Saturday, September 17, 2016

Milestones,

Milestones in writing vary depending upon how far out you set them.  Set them too close and they become irrelevant.  Set them too far apart and you never see them. When doing the actual writing you can set a word count and the major milestones like 25K, 50K, 75K and such are easy to see and hit with them and effort.  When editing or revising the book it becomes much more difficult.  You could set one for revising 2 chapters a day or more and it helps but still lacks the triumphant feeling.  At least for me, so I set my milestone to be completing the first revision and edit of the book.

Today I finished that and have a book with hopefully much better spelling, grammer, and structure.  While reviewing the suggested edits and making a few of my own I got to reintroduce myself to the story.  The next step is to get some people to read it and see what feedback they can give upon it.  While I await volunteers and their feedback I will start working on book 2 which the working title is "Cannot Stop the Rain."  If you want a copy to peruse let me know and I can send out a copy.

Until then, keep flying.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cannot Tame the Wind Chapter 1

Eletheria flew through the great blue sea of the sky, only a few tiny white fluffy islands sharing the sky with her. At least, that is the image she was trying to convince herself while she stood at the controls of the airship looking out the floor-to-ceiling window in front of her. After years of training and preparation, she was actually flying. A shiver of joy coursed through her as she held onto a copper-plated yoke in each hand. The front of the ship was designed to provide a large viewing area to the pilot and the various command staff stationed within the forecastle room. For a moment, she tried to ignore the people standing behind her talking, the wooden support between the panes of glass in front of her, the creaking of the airship as it pulsed with power. 

It was still beautiful up here as she could see the coastline of somewhere down below, the open sky above, and the lack of clouds. While she knew the lack of clouds was good, her imagination about flying always involved speeding through clouds and seeing them whisk by. The wind pushing the sails while Ele helped maintain their elevation over the downslope. The feeling of freedom, flying through the air, zipping through the clouds, all of these took a hold of her heart and she knew this was not something she would ever give up. If she tried really hard, she could almost believe she was flying through the sky without the ship. If there were more clouds, at least the illusion would be a little easier. The lack of nearby clouds to provide perspective as they flew by made the self-delusion difficult to maintain.

“Sir, there is a balloon on the horizon,” a voice behind Ele said from across the room. The voice wasn’t talking to her but it had already started a little worm of disappointment that was digging into her heart. “I hope it isn’t the pirate Bonnie.” The voice whispered just loud enough that everyone at the navigation table could hear it, and Ele. She turned her head to look around for the Windmaster Erus. She knew Erus would be wanting to take control of the airship back.

“Eyes forward, Ele.” The deep calm voice of Windmaster Sal Erus came from behind her. Ele immediately looked forward to watch the horizon hoping to see the other airship someone else had spotted. Seeing nothing except clouds and blue sky, she focused on the feeling of someone standing behind her. There was a sound of a clip securing to a harness and then she felt large hands covering hers. 

“Ele, I need you to let go of the power first with your right hand when I say 3. Nod if you understand,” Sal’s voice said. Ele nodded her head and then heard, “1, 2, 3.” When she heard three she dropped the power in her right hand. There was a shift in the ship’s movement but it was slight. Perhaps now I need to drop the other hand so I can move out of his way was Ele’s thought as she couldn’t remember proper trade-off procedure. She dropped her power in the left hand and the ship lurched much more this time. For a brief moment, Ele and everyone else on the ship felt it start to descend. After a second it regained stability when Sal took over power and control. 

“You released too soon, next time wait for the second count of three.” Sal told her in that ever-encouraging tone that he had. 

“Sorry, I thought I needed to…” Ele started to explain as she turned to look at Sal. His soft brown eyes that matched the color of his skin looked back at her. Ele’s face came up to the top of his chest. He was wearing the harness most pilots wear when they are expecting turbulence. The harness looked like a leather jacket that was tightly strapped to the pilot and had two ropes attached to the back. One going to the ceiling and the other to the floor. “Would we have crashed?” Ele quickly followed up, worried that she had almost destroyed the first ship she was allowed to fly.

“No, it takes more than your ability to keep the ship in the air. There is a backup but they aren’t as powerful as you or I,” Sal replied and motioned with his head for her to move out of his way. Ele took a small step to the left but stayed looking out the window. “Now I need you to go to your cabin and stay there. This may get bumpy and your parents would kill me if I allowed you to get hurt.” 

“Wait, are we going to be attacked?” Ele asked suddenly, worried there was going to be a fight. She looked towards Sal and then back out the window. She couldn’t see anything on the horizon, though she did not have a spyglass or anything to help her vision.

“Probably just a merchant, nothing to worry about,” Sal replied, watching out the front window, looking incredibly focused.

“If there is no danger then why do I…?” Ele started to ask looking back at Sal.

“One of the things you must learn is that you obey your superiors,” Sal interrupted. His tone much more serious and one of the few times Ele had every heard it lose its softness. Ele shrank back a little from a glare she knew was there but luckily she was behind him so didn’t suffer the full effect. She backed away towards the door towards the deck.

“Yes, Windmaster Erus, thank you for allowing me to see a Windmaster in action. Your will be done.” Ele said as sarcastically as she could and even threw a swift salute with her right fist with the knuckles outward to her chest. The thump was both loud and hard enough she almost gasped but kept silent. While Sal wasn’t facing her she was certain he had at least heard the salute. Turning around she saw there were several people in the room and her childish act was witnessed probably by half the command staff. She quickly left the room through the double doors that lead to the deck before Sal could reply or apologize for his harsh tone. 

Ele, though tempted, did not slam the door while exiting the command room. She wasn’t angry with the ship, just the way that Sal Erus and others treated her. With a pause outside of the door she closed her eyes for a moment realizing the irony in that thought. Such quips and mocking ones superiors will not help her achieve Windmistress. A brief thought of going back in there and apologizing came to mind. Though now was probably a bad time as he would be focused on steering the ship away from the other vessel. Since the spotter called it a balloon it meant it was flying without the use of Quantitas. The airship Vol Mortem used quantitas or quan to provide lift, requiring a Windmaster at the helm. 

