Sunday, July 22, 2007

For posterity's sake, and for you to comment upon:

There's this fanfic contest, you see.

I started writing out a plot and actually worked out many of the details of the story for a few days.

And then I found out that the contest had a very specific set of rules, rendering my earlier efforts moot.

Since I have to begin a new story, I thought I'd share the one I haven't finished yet with you.

And so I give you my very first Granado Espada fanfic, a story inspired by
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and consequently entitled

The Pirates of Porto Bello: The Unlucky One

Part I

From the Office of Pioneering Support - All citizens of Granado Espada are henceforth warned against traveling into the Porto Bello area. This is due to reports of attacks on coastal settlements, instigated by a criminal element known only as “Captain Wing”. The Office of Pioneering Support has received word of towns being burned to the ground, goods being stolen, and hostages being taken. It is strongly recommended that all settlers near the coast temporarily evacuate to the Port of Coimbra.

From the Coimbra Militia and Punitive Forces - The Militia are looking for volunteers to assist in apprehending the piratical threat known as “Captain Wing”. This criminal has been terrorizing the coasts in and around the Porto Bello area and has been reportedly killing defenseless citizens, stealing their possessions, and burning down their settlements. Volunteers may sign up with Admiral Nuñez of the Office of Pioneering Support, who will be coordinating the defense of the Port.

Dear Mother:
I’ve just received a letter from Mistress Idge Imbrulia, asking after my health. Do you remember what I told you about her? She’s a Battle-Smith and I apprenticed with her for five years. At the end of my time with her, she sent me here to the Port of Coimbra, and suggested I assist her colleague Soho with the refining and enhancing of pioneers’ weapons and armor.
A year has passed since that suggestion and I’m happy to say that Soho has added his own positive assessment to that of my Mistress Idge’s. Both of them say I am doing quite well and may soon become a real Battle-Smith in my own right.
Now our skills are needed more than ever. Pirates are attacking the coasts around Coimbra, and the militia have called for volunteers to help defend the port. And all the volunteers want to make sure their gear is up to the task, so Soho and I are kept busy with the refining work.
I’ve been very busy, but that does not mean I have forgotten you and Father. I miss you both so much and wish you were here.
Harry

Dear Father,
I remember you saying that the journey from Orpesia to Granado Espada was nearly always peaceful and uneventful, but my ship, the Jaclina, was joined by an escort of a dozen small gunboats some few hundred miles out from port. According to the soldiers, pirates are attacking the coasts of the New World, especially near the area called Porto Bello.
The same soldiers have been recruiting volunteers to join the defense of the port of Coimbra, and many of us have signed up with them. I now have letters of marque that say I am part of the Pioneers’ Militia in Coimbra, and we have been promised training when we arrive in port, in five days’ time.
Father, I will do my best to stay safe - but I think that I will enjoy this adventure that has found me even before reaching the New World.
Anne

