I thought that was a pretty accurate title, because y’know when ships get launched it’s not the whole ship is it? So here is the hull as it were.
Of Patchwork Warriors is the first volume in a Fantasy Genre; it has its origins in a twenty -year project which has varied between wildly comic to grimly violent. A few years ago, it settled down to a totally comic tale which was spread across three volumes and is now a classic example on how not to do anything to do with writing. The current book is slightly more sober with elements of the comic, heroic, and romantic and deals with some ‘little folk’ and some not very great of folk of history who are the first to encounter a predicted manifestation of the threat to the stability of their lands. Some try to tackle it, some try to take advantage of it, while others make the best of a bad job. Subsequent volumes will likely see the threat come to the attentions of the higher reaches of government, but will keep the core characters of this volume as they try to survive, do their duty or fulfil ambitions. My books are never planned in much detail so that’s all I know.
Of Patchwork Warriors centres on three main characters with a clutch of support characters some of whom are threatening to became principal characters in their own right. The three central characters are all young women; they arose as a distillation of one strong female character of the first attempt who was far too alpha, whimsical, clever and able for one person. Each comes from traditional strands of Fantasy; The soldier, although less Red Sonja and more ‘grunt’( or PBI); the quirky one with the mysterious back ground (and it was hard work trying to stop her turning into Harley Quinn!) and the innocent who gets caught up in it all without asking to do so.
Because it is light and more about the enjoyment of the journey of a light read there are probably not many surprises and some outcomes you might be able to see coming a mile off, some not. At some stages a few characters quite took over and sort of said to me ‘You didn’t see that coming? Oh really?’
I had thought about the idea of asking for beta-readers; then I began to wonder if asking someone to read my 144000+ word fantasy novel was asking someone to commit too much. I had thought about professional editors and suchwhich, however family commitments have denuded the spare cash facility. The next option was to revisit the episodic.
In this case I will spilt up the novel into say twenty 7,000 word posts and publish one episode every 3 or 4 days. Folk are invited to read these and whereas some might feel they can click ‘like’ but are stuck for further words (happens to me when I read some posts), the idea of this is to open the work to critical appraisals or comments of any sort (and pointing out those evil typos which sneak back in after you’ve self proof-read the blessed thing for the fifth time).
So that’s the deal.
Someone of you may well have read the previous experiment in this arena, but for those of you who have new to this work here is a snippet. This is when the three central characters get together; two having met up earlier on in the book
(By way of explanation
‘Flaxi’ is Karlyn’s nickname for Arketre Beritt (her, being blonde)
‘Migran’ is a young fellow who by incautious experiments has got the young lady Trelli stuck with a forbidden power- the running joke by various characters in the book being that’s not normally how young men get young women into trouble)
Phonetic spellings turn up in speech
‘Frib’ is a mild swear word
‘hengy’ is short for a native of Hengestatia
‘lidian is short for a native of Elinid)
Trelli could not but help overhear the discourse. To begin with she was obviously being tracked by two women, which was a surprise, though of what sort she was not too sure. Also, they did not appear to be acting the way she had expected ruthless trackers to behave. She was trying her very best to think of the next move. Stuck and hunched was not the most productive. But maybe, just maybe if she stayed ever so still. It was that odd one standing up and waving the sword she had to watch out for.
Everything that was Trelli jolted, then seemed to spin; but finally, for her own survival and self-respect then clenched. This episode couldn’t have lasted that long, because when she peered down between her legs and the stairs, a face, topped with a brimmed hat and framed in blonde hair was regarding her, moonlight and unsettling flickering of nearby flames highlighting a light friendly smile, one of those easy-going hengestatian accents.