Her room was with the other guest quarters on the aft side of the deck. She glanced across the deck which was busy with people running around seemingly in chaos, the riggers in the sails securing ropes and sailors on the deck tightening things down. Ele started heading towards the door to the cabins. When she had reached the fore-mast the ship slowly started to turn starboard. Without a tether Ele could not be on the deck if the ship took evasive maneuvers. She hurried towards the aft cabins and was a few steps from the main-mast in the corner of her eye she caught the image of something in the air. With a sudden stop she turned and looked towards the dark shape in the sky above them. It had approached them from the aft side and because it didn’t use quan to provide lift it had come in high above them. It’s angle also explained why she couldn’t see it from the command room. Someone up in crow’s nest probably saw it and reported it.

Several times in the past Ele had seen drawings or at least crude representations of the G’Aequor airships. Rarely did they dock in Ascalon so she never got the chance to see them. Balloon was an apt name for them, the large canvas structure that hovered above the actual ship looked like an elongated kris fruit. She briefly thought about how heavy the long and the spherical fruit is. Even though it seemed far away it looked huge, possibly three times as long as the Vol Mortem. Beneath the giant balloon hung a ship that was not unlike hers and about the same size too. But instead of two pontoons on each side for stability it was a single shape, as if someone took a seafaring vessel and attached the large balloon and filled it with a lighter-than-air gas. 

Vol Mortem shifted a little as it angled downwards. Ele thought Sal must be trying to run from them or at least get closer to land. Since they had only announced the ship a little bit ago they were not taking a steep dive to give people time to anchor themselves to their post. Along the masts and near the railing there are hooks to connect tethers to. A tether and suitable harness were things Ele currently did not have. Even though the other ship was a good distance away she could see the ropes that connected the ship to the balloon above it. A little puff white cloud and a small flash of light appeared towards the front of the other ship. A few other puffs followed along the side of the ship. Something nagged in the back of Ele’s mind as she watched eight total puffs of white smoke appear on the other ship.

A second later, Ele realized they were being fired upon. She dropped to the deck as fast as she could. A second later the shots whizzed by. Only 1 hit the ship, tearing a hole in a sail. A second later the cracks of the cannons followed, filling the air like the rumblings of an angry god. She quickly got to her feet and immediately fell back down as the ship dove to avoid the second volley. She reached to grab a rope but it moved away as the ship turned portside and dove. As the ship dived she rolled and slid across the deck. THUMP! was the sound her shoulder made as she hit the rail. Both arms wrapped around the rail as she held on tight. A few seconds later and the pain in her shoulder was growing into a burn. Still she held on even going so far as to entwine her legs around a rope that was tied to something.

The Vol Mortem started leveling out after diving for a few seconds. Ele loosened her injured arm’s grip on the railing and tried to pull herself up. She was able to stand but between the ship leveling out or her movements her foot was caught in the rope. Bending down to loosen the knot that had developed she couldn’t complete the task with her injured arm. There was just too much pain when she tried moving her shoulder. Without knowing where the rope went she knew she had to free her foot. Kneeling down she let go of the railing with her good hand and started loosing the twisted loop of cord holding her foot. 

“LOOK OUT!” a shout went out from across the deck. With her foot free, Ele looked up and saw a young sailor looking in her direction and pointing upwards. Instinctively Ele reached to the railing with her hands and was grasping onto it as more cannonballs hit. The whizzing sound of the ball drowned out anything else the young man was trying to yell at her.

Things happened too fast for Ele to register everything. The deck where she clung on shook and suddenly she felt the railing pull away from the ship. The wood where one of the shots hit exploded, throwing chunks of wood and splinters all around. The sound of the cannons being fired upon Vol Mortem filled her ears, then was quickly replaced by the sound of the cannons aboard her ship. The deafening blasts shook her and interrupted her thoughts as the railing she was holding onto started falling away from the deck of the ship. She was almost completely off the deck when she freed her arms from the rail she had previously clung to. With a push against it she was able to slide a little further back upon the ship. She got into a kneeling position on the edge of the ship, trying to move away from the open hole that emptied out into the sea far, far below her. 

Ele was able to turn herself around and get far enough on the deck to not have to worry about falling off into the abyss. She also started working her way towards the remaining railing when she saw someone in the corner of her eye waving their hands. She couldn’t hear what they were trying to say, it was the young man again trying to warn her of something. A sudden jerk of her leg caught her by surprise as a rope that must have been secured to the part that fell off the deck. While the coil was not wrapped around any part of her, her knee and leg were resting on it as she crawled towards the rail still on the ship. The sudden jerk took her legs out from under her, causing her head to hit the deck. 


WHUMP! Ele’s forehead hit the deck with enough force to cause her to see stars. The rope kept falling off the deck and now a portion of her weight was resting upon it and it pulled her along. Dazed she reached with her hands for anything to grab onto but moved too slowly. She looked across the deck at the sailor who tried to warn her and their eyes briefly met as she was pulled into the abyss.

Cannot Tame the Wind Chapter 2

Acanthio, or Thio as he liked to be called, was tethered to the port side of the ship when he saw Eletheria slide and tumble over to the other side of the ship when it dived. He recognized the white puffs of smoke from the other ship as cannon fire and tried to shout out a warning. About the same time that she dropped to the deck he also dropped down. He stayed down while the Vol Mortem moved to try and avoid incoming projectiles. When the cannonball hit the side of the ship near Eletheria, he grew worried. Splinters or bits of wood being hurled after a hit often killed as many as the ball did.

As soon as Thio saw Eletheria being dragged off the ship, he unclipped his tether and started running towards her. He had made it two steps when she disappeared over the edge. Her eyes looked a little out of focus. He wondered how hard she hit the deck. He did not slow his movement as the ship turned and dipped while trying to maneuver into a good firing position for its cannons. With no time to spare, he quickly grabbed a couple of packs that were kept near each mast. Once he had them both in his hands he started running towards the side of the ship where Eletheria was dragged overboard. The place where the railing used to be was now a jagged scar marked by broken bits of wood. A quick glance verified she wasn’t hanging on either of the support arms that connected the weapon pontoons to the main ship. Even though they were somewhat far away, Thio had hoped she hadn’t fallen completely. Two more previous seconds wasted as he looked for her dark skin against the painted black hull of the Vol Mortem. Looking downwards there is a little speck of brown below. Without thinking further, Thio dove off the edge of the airship.

