So, for the past week and a half, I’ve been waiting for a package to come around.
Today, that package finally arrived. Below this line is the image of the aforementioned package.
For those wondering, what I’m holding is the proof copy of what I’ve been working on for the past two to three years. I now have to go through the book and mark any changes to it, make the changes in the Word document and upload it. Once that’s all done, then it will be available for sale on the market. I’m hoping sometime next week, unless I feel the need to get a final proof copy just because.
Anyway, it would appear that my weekend is set. But a more enjoyable weekend I could not imagine.
…keep ‘em flyin’!
It’s been a long time overdue, but the section with Black Mask & Pale Rider needed a bit of an overhaul. It was getting long and clunky. Now, I hope, things will be easier to navigate and find.
The Black Mask & Pale Rider page itself is merely a portal to the other pages in the section. There’s The Casting Call, Black Mask & Pale Rider: The Series, Lyssa’s Tale and The Hard Road each in its own section now.
I hope this makes the section a bit easier to navigate and find things. Other sections may be made in the future, as I am thinking of putting up a detailed area of the world of Terra-Kal.
Clarissa sent me a finished product of Clock from the Skyhawks. The expert navigator and timepiece aficionado is captured in a gear frame together with her very own Pixie Clanker.
Today’s entry for the upcoming Flight of the Skyhawks will take a decidedly darker turn.
Meet the antagonists of the upcoming series. Or are they really? Thradra and Threna N’Tir, twin sisters and deadly assassins. Mysterian Elves are often thought to have dark secrets, and that goes to more than just the midnight tones of their skin. In the case of Thradra and Threna, their secret isn’t so much a secret, but a legend that enters the realm of near myth.
When parents wish to ensure the behaviour of their children improves, they will tell the stories of Thradra and Threna. Thradra, the first born of the twins, is a master of the katana, and deadly practitioner of the dark arts. She is able to raise the dead (not back to the land of the living, mind you, but as mindless thralls to do her bidding for a short period of time), drain life from her victims and create undead servants when she needs. Threna is an archer, and one that is deadly acurate. The legend says she never misses her mark. Adding to that is the power Threna controls over natural magic, especially the chaotic side of nature.
Many of the stories of Thradra and Threna do not speak of their intimidating attitude, mostly because the vast majority of those who meet the twins usually end up dead. The twins share a telepathic link and will often converse with each other that way. They can also read surface thoughts of anyone around them. When they speak, actually speak, to others, they speak in rhyme. This only adds to the rather unsettling nature about them.
Both dress exactly the same, in black leather armour with black metal bracers and grieves. The only real difference between them is their weapons. They always are shrouded in a black cloak with intricate purple designs. It’s often said this cloak contains the magic that allows them to become the form of mist that they often will become when stalking prey. The only indication that they are nearby is two pairs of blood red orbs that would be their eyes.
Today’s entry will take a look at more of a group within the Skyhawks, and that is the Pixie Clankers.
Terra-Kal is a world of magic and fey folk and elves, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that there is pixies. In the case of the pixie clankers, they are a different kind of pixie. While not so much born of different stock, they actually became a part of the group that is the Skyhawks. For example, in the case of one of the Pixies, Rosemary, she was Ratchet’s pixie while Ratchet was enrolled at the Arcanum Bridge Mage Academy. Rosemary stayed with Ratchet when she left the school.
Each of the clankers became incredibly interested in the strange inventions. At first, they seemed to get in the way, but after a while many of the inventors and craftsmen realized the pixies could do things they could not; such as handle smaller objects and tiny details in the wondrous machinations. The pixies even make very quick fixes to the Skyhawks’ flying machines while in flight. So they have proven that they are indeed invaluable.
The pixie clankers have even taken to dressing like their elven comrades, as they wear tiny aviator jackets, aviator helmets and goggles. In a couple of cases, such as Rosemary, the pixies have tiny flintlocks. While not so much deadly when it comes to combat, they will act as a diversion.
In some cases, the pixie clankers have acquired the same devil may care attitude and ego that the elven pilots have taken. Often, the clankers will look down upon other pixies, due to their new station in life. Such is the case when they first meet Verit.
Verit is a very young pixie. For the most part, she was a message runner in the halls of the Mage Academy. Until the mages realized that the weave had a new practitioner. They sensed that Pania Alow had grown in her power, and transcribed a letter, which they gave to Verit to deliver to Pania.
