Building a Story VI

This is the sixth blog in an ongoing series of designing a story using my writing process so others can get an in-depth look of the process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

In the last blog, we covered the creation of our second paragraph where the story really starts moving as we have now introduced our aliens that our marines must fight in order to survive. Our next paragraph will provide some direction for the story, lots of action, and a little bit of discovery to keep the suspense going.

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Building a Story V

This is the fifth blog in an ongoing series of designing a story using my writing process so others can get an in-depth look of the process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

In the last blog, we covered the creation of our first paragraph of our story. Next we will focus on the second sentence and expand that into a full paragraph to further develop our marine story. This second paragraph is the start of the action of our story. This is an important part to our story in that we are introducing our setting for the first time. For me, the setting really needs to be a character in its own right to add to the suspense of the story. This will follow the same process as the previous paragraph.

Let the suspense begin

1st Squad must make their way through the complex while dodging attacks from an unknown alien species.”

Our second sentence is pretty lean on details so we have some work cut out for us on this one as we introduce a lot of information and get put our story into second gear. To start this off, we need to note that our marines arrive at the station after a long trip through aether space. Since we are doing a suspense/action story, the station should appear abandoned or in the process of losing power to build on the spooky unknown factor of the station. This would immediately put our marines on the defensive upon entering.

Having now reached the station, our marines enter the station and begin their mission. There are a lot of different ways one could go about this process. The most obvious means of finding the scientists would have been to have the Destroyer Austin do a scan of the station and just look for life signs. Well, that’s too easy and would ultimately give away information about our true antagonist. So, let’s say that something in the station is preventing a scan, perhaps the fusion reactor of the station is on the fritz and radiation prevents a complete scan. This gets our marines on the station without giving anything away.

The next natural step in the story would then be to have our marines make their way to the Command deck of the station is try to do scans internally or find out information about where they may be. Information is king is warfare and so our marines would do their best to get as much information as possible. Our marines breach the station and sweep their way to the Command deck in hopes that the station scanners will be able to give them more information. With this we can add more suspense and mystery when the marines don’t find anybody in route to the Command deck. The whole station seems empty.

Upon reaching the command deck, we need to block the easy path once more in order to get our marines to search the rest of the station and break them up. Since we are not doing a full-blown novel, 30 characters is a bit much to try to cover in detail. Instead, we want to focus on just one squad to make it more manageable. Upon finding the Command post, our marines will find that all the systems are on the fritz due to power surges from our previously mentioned faulty fusion reactor. The squads are then orders to sweep the rest of the station to find the scientists. At this point we can finally focus down onto our main characters.

At this point, we need to get our marines moving and in a place that will advance the plot. Since we are dealing with a science station and we have an evil corporation, it makes sense to send our squad to a laboratory deck on the station. Since our marines aren’t suppose to access the information on the station to find out about the research going on, they need to find someone to tell them. Now we introduce our wayward and scared scientist who gets to tell the marines that there are no Pegasus commandos on board. Here is where we can finally introduce our actual opponent, an alien species.

In thinking about our actual bad guys, I began to think of a way of introducing a unique opponent as opposed to your standard alien hunting people. To keep the running theme of having an evil corporation, what if the company took an alien and made a human-alien hybrid for purposes of study? This thing then gets loose along with the original alien. This dual threat would keep our marines guessing as to what they are running into. Since we are dealing with a new species, I decided to just call them specimen 52 because why would scientists give a hybrid lab rat an actual name?

With all of this new information, our marines would call in to the Command Deck and inform their commanding officer of the new information. They would then return back and reevaluate the situation. Well, allowing that to happen wouldn’t give us much of a story now would it. Now is the time to cut off our marines and throw a bunch of hybrids at them. Space station, I would think, are designed much like aircraft carriers, lots of small passageways and hallways with lots of stairs. We can through in an elevator or two for good measure. To keep our marines for getting back too easy, the main route back to the Command deck is cut off when there is an explosion on the station that causes a hull breach. Now our marines are forces to take the long way back.