For a brief moment, terror filled Thio. While he had practiced jumping from an airship, this was his first try. At first, fear filled him but he was able to gain control of it as he started falling. It seemed though with each second passing he was picking up speed. The air went from a breeze to roar as he fell. The wind also made every movement a struggle as he worked to secured a pack to himself. Tumbling through the air, Thio realized he should have put the parachute pack on before jumping. Once the pack was secure and the belt bucked across his chest he held the other one tightly against his chest. Then, as every airship sailor is taught, he held himself straight as a board. As he picked up speed he smiled and used one hand to pull his goggles over his eyes. He had remembered his training well and hoped he would be able to catch Eletheria as Windmistresses, even the ones in training, were too valuable to lose. Especially one as pretty as her, he thought with a smile.

He gripped the leather pack as close to his chest as he could. Memories of the third mate from the Rattling Can instructing him how to save an overboard crew member or how to exit a no-longer-flying ship came back to him.

“Make yourself like an arrow, use your feet to steer where you want to go. Remember, you only have to the count of 20 before you open your chute. If you do not have the crew member by then, leave them. Better to lose one than to lose two.” The third mate always treated the cabin boys nicely and in some ways Thio did miss the Rattling Can. He shook his head as he focused back on falling towards Eletheria. The count of 20, he forgot to start. Although, they were higher up than usual; would a count of 30 work as well? The sea below was still pretty far away so he started his count now and hoped it would be enough. Eletheria was still a small speck below him; the only way he could tell it was her was her hair flying all around as she tumbled towards the sea.


The wind roaring in his ears and his focus on what was below made the combat above him disappear from his senses. It was due to this tunnel vision that he was extremely surprised when he was hit by an object falling from above. His first thought and worry about a piece of debris that hit him and could possibly hit Eletheria, so he twisted around to locate the object. Thio started to twist but something had grabbed onto a belt of his and swung him around. The momentum of him being hit and swung around by his belt made him feel a bit queasy. A fist hit him in the stomach; both the force of the fist and momentum of his swing made him loose what little lunch he had. Bits of it went on the shoulder of the sailor in black. The act of continuously falling removed any evidence but the sailor in black kept Thio at arms length now.

“Give me the pack!” the sailor in black yelled at Thio as they tumbled in the air, his statement barely louder than the roar of the wind. The sailor started to say more but his next punch to Thio’s head made him lose consciousness for a moment. When his arms went limp ,the sailor grabbed the pack Thio was holding onto and left him the one that he was wearing. With a pack in hand the sailor hit the limp Thio in the face before letting go. The punch and the Thio not being in control of his descent allowed the sailor to quickly put some distance between them as he secured the pack to himself.

Thio wasn’t sure how long he had been unconscious. From his altitude, it could not have been long. A quick glance around and Thio saw Eletheria still below him tumbling in the air and above him and to the left a good distance away was the guy who attacked him. The sailor in black was now far away, securing the pack to himself leaving Thio alone. In the back of his mind, Thio was happy the sailor didn’t take both but understood why he only took one. Every airship crew member fears the day they either forced off the ship or their ship goes down. The long death it is called because the fall from such heights gives you plenty of time to face death. There are multiple stories of corpses falling to the ground due to sailors killing themselves instead of facing the long death.

Thio re-focused back on trying to rescue Eletheria. He angled himself and speed up. This time, though, he learned his lesson so he would occasionally look up to verify no one was attempting to take his last pack. Also, he could see some explosions up above as both ships were now within point blank range and firing upon each other. Part of him really wanted to watch the battle as from this angle they appeared as little model ships moving around to deny a shot to the other. The Vol Mortem, its lack of a balloon gave it better maneuverability. As it moved around placing itself in the blind spots for the other ships cannons.

Out of the corner of his vision, Thio detected movement. A black shape was moving towards him but it wasn’t at the right angle. As it got closer, he realized it was the sailor from earlier except this time he had some wooden wings attached to his back. Thio cursed silently and checked the stitching on his pack and then cursed again, but the wind covered up his obscenity. The sailor’s angle wouldn’t allow him to intercept Thio. The big issue was the pack was not a parachute as he thought, it was a glider pack. The glider packs required quan to be powered. With new resolve, he tried making himself even more like an arrow and ignored everything above him. He had to get to Eletheria or he will die as well because he did not have the power.

At a count of twenty Thio reached Eletheria. Actually he ran into her pretty hard, as he wasn’t able to slow down enough before he got to her. The initial impact of them colliding was him flying into her foot. Thio expected to hear something from her but was met with silence. When he saw her face as she tumbled he was able to see her eyes were closed as if sleeping. A pain in his shoulder rendered a curse from him that thankfully the wind covered up. Since he was moving so fast, he actually flew below her by a the length of the deck of the ship. Once he was able to overcome the pain he was able to and slow down. As he slowed Eletheria’s tumbling form came within arms reach. He reached a hand out to grab her jacket but missed. A second try with her closer and at a different angle he was able to grasp a pouch she had secured to her thigh. Briefly they both tumbled through the air until he was able to gain control. He held her body close to his with one hand and used his other hand to feel and see if there was a heartbeat or any indicators of life in her.

A faint heartbeat assured him but he needed to wake her up. Checking her for wounds he only found the blood from her nose from when her face met the deck of the Vol Mortem suddenly. A gentle shake turned into a much more vigorous shake. At least the most he could do while they were falling. Resorting to the last possible method he started gently slapping her face. When little slaps didn’t work he started to escalate them hoping one will wake her up.

In the back of Thio’s mind a voice counted, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44. As it increased his desperation grew. His slaps got harder and at one point he slapped her with everything he could muster. Angling his arm back for another swing he saw her eye lids flutter a little as she appeared to be waking up. Forty-eight, forty-nine, Fifty, Fifty One, the count continued still in his mind. Thio mused a little that the voice he heard was the third mate from the Rattling Can. His musing and motion to slap her stopped completely as her eyes widened and he could see her waking up to reality.