“Hello,” Trelli always felt good manners cost nothing, even when being hunted down “Might I ask your business here please? This is the warehouse of my employer,”
They both flinched as another projectile screamed overheard; Trelli felt it was a comfort, Beritt winced, she was a soldier fer frib’s sake!. She ordered herself to be more composed
“Truth be known. I think it’s you I may be more concerned about. Y’see I’m in the imperial LifeGuard. Medician Arketre Beritt,” she doffed her hat “I am engaged in seeking out someone who may be distressed by matters outside of their control. You being all hunched up in a blanket seem to fit that description,”
She hoped that little speech was sufficient unto the cause.
To her relief, the figure sunk back with a sigh.
“Then you’ve not come to torture and burn me?” Trellis did feel a bit of goose for blurting out that, but all in all she was not inclined to rational thought. The soldier, let out a soft laugh, shaking her head.
“Good Lord God’s Mercy no!” she shook the bag at her side “Medician, y’see. I heal things. I care for folk,”
“And if that doesn’t work. You got me to contend with girly,”
Beritt snarled under her breath, just when she was starting to get somewhere there came Karlyn crawling up the stairs like a bad-tempered tomcat.
“I’m with the Custodians see. We got you cornered. Give up now. You’re nicked girly!”
Trelli looked quickly to Beritt. Although the soldier’s scowl was not directed at her; that was small comfort as the nasty with the cold elidian accent crept closer, something in a bag dangling from a string in one hand, a fearsome sword in another.
“Rein in Karlyn willya!! The girl’s scared out her socks!!”
“They look secure to me Flaxi!!”
“Please excuse my associate! When her mother was carrying her, the poor lady was bitten by a rabid squirrel!!”
Humour did not help, Trelli began to back up the stairs, Karlyn advanced.
“I got her Flaxi. Now you just sit tight. This is my work. I can smell the whychery so strong!! And you! Lurky pants! Stop dithering! Raise your hands and slither down here all controlled,” Karlyn waved the bag “One sly move and you get a mouthful of this, and it,” she slavered with relish “Burns!!”
Trelli didn’t see how she had any options left, the little ‘hengy’ was being nice but down there, while the nasty ‘’lidian was here and getting closer! She had to do something to stop the advance of a mad-head.
Karlyn was not really surprised that the whychie suddenly pulled off the gloves and waved her hands about, with all sorts of reds and blue colours appearing. She was a bit perplexed that the display was soft and rather nice-looking, like one of the festival displays. They should be all thunder and lightning stuff. Must be a trick.
“Now you just stop there!!” Trelli tried to imagine the nasty girl was a sort of Migran “I got powers!! And you just be careful, or you’ll get them!!”
“I wouldn’t do that!” Beritt called up “My associate is not inclined to be reasonable! Whatcha name!!” Beritt hoped that might calm the girl down; there was a bombardment going on; Karlyn was doing her mad-dog act, and here was a girl waving rainbows. “And y’all hold still there Karlyn!!” Using an old barracks term for desperation, Beritt was rollin’ dice!
“T-Trelli!” came back the stammering cry “An’ you get back ‘lidian! You’ve no business crawling in here frightening people who are bothered enough as it is! Why don’t you leave your friend to help me!”
The colours began to rapidly shift between red and blue, Karlyn was certain she could see sparks dancing between the fingers; this was surely building up to some sort of whychie attack, and poor little Flaxi would get fried or frazzled if she didn’t act now.
And thus leapt.
At Karlyn’s yell of aggression and Trelli’s responsive of a scream of alarm, Beritt’s reaction was to once more resort to swearing, while without much thought, just notions, pushed a sack of something outwards.
Not that she had been certain the stairs were going to collapse, it just seemed that as Karlyn impacted on Trelli (of the rainbows), the result was going to be a structural failure of some sort. As all shades of red and blue illuminated the descent of two bodies mingling with pieces of wood, her immediate sense of satisfaction was replaced by a feeling that the pair seemed to be falling a bit slower than they should.
But impacting as heavily as expected, in a cloud of whiteness.
“Oh. Flour,” Beritt said pleased with her accompanying calmness.
Even if The Fifth Hell was settling upon the town.
Then from the general direction of the girl Trelli there came a near blinding display of the reds and blues.