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The Dark Grit

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

My weekend was somewhat all over the map. We had birthday well wishing to do, people to take to the airport, and sadly, a layup with a migraine for most of my Saturday. It put a dent into my writing time, but I shan’t let that deter me. Yumi and company will get to the end of this story as well, and in the meantime, I hope you all were enjoying the teaser I left last week for you!

There won’t be a teaser today, but I promise there will be more to come.

Instead, I will leave you with a tiny musing from a few years ago, in honor of Dragon Age: Inquisition launching tomorrow. Even though I have many misgivings with the events of Dragon Age 2, the first game, Dragon Age: Origins, remains one of the games that I love. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it fuels so many ideas that I would love to capitalize on. Overall, I have this love/hate relationship with the game because of the direction they’ve been taking it. At the end of the day though, I absolutely love my origin Grey Warden, Samantha Cousland, and here’s just a touch of her story.  Warning, if for some reason, you’ve never played Dragon Age: Origins, it’s a bit spoilerish, but you don’t have to have played for it to make sense.

Continued at ambercarlyle.com

The Dark Grit

Happy Monday, my lovelies!

My weekend was somewhat all over the map. We had birthday well wishing to do, people to take to the airport, and sadly, a layup with a migraine for most of my Saturday. It put a dent into my writing time, but I shan’t let that deter me. Yumi and company will get to the end of this story as well, and in the meantime, I hope you all were enjoying the teaser I left last week for you!

There won’t be a teaser today, but I promise there will be more to come.

Instead, I will leave you with a tiny musing from a few years ago, in honor of Dragon Age: Inquisition launching tomorrow. Even though I have many misgivings with the events of Dragon Age 2, the first game, Dragon Age: Origins, remains one of the games that I love. It’s dark, it’s gritty, and it fuels so many ideas that I would love to capitalize on. Overall, I have this love/hate relationship with the game because of the direction they’ve been taking it. At the end of the day though, I absolutely love my origin Grey Warden, Samantha Cousland, and here’s just a touch of her story.  Warning, if for some reason, you’ve never played Dragon Age: Origins, it’s a bit spoilerish, but you don’t have to have played for it to make sense.

Her footsteps were heavy as she left her bedroom. I have to talk to Alistair. I’ll make him see. This is the only way. It would be simple. After the news that Riordan had shared, Sam had begun to doubt it. A Grey Warden had to die tomorrow. Except Morrigan was offering another way, and where six months ago, Sam would have been dubious of the witch’s intentions, she had no reason not to trust the woman now. She had been a fast friend, and she was offering Sam a chance to have everything that she had lost.

Alistair will understand. She told herself as she continued through Eamon’s estate towards her lover’s room.

“What are you doing, Samantha?”

The warm male voice made her feet stop dead in their tracks, her heart thudded painfully in her chest. It had been since the Frostback Mountains that she had heard his voice. Maker, it’s been too long. I’d almost forgotten…

“Samantha, look here.”

She nervously tucked flaxen hair behind her ears as she turned as commanded, finding herself staring into the gray eyes of her father. No, he’s not supposed to be here.

“Pup, what are you doing?”

“Father, I…” she barely stammered as she stepped closer to the man before her.

The disapproving look in those cool gray eyes made the words die on her lips. “I raised you better than this. You can’t forswear your duty. Not even now. We are still Cousland, and we do what must be done.”

Her eyes dropped to her leather clad feet, her cheeks reddening like they always had whenever she had been scolded. “I.. I just wanted…”

The meek voice barely sounded like hers. “You wanted, my girl. That is the problem. We cannot make our judgments based on what we want. You must use your head, even if it does not agree with what is in your heart.” Hot tears stung at her eyes, and she nodded, trying to stare a hole into her boots. She felt the soft, gentle touch of her father’s hand on her face, as he lifted her chin to force her eyes to meet his. “You have done your duty to our family, and I could not be prouder of my fierce girl for avenging us. But, you have more duties now. To the Wardens. To Ferelden. To Thedas. Make your father proud still. Do what must be done.”

Tears silently fell down her cheeks as she listened to the words. She nodded once more, looking back to the ground as she clumsily wiped away the tears. “Father,” she began looking back up, but the hall was empty, void. Her heart ached with renewed grief, and she silently commanded the tears to stop. With a twisting knife in her gut, she made her way to the room.

Winter Weirdness

Well, I’m chalking last week up to a bad week. Not in the bad mental health way, but just in a really weird sort of way. After starting off the week with my dog getting injured, my husband and I had to take our eldest cat to the ER Vet on Tuesday night. Then, the area we live got pummeled with ice, and where my house was fine, I had plenty of friends and family without power for the better part of the week and weekend.

Things did get better come the weekend. My husband surprised me with a lovely cake for Valentine’s Day. (Which was a huge surprise since we do not celebrate the holiday traditionally in my household.) I had two great days of gaming with my awesome tabletop group (more to come on that later). The weekend concluded with my husband surprising me again with a movie, so I have finally seen Frozen. The previews did this movie no justice, but it was worth going to see in the theater. Then the second new episode of The Walking Dead, and we have Carol back. Oh, Carol, how I have missed you!