Eletheria put her hands to her face as if to protect from another slap. Her brow furled and she stared at Thio. A poorly attempted kick from her was nullified by the fact they were both falling and when Thio felt her foot pull back he held her at arms length to prevent the kick from doing any real damage. The hair on Thio’s arm started to raise a little and he saw her hands reaching for him. He quickly grabbed her hands and restrained them so she could not touch him.

“GLIDER! You need to use the GLIDER!” Thio yelled, hoping she would hear him over the roar of the wind. Eletheria looked a little confused and like she wasn’t going to try and kill him. He let one hand go and reached around on the pack to pull out an arm that swung around from the back to the front. Then with his free hand he took her hand gently and released the other hand. This allowed him to grab the arm from the other side of the pack. With both of them extended and between them he then took her free hand with his.

Thio put her hands upon the control yokes for the glider pack, then pulled her close and wrapped his arms and legs around her. His face was to the side of her head as he yelled, “START THE GLIDER!” They still fell and he felt her struggle to free herself from his grasp. Though he was about the same height as her, she was still coming to consciousness so he held on with his arms and used his feet to change their descent angle. Now that she was facing the fast approaching sea he again yelled in her ear, “START THE GLIDER!”

Fifty Five, Fifty Six, Fifty Seven. The sudden jerk of their descent slowing as the wings extended from the pack would have tore the pack from Thio’s arms if he had not had it secured. It almost tore Eletheria from his arms but he had wrapped his legs around her waist. The push of a button had engaged the wings to split out from the pack. The canvas of the pack turned into the skin of the wings. Then with what Thio imagined a surge of quan the pack started to reverse it’s direction.

Glider packs were a device created by the G’Aeris, that allowed them to use their power to achieve flight. Thio wasn’t sure how it worked exactly, just that a few Windmasters could use the packs to rescue people, perform scouting missions, fly over to an opposing ship to start boarding, and many other things. What he now knew was if you engage one of the packs when falling there is a sudden feeling like your stomach will be ripped through whichever end of you is pointing downwards. Since the pack pulled upwards it left him on top looking downwards at the approaching sea. He breathed a sigh of relief that they were still over the sea, as a hard landing on ground could leave them crippled. Though he knew from tales that even the sea was like a rock if you fell far enough. Part of him wished Eletheria was wearing the pack he could see what they looked like.

Sixty, Sixty one, sixty two, sixty three. The voice still counted in his mind and he still wondered how accurate the count would be if he would have started counting from the beginning. The blue sea got closer and closer. Now he could see individual waves and even the occasionally flotsam. Sixty five, sixty six, even as he tried to concentrate on something else the voice continued in the back of his mind.

They were not falling as fast they were but their speed was still immense. Thio gritted his teeth and held on as the Eletheria used the pack to change their direction from vertical to something more horizontal. They were still aimed downwards, just not straight downwards. Every second the wings strained to their limits, creaking in protest for every inch Eletheria forced them to change. Thio’s limbs and stomach was also strained, he closed his eyes to focus on keeping ahold of Eletheria. Some point he heard some screaming as if someone was in extreme pain, he realized it was both him and Eletheria as she tried slowing them down. Sixty seven, sixty eight….

They hit the cold water fast and hard luckily the angle was almost parallel to the surface. The impact separated them as soon as they hit and skipped a few times across the surface. Thio came to rest in the water battered and tired but alive. He bobbed a little with the waves and looked around. He couldn’t see Eletheria so he dived under the waves to see if he could see anything under the water. Seeing no one he went back up for air.

“Eletheria!!” he yelled while looking all around hoping to catch a glimpse. A shiver ran through him as the water seeped into his clothing.

“Eletheria!!” he yelled again, this time he didn’t see her but felt something grab his foot. He ducked under the water and saw Eletheria trying to swim to the surface. He pulled her up and as soon as she broke the surface she gasped for breath several times. Up close he saw she was beautiful even with the faint red mark on the side of her face where he slapped her. There was even a brief indentation from where his ship ring had struck her. He decided to save the apology for later.

“Are you ok?” He asked while they bobbed in the sea.

“The ship?” She asked looking up in the sky. They were so far down though both ships would be small specks in the sky and almost impossible to see.

“We got attacked, you fell overboard,” he responded.

“Did you fall overboard too?” She asked, looking at him.

“Um, no. I jumped after you to rescue you,” he replied, his cheeks turning a little red.

“Why?” Eletheria asked, looking straight into his eyes.

“Well I couldn’t let you go for a swim alone,” Thio replied and splashed a little water. The awkward moment was avoided he hoped and they were both alive. He decided to count this as a win in his book. He removed the pack from himself and immediately regretted it. While most of the wings and the support for the wings were gone, the glider pack was made of a lot of wood so the sudden decrease of buoyancy dunked him under the water briefly.

With the pack floating now between both of them Thio was able to get a good look at it. There was two long poles wrapped in a reddish-orange wire on the left and right side of the pack. It made up part of its support and structure. The wires went into the side where they appeared to connect to the arms that one swung out for controlling it. The rest of the pack was devoted to holding the wooden and metal frame and tough canvas skin which covered the wings. From a guess Thio guessed the wingspan was about twice his height. Holding on to the pack he attempted to use it to lift himself up a little in order to see over the waves. The waves around them were high enough that he wasn’t able to see anything more than the waves. He tried to remember his training on how to signal the ship but was drawing a blank. Floating there holding on to the pack he looked at Eletheria and said, “I guess we wait?”

Cannot Tame the Wind Chapter 3

Eletheria’s hurt, arms, legs, face, and side hurt. The fall and skips across the water when they hit explained a good amount of her pains but she couldn’t understand why her face hurt. Though most of the fall was pretty blank as she had lost consciousness somewhere and still had no idea how she had fallen off the ship. She remembered the puffs of white smoke and a loud explosion but that was about it until she woke up falling and fearing this boy was trying to hurt her.