***

The port of Coimbra has a reputation for being one of the noisiest settlements of Granado Espada. The ringing of swords being made and tested can always be heard over the bustle of new pioneers arriving from the Old World of Orpesia, and the boom of cannon-fire punctuates the constant coming and going. It is a crossroads for the New World, as fledgling adventurers fresh from the haunted ruins of Al Quelt Moreza, intrepid journeymen exploring the Tetra Ruins, and veterans heading for the Capybara Plantation and its environs, can mingle freely here.
Harry Wheeler strode up the crowded sidewalk, waving at Camille the grocer as he climbed toward Lisa Lynway’s Sea Elephant cafe.
“Good morning, Mr. Wheeler,” Lisa smiled as he ducked into the cafe. “The usual?”
“Yes, Miss Lisa, thank you,” Harry replied, taking his usual seat at the long bar.
He was soon eating his customary breakfast of bread, cheese, and a cup of the cafe’s renowned hot chocolate, but he couldn’t take any real pleasure from the meal, not with the nervous babble filling the cafe.
“Nothing but bad news from Porto Bello,” a wizard said to his fighter companion as he toyed with his teacup. “There just aren’t enough people in the militia yet.”
“The Jaclina needs to get here sooner,” the fighter responded, drumming her gauntleted fingers on their table. “But the escort will slow them down - the gunboats need to scout their route. Not even the sea paths are safe these days.”
“It will take some time before my sister can arrive,” the wizard muttered, “and I can only hope I’m still here to meet her. My battle group will be leaving for Porto Bello soon.”
An elementalist two stools down from Harry fidgeted with his bracelets; brilliant red stones flashed in the early-morning sunlight. “I don’t know why I feel so excited,” he confided to Lisa. “I mean, I know there will be fighting, and people are going to get hurt....”
“That’s the adrenaline talking,” Lisa replied with an understanding smile. “Your body feels the need to defend itself from enemies. Don’t worry if you think it’s blocking your fears, that’s only normal.”
Lisa’s explanation was suddenly cut off by a thunderous roar that rattled windows and china alike.
And then she went on, her calm voice shockingly loud in the otherwise silent cafe. “That means ‘Ships sighted, ready for defense,’” she said. “Militia volunteers, report to your battle groups, now.”
Harry rushed through the port to Soho’s shop. Before he could say a word, however, the bare-chested enhancer motioned him to the back, where the forge was located, and locked the door behind them.
“No need to explain,” Soho said briskly, “I heard that cannon too. I knew you’d come here before joining your group, so I decided to give you something you can use.” He rummaged in a chest and pulled out a pair of finely tooled leather gloves. “These are for you,” the enhancer said. “I can’t leave the port now, so I might as well make sure that everyone who does is well-equipped - and that includes you.”
“I’ll do my best to come back and finish the work that you wanted me to do,” a deeply moved Harry said as he tugged on the gloves.
“I’ll be looking forward to it.”

***

The ship that was sighted turned out to be the Jaclina, and the assembled citizens and militia decided not to waste the opportunity: they welcomed the ship with boisterous cheers and an impromptu celebration.
Anne deCygnus looked at the happy faces all around her and was stung by the stark relief she saw on many of them.
Seeing a soldier at the foot of the gangplank, she hurried to him and shouted over the noise of the crowds, “Sir, please show me the way to the Office of Pioneering Support!”
Admiral Nuñez greeted Anne warmly at the Office. “We’re all glad that you and your fellow passengers have made it here safely - now we have more reason to hope,” he said as he replaced his saber in its rack.
“Is the situation really so bad now, Admiral?” Anne asked quietly.
“As new settlers on the shores of an unmapped land, we aren’t properly equipped for any threats,” Nuñez replied. “It’s all we can do to support our brave adventurers as they clear the land of its monsters; pirates attacking us make for an entirely different threat all together.
“But enough of that,” and he smiled once again. “I was informed that you wished to join a battle
group immediately upon your arrival, Miss deCygnus?”
“Yes sir. I’m ready to fight against Granado Espada’s enemies.”
“As are we all, inasmuch as we can do so. I can give you an assignment now, and a letter of introduction to a commanding officer, but I’m afraid I can’t let you leave to join them until I can find a bodyguard to accompany you. You’ll be placed in an area that takes advantage of your skills but is somewhat difficult to reach alone. It’s for your own protection - I’m sure you understand.”
Anne nodded. “I do, Admiral, and I appreciate it. My thanks.”

***

Harry spent a sleepless night on a cliff high above the beached Porto Bello, scanning the horizon for signs of enemy activity. His relief, Francoise Medalle – the female fighter from the Sea Elephant – arrived on time for her watch, and Harry wearily made his way back down to the sheltered nook in which their battle group had made their campsite. Unfortunately, one look at his leader’s face told him that he was not yet about to get any rest.
“Orders from the Admiral, Wheeler,” his commanding officer, a stocky musketeer named Oswald Jarjayes, said as he came in. “You’re to return to port to pick up an elementalist named deCygnus.”
“Sir,” and Harry all but snatched the hip flask the other man offered to him. A quick sip of firewater did much to revive him.
“We should be grateful to the Admiral, Wheeler,” Jarjayes said. “This is a lightning elementalist who’s coming to join us. I say we’re lucky! She must have enough power to work across long distances or she wouldn’t be assigned to our group. You need to get her here in one piece.”
“I understand, Sir,” Harry replied.
“Good luck, Wheeler.”