To round out our second paragraph, we can introduce specimen 52 in a surprise attack on our marines. Since we haven’t developed any details on our hybrid yet, we can leave this part vague and develop the specifics later. Suffice to say that it is a surprise attack and one of our marines gets injured during the fight, which we will give a name in the process.

That pretty much covers our second sentence. Our plot has now gone into full steam as our marines have to race back to the rest of the platoon before they are killed by our new deadly hybrid alien species. Here is how that full paragraph looks when put together:

The TCD Austin docks with the seemingly deserted station after not being able to scan the station. Three squads of the platoon spread out and sweep through several decks, which are deserted, to the Command and Operations deck where they establish a command post. Two squads are ordered to sweep the rest of the station to find survivors and report contact with Pegasus hostiles. 1st squad makes their way to the outer laboratory deck of the station on deck 13 where they find  a scientist, Dr. Walter Carr, who is hiding from what he calls specimen 52. On their return sweep to the CNC, there is a hull breach and the main lift and stairwell is destroyed. The group then has their first encounter with species 52. Sergeant Rustovic is injured during the fight.”

Building a Story IV

This is the fourth blog in an ongoing series of designing a story using my writing process so others can get an in-depth look of the process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

In the last blog, we covered the creation of the paragraph overview for our story. It is short, simple, and hits all the points we want to cover in our story. From here we want to expand our single paragraph into multiple paragraphs to add further detail and flesh out our story further. We will be taking each sentence and turning that into a paragraph on its own. Don’t be afraid to change things as you go through this process. Some ideas might sound good to begin with, but when you get into the details of that idea, you may feel that it doesn’t work the way you thought it would. That’s ok. Change it. It’s your story afterall.

World Codex

Before I get into creating our expanded paragraph, I wanted to make a quick note about world building. Some people are good at dreaming up ideas and remembering them in their head until it’s needed. Most of us have to write stuff down to be referenced later. I’m of the latter. I found out pretty quickly that a Sci-Fi story, to be believable, has a lot of technical writing in reference to weapons, vehicles, government, and science.  If you are going to write a believable story, you are going to have to figure out how your world/universe works. What year is it? Do they have bullets or laser guns? Do they have faster than light travel? What kind of space ships? Are their aliens? If so, what kind? How far advanced is the science?

Take some time and figure out the details of your little world. This is where your research skills will come in handy to find inspiration for your unique world/universe. Remember that Sci-Fi is a story of what could be plausible, forget what does or does not work now. If your story is in the year 2500, whose to say we haven’t figured out faster than light travel by then, regardless of what Einstein says. 🙂 I’ll probably write up a blog covering the world building for this story at a later date so you can see the research in action.

Front Line Paragraph

“A platoon of special forces operators from the famed 7th Special Forces Company are deployed to the space research station HC-456 Mendel in the Vega Sector to investigate a distress signal.”

Let’s start with the first sentence of our paragraph and see what we can do to expand it out. This sentence serves as our introduction to the story and world. A lot of the detail here will be setting up what is going to happen in our story and introduce our characters. The first thing to do is figure out a date that our story should be set in. I want it to be in the future and far enough along that space travel is now common and not exploritory. The tech should be established and reliable.  If using today as a starting point, let’s say it takes a hundred years to finally get out and explore our solar system with starships. From there we discover a means of faster-than-light travel (FTL). So that is another hundred years to perfect the technology so it is considered reliable, putting us into 2200’s. So now we spend time exploring and colonizing planets. Even with FTL travel, it takes take to build ships, send supplies, and build colonies. Let’s say another 150 years. Now throw in a war or two for good measure which helps develop and advance military technology (this is a military story after all). After a devastating war, there needs to be time to recover and reestablish society. At this point we are around 2400. Throw in some cold war years against a previous enemy and I think we have reached a point that the tech and science of the universe is solid.