She thought back to when she was piloting the Vol Mortem. She couldn’t remember the map they had shown her before she took control. All she could remember was the feeling of flying in the clouds above the sea, the speeding coastline under her as she experienced no longer being constrained by the ground. Wait, the coastline she had seen. Which direction was it? The height of the waves prevented her from seeing any land.

Bobbing in the water holding a broken glider did not sound like a fun way to spend the day. Also they would just be small specks to anyone above looking for them. She wondered what they could do to improve their odds. Digging through the pack, it appeared its sole function was to work as a glider. There wasn’t even a water skin included within it. Anyone who was using such a device was meant to return to the ship before food and water became a concern.

“So you jumped after me?” Ele asked the young man floating next to her in the water. “Thank you.”

“You are a Windmistress,” Acanthio replied.

“What is your name?” Ele asked so she could at least refer to this young man by name.

“Acanthio, Windmistress,” he replied, “Though my friends call me Thio.” He bobbed a little as he tried to look her in the face as he said his name.

“Well, Acanthio, thank you again for saving me. Now any idea on how we can get the ship’s attention?” Ele asked while also carefully digging through the pack to make sure there was no pouch containing a flare gun or something to signal the Vol Mortem.

They both floated there holding onto the pack, trying to think of an answer to Ele’s question when a loud smash sounded near by them. They quickly turned and saw a large chunk of a ship’s hull bobbing in the water. They realized that there was still a battle going on above them. Acanthio broke the silence first.

“Perhaps, Windmistress, we should attempt to move away from under the battle?” he said while keeping an eye up above watching for falling debris.

“Yes, if we both get on one side of the pack we could hold on and kick to move it.” Ele saw a long cloud off on the horizon and pointed towards it. “Lets aim for that cloud so at least we won’t be going in circles.”

Together they kicked and held onto the pack to keep themselves out of the water, holding the pack lengthwise on at the top of the pack and other at the bottom. They both held on with one hand. Occasionally they would use their free hand to help steer and maintain a course towards the lone cloud. Ele tired out first and with only Acanthio pushing the pack started drifting in a circle. They repositioned with him in the middle to push the pack and her holding on a little off to the side. She would occasionally try to kick some to help, in the end she was only able to prevent the pack from going in another circle.

Soon even Acanthio tired out as well. The time between each kick of his legs grew. When they were both too tired to even attempt pushing the pack any further, they paused to rest. Both of them resumed their previous position on opposite sides and facing each other.

“I joined an airship crew because I hated the water,” Acanthio said suddenly. With one hand he hit the water as if attempting to punish it.

“I can agree with that,” Ele replied. “Do you think we have moved far enough away?”

“Hope so, can’t remember which direction the ships were traveling.”

“How about we rest a bit longer, then keep moving towards the cloud. I remember seeing a coastline. Once the sea calms we will be able to see which way to go.”

The next few minutes passed silently with both watching the sky for more falling debris. Nothing fell that they could see, Ele hoped the Vol Mortem was okay and the lack of debris helped but she didn’t want to delude herself. The other ship had attacked first, started the fight at a higher elevation from the Vol Mortem, and appeared to have more guns. With a sigh Ele, silently wished she was better at lying to herself.

A few minutes passed and Ele hadn’t seen any debris falling near where they were currently. There were a few more clouds now in the sky and the Vol Mortem could be anywhere. The sun bearing down upon them from above also made it difficult to look upwards. The silence continued as they paddled towards the cloud on the horizon.

“This isn’t fast enough,” Ele exclaimed in-between puffs of breath. While Thio wasn’t breathing as hard as she was, there was an obvious weariness growing as their little life raft moved slower and slower.

“I apologize, Windmistress. I am trying to push as fast as I can,” Thio replied with labored breaths.

“It is not your effort that is lacking, just the situation.” Ele replied, hoping Thio didn’t take insult at her comment. “You are pushing more than I am, it is just that swimming is not getting us anywhere fast enough. It also doesn’t cover the fact we do not know where we are going.”

“We could head back and hope to come across another glider pack.” Thio suggested after he paused. Then seeming to remember his manners he added, “Windmistress.”

“This glider would still work, wouldn’t it?” Ele replied and tried thinking about what she knew about the gliders. With the wings torn off it wouldn’t be able to maintain flight. At least a stable flight. All she received in reply from Thio was a shrug of his shoulders.

“The workings of the glider is unknown to me,” Thio said. “The parachute packs were the ones I was hoping to get. I just grabbed the wrong pack. My apologies, Windmistress.”

“You had two?” Ele pushed the pack down to raise herself up over the pack so she could look at Thio. “Where is the other…”

“It was taken from me by another sailor who caught me in the air. He overpowered me, Windmistress,” Thio replied and turned his head away as soon as the look of disappointment appeared on Ele’s face.

“I have an idea, though it may not work,” Ele said after a minute of silence.

“What can I do to assist, Windmistress?” Thio replied.

“First, stop calling me Windmistress. Call me Ele.” Ele was getting tired of Windmistress this, Windmistress that. “Second, I am going to attempt to activate the pack again. It will lift it up but hopefully we will see some coast.”

“Ok, Ele, what can I do to help?” Thio responded.

“I will put the pack on and need you go hold on tightly to me. Then once we are in the air keep an eye out for a coast or ship.” Ele informed Thio of her plan while trying to put the pack on. The sudden buoyancy on her back forced her to struggle to keep upright in the water. With Thio embracing her all of their weight was on the wrong and it was even more difficult to stay upright. A quick change of plan and moving the pack to Ele wearing the pack on her front and Thio embracing the back and holding tightly upon her. Ele thought about doing a countdown or something but changed her mind.

With her hands upon the control arms she powered the pack and felt it start to lift upwards. Due to the weight of Thio on one side of the pack it pulled towards him. The pack had some control built into it as there were two lift devices but they would help her steer to the left and right not forwards or backwards. Even then it took a moment for her to remember that since the pack was on backwards the controls were also reversed. Even with the pull in Thio’s direction Ele used the pack to lift them higher into the air. Soon they were high enough up that they could see above the waves. A little longer and they were high enough that a sudden fall could be lethal.