Since then, Verit has stayed with Pania, and prepares to act as the sorceress’ faithful companion and familiar. Duties which include gathering components for spell making, organizing of scrolls and magical tomes, and other various arcane duties. Except, Verit seems to have gotten the short end of the stick. Pania would rather brandish her rapier and jump in as a swashbuckler than cast a fireball or magically create a shield around herself. So, for the time being, Verit waits, napping from time to time in Pania’s breast pocket of the bolero jacket she wears. When not resting, Verit takes to counting bullets, cleaning Pania’s rapier, and hoping that something more exciting than that will happen to her.
Until she meets the Pixie Clankers.
Forge and Anvil are the ground crew of the Skyhawks. Originally from the Nation of Nordicia, Forge and Anvil are a married couple, Jarl and Mari Fleugaard, that were at one time master weapon makes for the high chieftain of the Nordician Elves. They had their position as weapon makers for decades, announcing their retirement to pursue a life of exploration and adventure together.
Like all Nordician Elves, Forge and Anvil are taller than the other elves in the Skyhawks, and much more muscular. Also, like other Nordician Elves, they have very fair features, with dirty blond hair and light skin tones. They grow their hair long, tying it back into braids to keep it out of their eyes.
Together, they fashion the parts needed to make up the flying machines of the Skyhawks. They also act as the paternal figures for the much younger elves that make up the pilots. Still, they hold some respect for the others because it takes either a brave individual or someone with less than half their wits to climb into the cockpit of a machine constructed of wood and steel.
They have also proven to be resourceful with their own creations, having crafted a horseless carriage and portable cannons. Often when the Skyhawks will go into battle, Forge and Anvil aren’t far behind, using their blunderbuss and battleaxes in a ground assault.
Tomorrow, the Pixie Clankers, and Pania’s own pixie, Verit.
Today, it’s time to introduce Piston, the minstrel of the Skyhawks.
Felix Stern was always musically inclined. He learned at a young age how to play the guitar and it was always a dream of his to attend the Brockton Academy of the Arts. That dream was cut short when he met Thomas Til’Avan. Felix became intrigued with the inventions of Thomas’ and began his own experiments with musical instruments. To date, he has successfully created a steam powered guitar.
Felix has that rather fine charm that many of the musicians, scribes and bards have on Terra-Kal. Handsome in a way that just a mere smile would make most women swoon. With a cock sure smirk and a magnificent way with words, he has become the vocal spokesman for the crew of the Skyhawks. He truly is the complete swashbuckler, proud of his skill with a rapier, he never uses the flintlocks or crossbows that the other members of the Skyhawks use. When confronted in a tense situation, it is usually he that comes to the forefront. He knows his mates with the Skyhawks very well, and defends them quite ferociously. They have not only become his friends, but his family.
No one really knows how or when he took the nickname Piston, or where he got it from. But the rest of the Skyhawks don’t see that as an important point. Piston is a member of the Skyhawks, an excellent pilot and fighter, and that’s all that matters.
Tomorrow, the ground crew, Forge and Anvil, will be introduced.
Today, introductions are given for Clock, the Skyhawks’ navigator.
Mary Twillene is a bashful young elf. She has always felt less than perfect, with her frumpy look and rather plain appearance. She never stood out in a crowd, and was never one to attract attention in a room. Mostly because she had her nose in some book. Most often, those books included the instructions on the inner workings of time pieces, or the study of cartography.
Her nickname came from her interests in clocks, as for many years she could be found taking apart different time pieces just to see what made them tick, and often improving upon them. Her own home is filled with different types of clocks, some working, some in pieces on a work bench. The only thing that she owns more of are books, and most of those books are detailed descriptions of the lands of Brytilona and as far away as the nation of Nordicia across the Sea of Seven Bridges.
To say she jumped at the chance to become a pilot is a bit of a stretch. The Skyhawks, in particular Ratchet, approached her. Even with her new found friends, she still retained her shy, quiet demeanor. Perhaps it is this behaviour that causes her to completely miss Spyglass’s rare flirtations.
Even though she sometimes flirts with him back. To the outside observer, there is some comedy in watching two people who care so deeply for each other, completely missing the mark believing that neither one really shares in such fancies.
Stay tuned, later introductions will be made for the final pilot, Piston.
Today’s entry details the character of Spyglass, the inventive engineer of the Skyhawks.
To say that Spyglass, or Oliver Crimsmore O’Ryley (really, who gives their kid the embarrassing name of Crimsmore), is the creative genius behind the Skyhawks. While Spyglass doesn’t manufacture the parts needed to operate the marvelous flying machines that make up the vehicles of the Skyhawk squad (that’s left to Forge and Anvil), he is adept at quick fixes. His signature name comes from the ornate goggles he wears which have interchangeable lenses. Able to change a lens to increase magnification on his work at hand, he can kludge together any quick fix, even in mid flight. Currently, he is working on an adhesive strip that will temporarily keep metal parts together until they can be properly repaired. He calls it Spyglass’s Wondrously Steadfast Adhesive (I think it should just be called duct tape, to be honest).