Next we want to add some details about who and where. Now our original sentence has some of that figured out already, but lets go one step further. Our marines will be the CFMC (Confederate Marine Corp). I like the word Confederacy since our main character would be part of a large collection of worlds. A Federation could also work, but is too close to Star Trek for my comfort level. With that in place, the CFMC would answer to  a joint military head, like a  Ministry of Defense.  Next, our research space station will be part of the private sector to add some intrigue, so we need a corporation to run it; Hydra Corporation as I like the imagery of a corporation that has its hands in several different honey pots. Also, a play off of the Red Skull’s Hydram which was a research branch of Hitler’s occult science team in the Captain America movie and comics. Since our corporation is our quasi-bad guys, the imagery is perfect.

Our next topic is what; what is the situation that would cause our marines to go out to this remote research station? Well, our first sentence says their was a distress signal. There are a ton of reasons on why a distress signal would be sent out. Since we are dealing with a research station, lets say that is some black book research involving not so nice stuff. My first thought is that a cold war enemy has breached the station in an attempt to get a hold of the research. In the process, an “experiment” of the research gets loose. That would be a damn good reason to send out a distress signal in my mind.

 Since we are using a secret research station and a evilish corporation, they would want to protect their secrets and use some other story to tell the military. I think we will take the previous idea of using a cold war enemy breaching the station and use that as the corporation’s “cover story” and let the true reason be a mystery at this point in the story. As for who it is, I’m thinking it should be humans as I want an alien to be the true center point of the story, but revealed later. Since we established that their was a cold war, perhaps a group of human controlled planets broke off from the Confederacy over a disagreement of something which turned into a civil war and then a cold war. Let’s call them the Pegasus Republic from the Pegasus Constellation. They make a perfect and believable scapegoat for a evilish corporation to use.

For our next part we need to explain what our marines will be doing and how they will be getting there to wrap up our introducation. Considering the situation, it is a search and rescue mission as the corporation wants to get their people off the station and not risk their own assests to do it. Our marines then will go in an rescue the scientists, but ordered to leave the station alone so the corporation can clean it up later. This will eventually lead to a conflict of interest for our marines who are just trying to survive a new alien threat.

Lastly, our marines (which I’ve nicknamed the Hellcats) will hitch a ride with the CFN (Confederate Navy) to our location. The ship will be called the Austin (after the city I live near since Round Rock doesn’t make for a good ship name) and will be a Mars class Destroyer. The Navy wouldn’t send a carrier out for a simple search and rescue operation as they are too valuable for such a small mission. However, a destroyer packs enough punch to handle small situations by itself and is large enough to carry a company of special forces marines. I picked Mars class to denote that it is a large class version of a naval destroyer. We also need to pick a method of FTL travel. After doing some research, I decided I wanted something unique rather than using wormholes or warp drives. In my research, I stumbled onto an old disproven theory about aether. That got me thinking that if a ship could somehow use aether to “ride” light, they could travel at the speed of light or better. Sounds fun and is certainly unique, so we will stick with that.

I think that about covers are first sentence being expanded into a paragraph. What does it look like all put together? Check it out below.

In 2543, CFMC is ordered by the Ministry of Defense to investigate Hydra Corporation research space station HC-456 Mendel orbiting the planet Omega 692 in the Vega sector. The station sent out a distress signal two weeks ago on the aether about a loss of containment and hostiles breaching the complex. The MOD believes that insurgents from the Pegasus Republic are responsible for the attack. The company is ordered to investigate the station, rescue survivors, and eliminate any hostiles present. Delta Company (Hellcats) board the TCD-112 Austin, a Mars class Destroyer. The trip will be two weeks and seven jumps through aether space.

Building a Story III

This is the third blog in an ongoing series of designing a story using my writing process so others can get an in-depth look of the process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

In the last blog, we covered the Hook for the new story that we are going to write about marines in space. That hook (“A team of special forces Confed marines investigates a distress signal on the fringes of space.”) will serve as the baseline for everything moving forward. It’s simple and basic enough that we have a lot of options moving forward.