Now, on to the gaming portion of my post. We’ve changed the schedules of our games from alternating between four games every other week, to running three games. We’re playing two long games that will be alternating months on who runs Friday night (short game) and who runs Saturday (long game), and then we have a one off game to be played on the first Friday of every month. It’s allowing the longer games to build a more cohesive game with less “What did we do last time?” moments.

The change is actually helping me regain my focus on my novel, as one of the long games created my character Yumi Matthews, originally. Over the past couple of weeks, my brain moonlighted heavily into Mass Effect territory again, which is great because I love that setting, but I began to neglect my own original works. I needed to get back to them, and I feel more connected to those characters again.

As such, I shall leave you with a tiny tease from the first book:

Warm sand sank beneath the weight of my legs, curled up underneath me as the sun beat down on my shoulders, making the stiff cotton of my school uniform even more uncomfortable. I shook my head, pigtails hitting the side of my head as a giggle escaped my lips. A shovel and bucket were discarded to my right, and I could see two young boys sneaking around on the nearby grass, guns in hand. One boy, Sean, it must have been with those green eyes, held a finger to his lips as he glanced my way, his free hand holding the gun in the other hand.

“I got you now!” The other boy declared popping behind Sean and pulling the trigger.

A deafening roar filled the air, and Sean vanished before my eyes, leaving just a trail of smoke. I stumbled to my feet, running with tiny feet towards the smoke. “Sean!”

There was no response, but the smoke grew heavy, swirling about me, until all I could do was cough. The smoke was too thick, blanketing my vision with nothing but darkness.

A heavy thrum filled the air, repeating itself, as the smoke began to lessen. A red glow seeped through the wafting tendrils, until dark shadows danced across my vision, writhing in time with every beat that resounded through me. Soon the smoke melted until only a thin haze filled my vision, and bodies contorted on the floor around me, naked breasts glistening with sweat. Gone were the toys around me, as the uniform I had been wearing grew tight and short on my now grown body.

Hands grasped at my legs, fondling, caressing, and I found myself spinning. Faster and faster I spun, with each turn, until I was left breathless. I fell toward the ground, the bodies around me catching and slowing my descent, pulling the coat from my shoulders. I let it go, thankful to be free of its constraints, as I try to catch my breath.

Hot breath danced across the back of my neck, as hands roamed down the front of my blouse, fumbling at the buttons. A gasp escaped from my mouth, and I tried to push the hands away. Something wasn’t right. I shook my head, pigtails swinging in the air, and my eyes caught the glance of eyes in the shadows, ablaze with light. Movement in the darkness beckons me to draw near, as if pulled by an invisible line. I dragged myself to my feet, ignoring the protests and clawing hands and lumber towards the eyes.

As I cross the boundary into the shadows, inky black forms, somehow darker than the mire around me, grabbed my arms and tugged me forward. I cannot help but stumble until I find myself pressed against a hard table and shoved into a booth. Bright lights suddenly shone overhead, revealing only a mirror in front of me, with lines of pure white. My hands twitched as I gazed at those, my mouth growing dry with want, need.

Ghostly hands trailed along my neck, then to my hair, twirling one of the tails between its fingers. “Just a taste, my sweet. One little taste. You know you want it.”

It was right. I did. I wanted to taste the bitter powder as it slid down the back of my throat, feeling the rush as it infused my being. I licked my lips as I stared at it. What could one little taste hurt? I leaned closer, wanting to relish in the moment again, when movement caught the corner of my eyes.

I glanced to see green eyes and dark hair reach out toward me before plunging into darkness. “Sean?”

A howl filled the air, as the hand toying with my hair grasped the tail and pulled back with its ghostly might. A yelp left my lips, and I jerked myself away, falling out of the booth. The light above me grew, until its bright presence overwhelmed everything, blinding me.

I fumbled about the ground, trying to find anything. A metallic groan filled the air, and I felt my skin crawl as my heart raced. A pop filled the air, and the room began to darken as my vision returned, tiny sparks falling from the ceiling. Again, hands grasped at my arms, and I tried to pull myself free. Talons bit into the soft flash, tearing and ripping as I struggled against it. Pain lanced through me, and I opened my mouth with a scream, but there was no sound.

Teeth sank in beside the claws, against the bones of my wrist. All I could hear was the gnashing and crunching as it continued to chew on my arm. A hand snatched my head, pulling it up by the pigtails as I continued to fight for freedom. Hot blood trickled down my limbs, as my body sagged forward. Everything was so heavy, even my eyes began to droop despite the pain.

Pin pricks skittered across my cheeks towards my temples as hands grabbed my face. Claws ripped into the corners of my eyes, prying them open.

Above me, snaked along the top of the table with its broken body, was that vacant eyed skull. It snapped its head to the side, a sickening crunch echoing about me, grinning with its ever-carved smile. Revulsion poured through me as my throat tightened, but the rest of me froze in place. It lurched forward, opening its jaws as it closed in on my face.