A quiet individual, Spyglass is more in his element fixing his machinations. He is definitely out of his element in social settings, although he speaks freely with the helpful Pixie Clankers that have allied themselves with the Skyhawks. It was at his suggestion that the Pixie Clankers could help fix very tiny objects for repair. The Pixie Clankers look to Spyglass with adoration, as he is quite protective of them, always making sure that they are never sent into danger willingly.
Even though Spyglass is shy in social settings and quite awkward, with his thin frame and haphazard hair, this has not stopped him from being rather smitten with another member of the Skyhawks, Clock. If only he could actually show his own affections, as he believes that Clock would never return those to him.
Tomorrow the cartographer and navigator, Clock get’s her time in the spot light.
Today we take a look at the second in command of the Skyhawks; Hammer.
Hammer is an interesting elf, considering he came from the depths of the druidic home of the Garden. Raised to respect nature and all living creatures, it’s odd how he’d turn his attention to the fantastic machinations of the industrial revolution. Hammer, or Cole Wylder as is his given name, was intrigued with the Water Transportation and Purification project of Thomas Til’Avan’s. He saw it as a way to help the farmer’s in the outlying towns and villages that surrounded Stonebridge.
Hammer then saw the plans for the airships. He was automatically hooked.
Hammer is the type of individual who craves excitement and adventure, and is easily excited by new and incredible things. He immediately fell in love with the glider scouts that Til’Avan had planned and built, and trained to fly them, mastering the small airship easily. His love of the sky is shown quite well as he almost always seems to have his head in the clouds.
Until he meets a lady that catches his attentions. In such cases he’ll often become smitten with the lady and try, in an awkward fashion, to win her heart. Which becomes even more awkward when he meets Pania Alow. Even with each failed attempt, Hammer continues to try.
While not very adept with a melee weapon, he is an expert shot with a crossbow, and has even gone so far as to craft a repeater crossbow that fires ten bolts in a minute. All steam powered, naturally. While combat is not Hammer’s specialty, he is an expert scout, and often goes out on reconnaissance missions.
Tomorrow, the genius inventor, Spyglass is up front.
To add to the promo of the next series in Black Mask & Pale Rider, I’ll intro a few of the new characters seen.
Ratchet, who’s real name is Gwendeline Malory, joined the clankers after dropping out of the Arcanum Bridge Mage Academy. Believed to be an adept wizardess, her sudden departure took many by surprise. Some say it was due to her rocky relationship with the son of the Grand Druid, Waien Argith. Waien himself was asked to leave the school months before Gwen dropped out, due to his argumentative attitude. The move was hoped to help Gwen, but it only became more of a distraction.
In time, she forgot about Waien and moved to Dawn’s Bridge in the north east of Brytilona. Her own attitude was cocky to be sure, which managed to land her in good with the grand clanker, Thomas Til’Avan. Finding an interest in the machinations that Til’Avan created, in particular the models of the grand flying machines, she soon helped perfect the vehicles, and earned the title of captain of the Skyhawks.
She would hand pick the next four pilots as Til’Avan brought in a ground crew for this new air corps. Combined with the Pixie Clankers, this new group would be a force to be reckoned with.
If they could get past they’re egos first.
Ratchet is adept with a rapier in battle, but she wears a pair of flintlocks in close combat. Her glider is a small machine, with steam powered engine and a cockpit for her own pixie. Always wearing a captain’s aviator jacket and goggles, she went even wilder with something to reflect her odd attitude; she dyed her hair pink, leaving shocks of grey and black visible. The new attire seemed to bring out her new nature, as the robes of a mage seemed to keep her quiet and soft spoken, while the sudden change into the aviator boots, slacks and jacket brought out a rebellious and boisterous nature.
Cock sure, she is still incredibly loyal to her crew, caring for them as a mother would, in a way. But her superior demeanor as being the best would bring her to lock horns with the world’s fastest gunslinger, Shani Wennemein.
Tomorrow, I’ll introduce everyone to Hammer, second in command of the Skyhawks.
Here is the official announcement. The next Black Mask and Pale Rider series will be going live the first Wednesday in June. And now, here’s the promo piece. Click for a larger view.
BONUS: This is where you, the reader, get to be involved. Give me suggestions for names of wonderous machinations. Each post I’ll use another devise suggested by a reader and give credit at the end of the posted piece.
Until the high flying adventures begin…
…keep ‘em flyin’!