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…

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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 big 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 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 there’s no way I can stay silent. I had to 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…

Posted by: lordkyler | January 29, 2017

NaNo “2016” Update – January

Well, folks, we’re almost at the end of January, and a great deal has changed in the world, but my efforts to write each and every day have continued unabated. Still nowhere near previous years, but steady nonetheless.

So it is with a small degree of pride that I can announce that I have just recently passed 38k words, about 75% of the total goal. At this rate, it looks like I’ll be “done” by the end of next month, and if I keep up an equivalent pace throughout the year, I could produce a total of 150k words in 2017.

That’s good, but I think I can do better, as I have in the past. In light of that, I’m going to examine my writing habits and see if I can increase my efficiency. From my time writing 2k+ words per day on Lithra IV, I know that taking steps to limit distractions and setting aside a solid block of time to write can both help tremendously, and I plan to research other helps as well.

In related news, I may technically qualify as a professional author, and as Futurama taught us, technical correctness is the best kind of correct. A little while ago, I received from Lulu (the company I use to print and distribute the Legend of Lithra) a check amounting to the grand sum of  twenty-eight dollars and change. Some of that may come from me buying my own books, but not all of it, which means that I have sold something I wrote to at least one other person. Move over, Stephen, there’s a new King in town.

In seriousness, I know that’s not a lot, but it’s not nothing, either, and I feel I’m beginning to make real progress in my skill and output. It’s good. Thanks for sticking with me, and I’ll see you again when I hit 50k.

Posted by: lordkyler | January 21, 2017

Icebound – Short Story

Sequel to Frostbite


Josh stumbled once more, landing nose-down in a drift. Cursing violently to himself, he began shucking off his gear, throwing it into a pile beside him. The bullet wound in his leg was only getting worse. The shell hadn’t lodged in the flesh, and he’d fashioned a makeshift bandage for it, but he’d lost a lot of blood after the crash, enough to make him light-headed, and the exertion of his march had left the muscle stiff and cramped.

The arctic cold wasn’t helping either.

“Pissing Americans,” he muttered to himself as he dropped his pants. They were stiff as cardboard from the frost and wind. The chill began eating into his long-johns immediately, but he’d rather get this done quickly than cut a hole in his clothes. He still had a few heating packs left – he’d use one to warm back up.

He couldn’t keep going like this. He’d covered barely a kilometer out of the ten he needed to go, and his leg was already going out on him. If he didn’t do something about this, he’d never make it to the Seed Vault, much less defend it against the Yanks.

So that left him with only one option, distasteful as it was. He pulled out a small spray can from his kit. The one with the biohazard AND radiation symbols. Read More…

Posted by: lordkyler | January 7, 2017

The Writer – Short Story

I took a writing class this year, and for our final session, we were asked to bring a short, humorous piece, just for fun. This is the result. It should be noted that the instructor’s name is Peter.


The writer blinked and rubbed his eyes, unsure of where he was or how he’d gotten here. He was accustomed to taking in his surroundings with an author’s eye, picking out details or concocting colorful descriptions for later use – but there was nothing here to see. Not a blank room or an empty landscape, but a void, without shape, form or substance. Not blackness, but a total lack of sensation.

Well, that was interesting all in itself. It was troubling, but not painful, and it gave him a chance to think. How had he gotten here? The last thing he could remember was puzzling over a problem in his new novel as he drove to…

Oh. Right. He hadn’t noticed the stop sign at the blind corner, or the truck barreling through behind it. Was this shock? A coma? Or something else altogether? It wasn’t too bad – he had enough ideas to keep him occupied for quite a while – but the thought of languishing in this oblivion for an extended period was terrifying. He needed people to talk to, things to do, a way to write down the stories in his soul.

Ah, there. Thank heavens. Something was emerging from the nothingness – a pale tendril of mist that curled lazily into existence. More tendrils appeared, like leaks in a breaking dam, until all at once he found himself standing on an endless plain of clouds, radiant in the light of an eternal sun. Startled, the writer looked down at himself. He was still here, thirty years younger and wearing a simple white robe. More importantly, he had his manuscript with him, clutched tightly in both arms. Read More…

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