Maintaining that height was not difficult for Ele as it only used a fraction of her quan. Though continuous use would wear her out as she had not recovered from the time spent powering the Vol Mortem and the fall. They were able to see for miles around and it was Thio that saw the coastline. Beaches and trees lined a small portion of the horizon. Without wings they didn’t have much forward momentum and currently the only momentum was from Thio off balancing the glider in his direction. Without wings there wasn’t a way to use the wind to move them so Ele used the turn controllers to drop the left side a little and as Thio’s weight pulled them it slowly turned them in counter clockwise direction. Halfway through the turn Ele was able to also see the coastline. Once they were lined up with the coast behind Thio but in front of Ele she brought the left hand side to the same power level as the right. Soon they were drifting towards land. A cool sea breeze pushed against them while also drying them off.

“Yeah!” Thio exclaimed once they started going. “Can we go higher?”

“No, the glider may fail and we would fall,” Ele replied, wondering how far up they could go safely.

“At least we are moving and drying out. I was worried we would be sleeping in the sea tonight.”

“Once we get to land we can build a signal fire,” Ele hopefully replied.

“That may not be a great idea,” Thio started to say and when he saw the look upon Ele’s face he didn’t finish his sentence.

Ele knew they had to keep hope that the Vol Mortem survived the fight and would pick them up. It would be a couple of weeks travel over land if they had to walk back to Ascalon. They fling high enough to see some debris in the sea. There were quite a few bits of wood and cloth in one part indicating that one of the two ships did lose the battle. They just were unsure if the Vol Mortem was the loser.

The sudden thought about Sal floating in the sea worried Ele. Without thinking further upon it Ele turned towards the flotsam bundle in the sea and fly towards it. This new change in direction away from the coastline did not escape Thio’s notice.

“Wait, where are we going?” Thio shouted over the wind.

“I see something in the water,” Ele replied with a bit of hope in her voice and kept moving towards it.

“Is it the Vol Mortem?” Thio shouted back.

“I am not sure,” She responded a little less enthusiasm in her voice.

“Can I take a look?” Thio’s request was followed by a pause then Ele rotated them so Thio could look also. He was almost the same height has Ele so he wasn’t able to get a better look than her.

“Do you see anything?” Ele asked hoping he could spot anything that would calm her racing fears.

“No, we will have to get closer.” Thio replied but as soon as the word No left his mouth Ele was already turning them around so she could fly towards the debris.

“Maybe someone survived.” Ele exclaimed while wishing there was a way to build up some speed.

“Wait, if someone is down there they may not be friendly,” Thio quickly said in order to stop her from putting them both in danger.

“What if…” Ele started to say but Thio interrupted her.

“We cannot help if we are dead. We need to make sure there is no danger.” Thio stated and the truth of his words reflected upon Ele’s face and in her mind. She had come so close to dying if it wasn’t for the bravery of this man and she could have thrown it all away upon a small hope.

“Any idea, Thio, on how we can search for survivors of the Vol Mortem without endangering ourselves?” Ele asked after taking a minute to compose both herself and her thoughts.

A minute passed by as Ele assumed Thio was thinking about the solution. While she couldn’t hover in place she started to make a circle around the debris. With distance between them and the floating wreckage she started making a circuit. They were too far away to really see if there was someone floating in the water. At this distance the only way they would know if anyone had survived would be if Ele or Thio saw something move around. Another minute passed before Thio finally answered.

“My friends… and crew mates… might also be… down there,” Thio started to say his voice a little shaky, “However the ones who attacked us may also. While the battle for them is over I do not wish to grant them a second chance.” He then closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then opened his eyes. “I think we should move towards the coastline. We may also want to consider not setting a signal fire.”

Ele looked at Thio closely. After he opened his eyes she could see a bit of moisture around his eyes. She thought about the people who would attack without provocation and what it would take. The idea they would still try to fight even after their ship had lost scared her. Why fight a battle already lost? Thio’s words made sense and so she stopped making her little circuit around the debris and angled them towards the shore. When moving around the floating rubble she kept her distance and they made their way towards the shore. This time both of their eyes were rimmed with moisture.

Cannot Tame the Wind, Chapter 4

Acanthio was probably in the worse of the two positions as they flew towards land. While Eletheria got to look at what they were heading towards, he was faced towards the floating debris they decided to avoid. Occasionally there would be a hand waving from the water and he had to stop himself from suggesting they turn around. At least it looked like a hand, it could be a wave moving some wood around. When they were closer he couldn’t tell or see any identifying marks on what was floating. 

The flying was more like falling in little bursts. Ele would lift them up then lower them. With his extra weight on one side it pulled them a little forward. If she lifted them up higher it gave them more time to drift downwards and a little more momentum was built up. They had started with something much faster but the act of turning was even more difficult. Also Ele had expressed some concerns so they were reduced to little hops. Probably for the best, he had already filled today’s quota for falling from the sky.

It took them an hour to travel to the coastline. Over the course of last half hour Ele wasn’t lifting them as high as they were earlier. Thio could also feel her sweating even though the day was cool. It was becoming obvious to him that she was hitting the limits of her ability. At the end of the hour they were only a little above the sea after they descended. While they were near land it was still a little ways out when they dropped back into the water. The water felt cold, and Thio shivered a little until his body got used to it again.

“I’m sorry I just cannot,” Ele said after she had deposited them into the sea. 

“We are close enough to swim,” Thio replied while disengaging his arms from the pack straps. His left arm had gone numb a while ago but he was still able to hold on with it. Mostly due to the way he looped the straps of the pack around his arms so his grip could loosen while they flew without him falling. Slowly regaining feeling in his arm he held onto the pack with one hand while trying to paddle to the shore.

Though Ele wasn’t providing much in the manner of propulsion Thio didn’t say anything. It seemed as if she was having difficulty even holding on and keeping herself afloat. Since he had spent the last hour just hanging his arms were tired but the rest of him felt full of energy. The possible threat of some surviving sailors being in the water gave him a little extra incentive to keep moving. Soon he felt sand under his feet when they got to the shore. A little further and the water was only unto Thio’s waist. Ele didn’t seem conscious of the fact they could stand. Thio started to walk through the water dragging the pack behind him and Ele still hanging onto it.