Anne had received her orders from the Office of Pioneering Support that morning. Admiral Nuñez confirmed her assignment to Oswald Jarjayes’s company, and that she would be conducted to said company’s outpost that same night by a fellow sentry.
So she spent the day exploring the port, acquainting herself with the shops in particular. She’d purchased a quantity of elemental orbs from the tall, haughty-looking Absinian warrior named M’Boma, and also got into a friendly chat with Emilia Guliano, the consumables merchant who sold both magical needs and potions.
Now midnight was striking, and she stood just inside the gate to the Nimrod Bridge, where her escort would be picking her up. From inside the deep hood of her light cloak, she watched the guards change from one shift to the next, and as the port itself fell into an uneasy silence.
Footsteps sounded, moving up the bridge, and both sets of guards snapped alert: “Identify yourself!”
A lanky man walked into the light cast by the torches set into the gate. “I’m Harry Wheeler, from Oswald Jarjayes’s battle group,” he answered. “I’m looking for an elementalist.”
“Miss deCygnus?” the guard nearest her said. “You should go with him, ma’am.”
Anne nodded firmly and walked out the gate. “Mr. ...Wheeler, you said. I’m Anne deCygnus.”
“Please call me Harry, ma’am. I’m here to get you to our post.”
“Then let’s not waste any time. Lead on, Harry.”

They crossed Jezebel Glen without incident. Harry pointed out the shadows of other battle groups atop cliffs and rock formations, and twice he spoke very quietly with other militia sentries, who let them pass through their areas without trouble.
“Has there been any fighting?” Anne asked softly as they approached the path to Porto Bello.
“None yet,” an equally subdued Harry replied.
A human shape loomed out of the darkness at them, then, and Anne choked back a cry of surprise.
Harry whipped a pistol from its holster and leveled it at the stranger. “Who are you?”
The waning moon emerged from its cloud cover, and the two could see their opponent clearly: a swarthy man in disheveled clothing. A faint miasma of salt, stale rum, sour sweat, and gunpowder hung about him, and what was visible of his face was marred by a large bruise on his cheek.
“Jus’ my usual rottin’ luck,” the stranger rasped wearily. “Take it you’re out here to get me? Not goin’ to happen tonight.” He moved his hand, and a knife’s edge glinted in the weak moonlight. “Put your piece away, mister, or the lady gets a blade in ‘er throat.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Anne hissed, and drew one arm back. Sparks of electricity lit up the jewels on her bracelets.
“Shut it, miss,” the stranger said. “Never finish castin’ – be dead before you can blink.”
Harry did his best to intervene: “Let’s not get hasty, now. Miss deCygnus, please put your hand down. Sir, maybe you can put your weapon away....”
“I said shut it! Not bloody likely I’ll put my blade down, mister,” the other man snapped. In a flash, he was standing behind Anne, his knife now pressed to her throat. “One move, and the lady dies.”
Anne struggled, but felt the blade bite into her skin and stilled.
“Waitin’.”
Harry stowed his gun away and raised his hands.
“Follow me nice ‘n’ quiet, you two, and anyone gives me away I boot ‘em into the drink. Savvy?”
Anne and Harry had just enough time to share a look of dismay before the stranger began to quickstep down the path, backtracking towards a series of caves.
They had been sent to stop the pirate called “Captain Wing,” but now he had them, instead.

Another sentry, higher up on the cliffs, watched the unwieldy little procession as it stumbled deeper into Jezebel Glen, and loosed a carrier pigeon from a cage at its feet. The bird flew back to the Port, unseen by the militia scattered over the area.

“Things are going as I planned,” a hoarse voice muttered as its owner looked out at the deserted Baleares Square and, at its head, the dark Office of Pioneering Support quarters. “Ready the crew. We sail at moonrise.”

end part I

Luckily, I stopped here. Hope you have fun spotting the pop culture references...and let me know what you think the ending will be. ^^

Now it's time to work on that new story, good luck to me....

6 comments:

janettetoral.com said...

Wow PJ! You have the makings of a NANOWRIMO contender. All the best!

NineMoons Family said...

@ janette

thanks! I never tried joining nano though....

DeSanggria said...

WE WANT MOAR!!!! ^0^

great job, lass. ^_~

NineMoons Family said...

@ desanggria

I'll try to finish the Pirates story after I submit the one for your site competition okay?

Don't worry, I still have my notes, I can pick the story up when I can again ^^

Glad that you liked the story.

Kelland said...

story wuz gr8. more pl0x.

NineMoons Family said...

@ kelland

glad you liked the story. promise to follow it up and finish the tale very soon.