WORDCOUNT: 969 words
RUNNING TOTAL: 969
In the beginning there was nothing. Well, mostly nothing. Just an idea of an Author and idea of a Fictive and lots and lots of empty space.
“So what are we writing about?” The Author was just a voice in the blank whiteness of the empty pages.
“Honestly?” The Fictive answered, “I have no idea, heck, I don’t even have a solid form yet. Besides, isn’t that sort of your job?”
There was a long pause as the Author tried to think of something to write for the next ninety days. Ninety days was a long time for a fictive, much less a story…
“So what are you in the mood to read?” The Fictive-that-wasn’t prodded. “That tends to end up being what you write, in all fairness.”
“I dunno, I like the whole real-world fantasy shtick, but it seems, I dunno, overdone?”
“There are worse things than being overdone. Besides, no one said this has to be a publishable story. Practice makes perfect and all that.”
“Yeah, but I’d like to end up with a rough draft that’s actually useful.”
“Define useful. useful as in ‘I can make a good book out of this’ or useful as in ‘I learned things from this project that I can take to the next project’?”
There was a pause as the Author thought it over. “Both?”
“Can’t hurt to dream, I guess. So, where are we going?”
“I don’t want generic fantasy, am sort of burned out on second worlds at the moment. But I’m fond of the ‘alien culture’ trope, so I dunno.”
“Science fiction then?”
“Eh, would be writing too fast for any real non-fantasy framework to be built. I think.”
“So write the first draft soft and the second draft harder. The story can depending on the tech and the tech can be made to match the story. It’s a give and take most of the time.”
“You could always just play around with Blackguards, there’s plenty of alien space to play in on the ships.”
“I dunno if I really want to spend a whole book in Blackguards though, it was more of a short story, flashfic verse.”
“That doesn’t leave me a lot to work with then, unless you want to try and expand Rabbit‘s world. That would just turn into a National Geographic, although it would be amusing.”
“The story of a First eh? Won’t that sort of devolve as they adapt to the culture though?”
“Not necessarily, after all, not everything alien is that alien. You could have something closer to the comment fic from a while back.” There was another pause. “Which I can’t seem to find, damn you lack of LJ search features!” The fictive glared at the interface in annoyance.
“I think trying to base a story on the linguistic and sociological skills I don’t have would be an effort in futility.”
“So go with something less drastic, maybe hit the Listener’s ‘verse again? There’s a lot of room to play there, plus it’s relatively morbid… and that seems to be your theme nowadays.”
“I’m not morbid. Much.”
“Hah, that worked though, I’m starting to actually look like something.” The fictive was slender, but not overly tall, built with a wiry strength honed through years of fieldwork. She had long black hair and muted hazel eyes with hints of green. “Hmmm, black hair, eh? Let’s see, put that up in a bun, out of the way, I’d be tempted to tuck it in place with bits of bone, but that seems overly dramatic.”
“Just a tad.”
She was dressed in traveling clothes, well-worn boots and sturdy outerwear. She wore three bones around her neck, visual confirmation of her Listener status. As with most Listeners, she traveled alone and thus carried everything with her she needed on her travels between the scattered towns and villages.
“Mmm, three bones eh? I can work with three. Will have to see who they are later though.” The fictive ran slender fingers down the braided leather necklace. “Actually, I think I’d rather have them as bracelets.” With a deft twist of unreality she rewound them into a smaller form, shrinking the bones to simple slivers. “Slightly less horrifying this way.”
“It’s not horrifying.”
“Sorry, but carrying human bones around is pretty disturbing, even ignoring the fact that there are ghosts bound to them.” The Fictive added decorative blue and green stones to the bracelet, tiny glints of color to offset the creamy ivory of the bones.
“They aren’t bound, they’re just, anchors sort of. They aren’t stuck in the bones, they are just limited in their sphere of influence over the world.”
“Which means slivers get me less of a ghost than a whole tailbone.” She eyed the bracelet thoughtfully, turning it on her wrist. The tanned leather was only a shade or two darker than skin that had seen a lifetime of sun. Her forearm was littered with faded and fading scars from brambles, beaks and baby khail claws. She was wearing a softer cotton shirt with sleeves that ended half-way down her forearms, layered with a thicker burlap and leather jacket. The jacket was as well-worn as her skin and bore several badges from the various towns and trades. The brown and white animal husbandry badge was the oldest, ringed with the towns in which she had license to practice, and the Listener’s seal was the newest, still rather worn with age and weather.
“Slivers aren’t as powerful, but it’s more the strength of the spirit than the strength of the bone. Plus I think we can work that out as we go, yeah?”
“Yeah.” Nahyl let go of the bracelet, stretched a bit to loosen muscles for the walk ahead, then shoulder her travel pack and stepped into the story…