“Windmistress, we are on land,” Thio said to break Ele from her rumination. She looked up at him and blinked several times before standing in the water. The waves gently lapping at their waist as both of them paused for a moment looking at each other. It took a minute before Ele finally responded breaking the silence.

“We should move away from the sea,” Ele said and then she turned and looked out into the sea. Her face was etched with worry as she looked back at Thio. 

“I agree, Windmistress” Thio responded and picked up the pack. Then started heading further inland towards the trees that stood a little ways off from the beach. Along the way, Thio picked up a few sticks that looked to be dry. Once they were in the trees the breeze disappeared along with his hopes of getting dry soon. Thio paused for a moment and looked at the semi-dry twigs in his hands. Perhaps a small fire, he thought, just something to dry them out. Ele walked up to his side and looked at him.

“A fire to dry us out?” Ele asked in a questioning tone as she looked at Thio and his handful of twigs.

“Perhaps a small fire for us to dry with then we move deeper in to find a place to camp.” Thio replied, now he wondered how would they start the fire as he didn’t have any string nor flint and steel. When he looked up and saw a little bit of hope on Ele’s face he decided to not say anything about their lack of ability to start the fire. It would give him time to think about their options and no need for both of them to be disappointed for the time being.

To distract himself, Thio worked out their general position. Their ship had left port in Ascalon the morning before. From there they were heading southwest before they got attacked this afternoon. If they followed the coastline they should be able to work their way back to Ascalon without issue. He thought about what he knew of the area. This was his first trip outside the Kingdom of Eboracum, which was far to the south. The Vol Mortem was on a scouting mission so if they survived the attack they would return to Ascalon in a day or two. While he wasn’t important enough to warrant a search party, Thio did not know if Eletheria was. Eletheria wasn’t that powerful in quan as she tired out after perhaps a hour of powering the glider. Admittedly, Thio didn’t know exactly how much energy powering a glider took compared to powering an airship, but he guessed it couldn’t be as much. 

Thio hasn’t been among the G’Aeris long enough to know if asking about how much quan one could use was insulting. On the other hand, if Eletheria was of noble blood she could be little in power of the quan but important socially. He glanced briefly at Eletheria while running through the possibilities in his head. If she was important but lacked power they might search. If she was powerful and important they would definitely search. How long would it take for them to search for her? Would she be considered lost at sea? The odds of them searching and the odds of them finding them before someone else did seemed low. When he came to that conclusion he realized that was where he had started, it was just he had to argue himself out of the easy path of staying here.

“If we follow the coastline northward it should take us back to port,” Thio said aloud as he realized he had stopped walking and Ele was looking at him oddly. 

“What about the Vol Mortem?” Ele asked, looking back out towards the sea where they came in from. 

“If they survived, they should end up back in Ascalon as well. The journey was supposed to be a scouting mission,” Thio replied, trying to sound as confident as he could. “The airship probably covers 24 maybe 25 leagues in a day. We are perhaps a week’s walk from home. Shorter if we can find a village and bargain for transport.” He glanced at the broken pack on the ground between them. When he looked back up towards Ele he realized she had cause his linger glance to the pack.

“It will not work. Without wings to help stabilize and my…” Ele started to inform.

“I wasn’t thinking about flying, I was wondering if it could be used to provide heat.” Thio interrupted her then looked back down at the pack.

“I’m not sure, I know quan can heat up things if enough is ran through it.”

“You try with a coil of wire and I will try the old-fashioned method. One way or another, we will have fire,” Thio said and went about looking for some sticks to rub together. While they were near the sea most of the area they were in was dry and there was plenty of dry sticks around. When he was done gathering wood he headed back to Ele. When he wandered to get wood he never let her out of his sight. She didn’t seem too surprised when he returned so he thought she had done the same. 

Back at the camp Ele was already working on something to try and start a fire. She took some copper wire and removed it from the metal rods in the pack. Then wrapped it around a small stick and some bark she had found. Sitting cross-legged on the ground and the little bundle in front of her she held an end of the copper wire in each hand. After some staring at the bundle, Thio could see sweat bead upon her forehead. 

Seeking to not interrupt her concentration Thio sat down across from her with his bundle of wood. He pulled out a small knife he kept in his boot and started shaving some sticks. Soon a pile of wooden strips lay in front of him. Since he didn’t have any string he took a stick the length and thickness of his arm, then smoothed it with his knife. Thinking he needed a place for the fire he used his knife and boots to dig a hole to put the fire in when they get it started. Once it was as smooth as it would get he then pulled over a thick piece of back that he had found. A moment later he was rubbing the stick between both hands to make it spin while it was applying pressure against the bark. 

Some time passed as Thio was focused on trying to get a spark or an ember from his stick and bark. When he paused to stretch and look up he realized that Ele had ceased her attempts and was now looking at him. Thio looked at the copper wire she held in her hands. Then pondered his lack of string.

“How strong is the wire?” Thio asked considering if it would work for a bow.

“It is not that strong and heat will break it easily.” Ele replied. Thio could see hope leaving her as her shoulders hunched a little more and her cheeks lowered. 

“Need something to make a bow with, it will make this much easier.” Thio said while looking around at the trees around them. There wasn’t any vines and he doubted they would have the strength to hold up for this. A glance towards the direction of the sea was definitely a no also. Sadly his pants fit him and he had ceased wearing a rope belt to hold them up.

“Here.” Ele interrupted his chain of thought and held the pack towards him. While there wasn’t any rope or string the leather straps that secured the pack upon the pack of a person were perfect. The leather would hold up to the stress of the bow and grip the stick to ensure it moved. 

“This might work,” Thio said as he took the pack and pulled his knife out to cut one of the straps. While he cut the strap Ele was already looking for a branch or something to make the bow out of. 

