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…

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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…

Posted by: lordkyler | April 9, 2017

Short Story Week 2017

Another year is here, and as is tradition, I’ll be releasing some short stories during the week of my birthday, Unlike previous years, I won’t be able to release a story every day of the week, despite my best intentions, as I’ve been too busy with work and college. I will be releasing at least two and hopefully three stories over the course of the week. If for some reason that’s not enough for you, feel free to look over other recent releases and past year’s entries.

Enjoy!

Posted by: lordkyler | March 4, 2017

NaNoWriMo “2016” – Finished*

It’s finally finished,* everybody. I started the challenge in November, as is tradition, though I did so on a whim, with nothing in particular planned. Instead of one master project, I instead chose to tackle a bunch of back-burner stories instead, and while it may have taken four months instead of one, I just hit the 50k goal! At last, it is over.

…kind of.

To me, the ultimate goal of NaNoWriMo this year was to write an award-winning novella that would make me rich enough to retire and write full-time, but failing that, it was simply to write every day. And in that regard, it was successful. Not the retirement thing. The daily writing, which is almost as good, I guess.

I’m not about to stop writing daily now that I’m in the groove, though I may not keep track of it so closely. I’ve still got lots of stories to go, including the upcoming Short Story Week, so keep your refresh button handy, folks. I’m not going anywhere, for better or for best.

Posted by: lordkyler | February 18, 2017

A Sampling of Sketches

I’ve posted drawings on here many times before, but my drawing has often been inconsistent, with long dry spells between bursts of activity. Recently, however, I bought a sketchbook and have been drawing on a much more regular basis. I’ve been quite pleased with the results. It’s been a great way to keep my skills sharp and illustrate my invented worlds.

The following are imperfect scans of some of my favorite sketches for your enjoyment.

Weeeee watched the suuuunset...

Castle on a Hill (Not the Ed Sheeran version). I started with the castle and a bit of the ridgeline, and I knid of wish I’d stopped there, but I didn’t. This is one of the first drawings in the book.

Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | February 4, 2017

Cassandra’s Child – Short Story

Sequel to He Who Speaks With Birds


I wanted to get back on the bus about three seconds after I got off.

It was a perfect day, as far as the weather was concerned: not too hot, not too cold, not a cloud in the sky. As far as I was concerned, that was a problem. No clouds meant no information, on a day when I desperately needed it – like cramming for a final exam with a blank textbook.

Luckily, I wasn’t completely blind. A playful breeze wrote messages in the way it moved litter around the parking lot, gave me glimpses of things beyond sight as it made the flags and pennants of the stadium dance. There were plenty of birds as well, mostly seagulls and crows come to scavenge from the aftermath of picnics, tailgate parties, and countless concessions.

I still wished I had clouds. Birds and breezes were useful, but they spoke to me in different ways; about different things. Miss Green had left me a letter explaining the basics of divination. There were dozens of forms, she said, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and specialities. They could divine people, relationships, or events; peer into past, future or present; see near or far, deep or broad.

She had also urged me not to pursue this path. The gift and the curse were inextricably linked, and attempts to convince the ungifted always ended in disaster. She had provided several pages of historical examples, which I had only skimmed. I couldn’t afford to have that kind of baggage in my brain. It didn’t matter how many people had tried and failed in the past. I’ve seen the clouds – apocalypse literally looming overhead – and I cannot stay silent. I will find a way, because people need to know.

But that meant getting to people who had power to actually do something at national and international levels. That meant a trip to Washington D.C., and that meant money for a bus ticket, food and shelter. Money I didn’t have. Yet. Read More…

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