were very different in appearance and temperament, but all carry themselves with assurance, and wear badges proclaiming them as confederate agents.

The man – a burly Oqidan named Quidetto Yamahara but known to most as Niku – goes over the details of their mission as he shuffles the cards under close scrutiny, Over the past few weeks, this region has suffered numerous attacks from a local cell of Anarchists, an international group of terrorists. Each cell has their own leaders and agenda, but are united by an overarching philosophy, and often share information and resources.

While obviously cause for alarm, skirmishes of this scale would typically be relegated to the local militia, not requiring the attention of specialized and elite agents – agents authorized to use the forbidden arts of magic. In this case, however, local informants have recently discovered a shocking conspiracy: one of the three council members overseeing the city of Quill has turned traitor, and is colluding with the Anarchists.

Unfortunately, they do not know which of the three is responsible. The three agents, under the direction of Agent Yamahara, have been ordered to investigate the matter and authorized to arrest the offending council member. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | August 5, 2017

Radiance Returns!

At the urging of my recently returned brother, I am pleased to announce that the Radiance RPG is now back in session! Once again, I am taking up the role of the GM, and while we are continuing in the same setting, we do so with new players, new characters, and a new adventure. See the post linked above to learn more about the world of Radiance, and check out my prior posts to learn about the last arc.

My intention is for this to be a shorter, faster, and more focused game, with less elaborate posts, but as is so often the case of with role-playing games, I can’t predict exactly how things will unfold. I can say that we got off to a good start, and I’m looking forward to the journey.  Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | April 14, 2017

Apocalypse Anthology – Fifth Stanza

Shards of Envy

The Staff of Sages: Right of Wisdom,

The Power of the Earth is felt.

The world shall crack, the skies turn black,

And mountains themselves shall melt.


Blood dripped from the corner of my lip into the pool below me, sending crimson swirls through the cloudy water and making the scavenger fish dart madly in search of its source. I was trembling, as much from anger as from the cold, and I hugged myself close, closing myself off from the world. My reflection in the murky water showed red, sullen eyes and wild dark hair that only half-covered the bruises and scratches across my face.

This should have been the greatest day of my life. The completion of my third full journey around the world. A day of celebration, a rare reprieve from our eternal quest to stay ahead of the relentless and merciless sea. The day I received the Animar I had been dreaming about for the past six months.

The tiny kit approached, nuzzling up against my leg to give comfort, but I shoved it away rudely, nearly sending it tumbling into the pool. Stupid thing. Mother knew I wanted the wolf pup, and yet she had chosen this tiny fluffball. No matter what element I bonded it to, it would never be truly useful for scouting or fighting. I wanted more than mere companionship.

To make matters worse, Skiff the navigator’s son – my arch-nemesis – had received the wolf pup. It was too much to bear. Even now, hours later, my heart still carried a trace of the heat that had surged through it. My hands knotted themselves into fists of their own accord, and my eyes glared back at me in my reflection. I could still hear the echoes of the roaring in my ears, like the rush of waves surging to drown me.

There was another memory lingering there as well, something quickly fading but never fully forgotten. A silent song. A strange sense of yearning. A subtle whispering…

The ring of metal hooves on stone distracted me from the thought, and I felt the dread that anger had held at bay come flooding in. The chieftain was coming, and for all her noble qualities, she was not known for her mercy. Even as her daughter, I was not immune from the administration of justice. Quite the contrary, in fact, as I would suffer the consequences both in public and in private. And this was the worst thing I’d ever done. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | April 12, 2017

Deeds Most Foul – Short Story Week 2017

In the days when men first began to dream, two shadows met in the dry and dusty air. They were wicked things, known to none but recognized by all, the stuff of sin, misery and malice. They watched the people of the village and saw how they tilled the soil, how they built their huts, and how they grew stronger and happier with every passing day.

This would not do.

The first shadow spoke with a voice like the growl of a wolf. “These humans live most contentedly, cousin. It pains me to see them thus. They are small, and we are weak, but we shall grow stronger from their sorrow, shall we not?”

“We shall,” said the second, with a voice like the skittering of spiders. “Perhaps we may make a contest of it, kinsman. You may torment the people of this village, and I shall afflict the ones that live across the way, and we shall meet in a year to see which of us has caused the most suffering.”

And so it was agreed, and the shadows parted to work their wickedness.

•••

In the days when men slept little and watched for more than wolves, two shadows met in the mists of evening, swelling with new strength and mischief. They saw how men had sharpened their staffs, and women counted their children and the dwindling of days.

There was still much to be done. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | April 10, 2017

Proxy – Short Story Week 2017

I woke up to the scream of sirens and the panic of falling, startled from my bunk by the sudden noise. By luck and automatic reflex, I managed to catch the bedrail at the last instant, wrenching my arm instead of cracking my head open.

Cursing, I found my feet and cradled my shoulder, banishing all nuro notices until I could get my head in order. The darkness of my apartment was revealed as optic enhancements were suspended – the only light came from the slow pulse of my sleeping console and the muted neon flicker of the city that found its way past the foil-lined bedsheets I was using as makeshift security curtains. It was actually nice, in a way. In the dim lighting, I could pretend all the mess was the technological detritus of a young scientific prodigy instead of the dirty laundry and unrecycled garbage of an inveterate slob. It was actually almost impressive that I’d managed to create so much clutter in such a small space, but then again, I could have gotten by with less. As long as I had a bed, a bathroom, and my console, I could happily live in the Saturnine colonies. I would miss take-out Thai, though.

Right, the endless, earsplitting alarm. A nuro alert, but one that refused to go away until I acknowledged it. Emergency orders from Skyfleet. Shit. Cracking my neck and flexing my muscles, I nuroxed a hit of løgin and set the modafine on slow drip. If they were broadcasting an Apex-level alert, I needed to be at my sharpest.

Then I read the notice, and pure, old-fashioned adrenaline hit me so hard I had to order a stabilizer instead.

UTV EULER IN DISTRESS. REPORT FOR MANDATORY DUTY.

My heart fluttered in my chest like a dying bird, and for a moment, not even nuro implants could work fast enough to keep pace with my thoughts. Read More…

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