They had a fire going soon. The warmth it provided quickly dried their clothes and gave them an immense amount of comfort. As much as they wanted to make it bigger, they kept it small and shielded by putting it in a small hole. Though the idea was initially to use the fire to dry them before they made camp further in, that idea disappeared once they warmed up and realized they didn’t have an easy way to move the fire. Thio hoped they were far enough behind the tree line that they would be safe. Once night fell, Thio placed a big log over it to provide some fuel during the night while they both slept. They were both so tired and worn-out setting a watch was out of the question. If they survived the night then tomorrow they will start heading home. Thio briefly prayed to every god he could think of and drifted off to sleep.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Subtle differences add up.

Working my way through the first book doing some edits and trying to revise some things.  I also needed to add some things that I want to make clear in the first book.  It doesn't change the story but I want a clear image of my characters.  Some of you will notice the changes and others may not, but here is the revised chapter 1 part 1.

Eletheria flew through the great blue sea of the sky, only a few tiny white fluffy islands sharing the sky with her. At least, that is the image she was trying to convince herself while she stood at the controls of the airship looking out the floor-to-ceiling window in front of her. After years of training and preparation, she was actually flying. A shiver of joy coursed through her as she held onto a copper-plated yoke in each hand. The front of the ship was designed to provide a large viewing area to the pilot and the various command staff stationed within the forecastle room. For a moment, she tried to ignore the people standing behind her talking, the wooden support between the panes of glass in front of her, the creaking of the airship as it pulsed with power. 

It was still beautiful up here as she could see the coastline of somewhere down below, the open sky above, and the lack of clouds. While she knew the lack of clouds was good, her imagination about flying always involved speeding through clouds and seeing them whisk by. The wind pushing the sails while Ele helped maintain their elevation over the downslope. The feeling of freedom, flying through the air, zipping through the clouds, all of these took a hold of her heart and she knew this was not something she would ever give up. If she tried really hard, she could almost believe she was flying through the sky without the ship. If there were more clouds, at least the illusion would be a little easier. The lack of nearby clouds to provide perspective as they flew by made the self-delusion difficult to maintain.

“Sir, there is a balloon on the horizon,” a voice behind Ele said from across the room. The voice wasn’t talking to her but it had already started a little worm of disappointment that was digging into her heart. “I hope it isn’t the pirate Bonnie.” The voice whispered just loud enough that everyone at the navigation table could hear it, and Ele. She turned her head to look around for the Windmaster Erus. She knew Erus would be wanting to take control of the airship back.

“Eyes forward, Ele.” The deep calm voice of Windmaster Sal Erus came from behind her. Ele immediately looked forward to watch the horizon hoping to see the other airship someone else had spotted. Seeing nothing except clouds and blue sky, she focused on the feeling of someone standing behind her. There was a sound of a clip securing to a harness and then she felt large hands covering hers. 

“Ele, I need you to let go of the power first with your right hand when I say 3. Nod if you understand,” Sal’s voice said. Ele nodded her head and then heard, “1, 2, 3.” When she heard three she dropped the power in her right hand. There was a shift in the ship’s movement but it was slight. Perhaps now I need to drop the other hand so I can move out of his way was Ele’s thought as she couldn’t remember proper trade-off procedure. She dropped her power in the left hand and the ship lurched much more this time. For a brief moment, Ele and everyone else on the ship felt it start to descend. After a second it regained stability when Sal took over power and control. 

“You released too soon, next time wait for the second count of three.” Sal told her in that ever-encouraging tone that he had. 

“Sorry, I thought I needed to…” Ele started to explain as she turned to look at Sal. His soft brown eyes that matched the color of his skin looked back at her. Ele’s face came up to the top of his chest. He was wearing the harness most pilots wear when they are expecting turbulence. The harness looked like a leather jacket that was tightly strapped to the pilot and had two ropes attached to the back. One going to the ceiling and the other to the floor. “Would we have crashed?” Ele quickly followed up, worried that she had almost destroyed the first ship she was allowed to fly.

“No, it takes more than your ability to keep the ship in the air. There is a backup but they aren’t as powerful as you or I,” Sal replied and motioned with his head for her to move out of his way. Ele took a small step to the left but stayed looking out the window. “Now I need you to go to your cabin and stay there. This may get bumpy and your parents would kill me if I allowed you to get hurt.” 

“Wait, are we going to be attacked?” Ele asked suddenly, worried there was going to be a fight. She looked towards Sal and then back out the window. She couldn’t see anything on the horizon, though she did not have a spyglass or anything to help her vision.

“Probably just a merchant, nothing to worry about,” Sal replied, watching out the front window, looking incredibly focused.

“If there is no danger then why do I…?” Ele started to ask looking back at Sal.

“One of the things you must learn is that you obey your superiors,” Sal interrupted. His tone much more serious and one of the few times Ele had every heard it lose its softness. Ele shrank back a little from a glare she knew was there but luckily she was behind him so didn’t suffer the full effect. She backed away towards the door towards the deck.


“Yes, Windmaster Erus, thank you for allowing me to see a Windmaster in action. Your will be done.” Ele said as sarcastically as she could and even threw a swift salute with her right fist with the knuckles outward to her chest. The thump was both loud and hard enough she almost gasped but kept silent. While Sal wasn’t facing her she was certain he had at least heard the salute. Turning around she saw there were several people in the room and her childish act was witnessed probably by half the command staff. She quickly left the room through the double doors that lead to the deck before Sal could reply or apologize for his harsh tone. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Non-CTtW, META project

Recently I finished the editing and revision of my first book project META (My Extraordinary Transdimensional Adventure).  I do not have a huge beta reader list that I could share the book with to get feedback so I figured I would crowdsource it.  I posted the book to Amazon Kindle with the hopes that someone would snag it through the Free Book program on the Kindle for Prime members. Hopefully they will read it and post what they thought didn't work.  

Why would I post a book to get bad reviews?  Because even bad reviews will help me figure out what I am doing wrong.  Nerdy people get to complain about something and I get feedback, I figure it is win win.  If you are seeking a quick read and want to critic my writing feel free to snag my book META, either for free as part of the Prime thing or it is 99cents.  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LPOT7US/

I'm going to keep on writing, hopefully improving with each project. I hope you all keep on reading.

Thank you,