The first volume of Between Places. Not up to reading 300 pages? Get the fast track here! A stand-alone story about the end of a dream.
Upcoming stories: Fate.
Current progress: Script: 100%, roughs: 100%, page 1 of 8.

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Nano time!   -  November 3, 2009   -   0100

Comic of the week! School Spirit is a long-standing comic with a big archive so if you've got a chunk of time on your hands, sit down and prepare for a magical ride. I've been reminded a bit of Casper the Friendly Ghost while reading School Spirit and that said, it does remind me a bit of my childhood. I think that's the point. And I have to admit I haven't seen many webcomics with Australian main characters. So if you want a kid safe read, jump on in. Readers of all ages can get something out of School Spirit, because the jokes are clean and everyone's been a kid once. Take a look back at the magic of your childhood!

NaNoWriMo time! I posted exerpts here last year. Right now I'm at--I am not kidding--26k. There are next to no quality exerpts. This is all quantity and no quality and man, I hate the whole thing. This is the only exerpt I like. Warning for readers of the rarely update Millennium House--there are minor (major) spoilers in this exerpt, this story is a sequel.

A meeting. She forgets quickly Gotel’s warning, and gets pushed into the society of the Spire. Things revolve around engineering. If you can create, you are pushed to the top. The best creators are at the top of the Spire—both physically and by regards as well. Prestige is earned by the ability to create things of beauty and magnificence. They value anything that’s aesthetically pleasing, functional, and most importantly, anything that will protect them from those below.

She quickly learns they hate those who live beneath them. They are not creators. They did not create a city that walks on the clouds. They have not yet given themselves wings.

The people of the Spire consider themselves to be demigods of Carmen. They consider themselves on line with the goddess—a goddess they do not respect because she does not create, but instead, destroy. They have built for themselves wings of steel and halos of glass, and forged godship on the wings of creations of man. They weave for themselves immortality and cheat death through the manufacture of new lives.

They call themselves gods and they have made the Spire to cheat heaven out of what is rightfully hers and soar above what they have determined to be hell.

They do not grind it out of existence, but rather, deny it ever was. If there is a world on the surface of Carmen, it is only worth their attention for the raw materials they can siphon away.

Navar is at the top. When he walks, the entire Spire shies away from him, and with his touch, the whole thing can change. He is displeased by Larali’s actions, and makes no shame in stating this very clearly: the Veil was something they spent years of their immortal lives building, and they are quite displeased that on the destruction of the ground-bound Angel Project, the minds weaving it together dissipated into the dusk. He speaks for everyone across Spire when he does speak. A lyrical voice that is difficult not to pay close attention to flows from his lungs and into the crystalline air. It is as if his words were tangible. They strike hard, and even Gotel seems to find it difficult not to flinch just a little bit when Navar expresses his distain.

Navar is a tall man, his hair red and his eyes a deep, deep shade of near-brown, brown only slightly flecked with amber and green, just enough to call them hazel. But they do not have the warmth of Gotel’s hazel-blue eyes. The only thing they have in common is those occasional speckles of other color, just enough to be questionable in tone. His forte must be computers, Larali realizes, because when he touches him they do anything he requests. He only has to speak in a low tone and messages will fly across the Spire and things will arrive to do his bidding.

Gotel doesn’t like him and makes no effort to hide his disgust when the man isn’t looking. It’s the only time Larali’s ever heard him speak foul words, muttering about that son of a—

But if Navar looks at him, he’s quiet. There’s only that quiet sadness again. He’s so cooperative when Navar makes eye contact. If Navar asks them something, they find it hard to say no. The Spire never says no to Navar.

Gotel tells her that he’s only staying there to see what they find in his mind. He wants to know about that, but Larali knows there’s a little bit of him that wants to stay in the garages and build real airships, ones that go without years of labor and a few parts breaking down tearing down the whole project. That was his thing. He craved the sky and now he has it.

Here, he can touch the sky.

Then come the requests. They start to come a few months into the stay, once Shalina is in school and not willing to leave her new friends and the freedom to create. “You’re a psychic. We formerly used the minds of dead psychics to build up the Veil…” and then she learns more about dark magic than she ever wanted to know. Kalin dabbled in it. This entire place is blessed by it. Larali draws back with a few polite words, heads back to her room, and fights back the desire to scream or even just vomit.

A couple hours later she chases down Gotel. “I want to leave here,” she tells him breathlessly. His hands are dirty with grease and he has rags tucked into his belt; he looks so peaceful. “Realms, Gotel… it’s… it’s…”

She breaks down for the first time, snatching a dry grease rag and rubbing at the tears starting to stream down her face. Those tears aren’t supposed to be there. She’s shaking. After a few moments he sets down his wrench and pulls her close. She doesn’t mind that his hands are black and it’s going to get into her hair. She hangs onto him, shaking. “It’s such a black place…”

“I know.” He kisses her on the forehead. “Relax, Larali. They’re not going to do anything to us…”

“They want us to rebuild the Veil.”

“They’ve told me that, yes. A few months back, as a matter of fact.” He sounds distant. “I don’t think it’s a great idea, myself. There’s too much wealth here to not share.”

“They made it out of deaths…” She’s practically vibrating with terrible memories. “The purple. The dusk. The dusk flooded out of it… this place is so dark, so many people have died for it!” Where the words were coming from, she didn’t know. But then, she wasn’t sure she’d had her own words for most of the stay in the Spire. “We’ve got to leave it!”

“It’ll just keep going if we leave.”

Oh, he’s so rational, she notices. She’s not. She’s in tears; they’ve been held back for so many years, months, weeks, days, and now they spill out and stain his denim shirt with the color of grief.

Grief is blue. Just like the sky.