Story Length

In looking at what I have in mind, our story could be a full length novel which is usually 90k-110k for a hard science fiction story. The question is, do I want to write a full length novel? My gut says no based on the fact that this is a single mission that our marines will be on in a secluded setting. Sure, I could add a lot of unnecessary details of exposition to increase the length of the story, but I think that would do more harm than good. The story is as long as it needs to be and I am imagining that it would probably fall better into a Novella length of 17k-40k. A nice tight story focusing on our marines in a fight for their lives.

One Paragraph to Rule them all

Now that we know the general length of our story and we have our hook to tell us what we are going to write, it is now time to get into the meat of building our story. The next step in our writing process is to turn our hook into a single paragraph that encompasses the whole story. This paragraph should highlight each major event of our story so we get a better look at how our story will play out.

To start with, we want to figure out how our story begins. That is really the easy part, our marines get deployed somewhere to deal with a distress signal based on our hook. The question now is, who are our marines? Where are they deployed to? Since we are writing about marines, I did a quick read through the US Marine Corps and the British SAS unit structure to get a better idea on how they are put together so I can better design our story to be more authentic. During my reading, I focused on special forces teams such as Navy SEALs, Rangers, SAS, and Delta Force for inspiration and settled on a mixture of Delta Force and Ranger for my story. As for unit designation, I decided on the 7th Special Forces Company in honor of a friend of mine who was in the 7th Infantry Division.

Lastly, for our first sentence, we need a location for our story. I first toyed with the idea of it taking place on a science complex on a distrant planet, but it immediately felt too big. I wanted something more confined and small with a sense of claustraphobia. A space station works much better for this. Now it just needs a name. This is where my wandering mine jumped to what the story will be about: aliens or something similiar and somehow tied in with science. Genetics? I sense a Alien 3 theme here, but better of course. As names should have meaning in a story, I decided on HC-456 Mendel Station named after Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics. The HC-456 stands for Hydra Corporation (our evil science corporation and nod to Red Skull and his Hydra with mad evil science) and 456 stands for Gregor J. Mendel’s initials. For the end of the sentence I put the Vega Sector of space as nod to Wing Commander.

Our second sentence now gets to the setup of the action. Our Marines arrive and then something happens to intiate the action. Well, a platoon of marines is typically 40 soldiers and is way too many people to try and write about at length. So we need a way to break off our main characters from the group. When investigating an unknown location, the military will sweep said location to look for hostiles and dangers. The platoon will break off into squads to make this more efficient and this will allow us to section off our main characters and focus on them. Since we are on a space station, this is very easy to do. By shutting off a main causeway or hallway, we can easily cutoff our squad and force them to take the long way back to safety while fighting our bad alien things.

The next sentence should be plot driven, something that heightens or adds intrigue to the story. Perhaps our marines discover something about the station and the corporation behind it? Maybe the leader of the platoon secretly works for the corporation (or is being paid off by them) and tries to get the squad killed? Eh, I think I will let that last one slide as I want this story to be about comradery rather than treason. So lets go with the first one where the corporation is doing some dark black research work that gets away from them, sort of a play on the quote “the way to hell is paved with good intentions.” When our marines discover information about what is going on, they have a dilemma on their hands that will drive the plot forward with conflict which is always good.

Our last sentence focuses on the end of the book. Our marines, now with a handle full of knowledge, must make their escape while fighting their way through more aliens. A classic climatic ending is having to fight the head alien who stands between them and the way back to their ship. The survivors of the battle finally get away from the station and then must decide whether or not to destroy the station with the aliens and all the research with it. Though it is a pretty standard ending, I like it for its simplicity. There is a reason it is a standard ending, it’s because it works! Twists and turns in an ending are fine to a point, but always remember that readers like some degree of familiarity with the format of a story. If you go too far off the beaten path, you could lose your reader in the end.

With all of that said, here is how my paragraph ended up:

“A platoon of special forces operators from the famed 7th Special Forces Company are deployed to the space research station HC-456 Mendel in the Vega Sector to investigate a distress signal. While at Mendel Station, 1st squad is cutoff from the rest of the platoon when an unknown hostile collapses a causeway. 1st Squad must make their way through the complex while dodging attacks from an unknown alien species. The squad uncovers information about the aliens in a laboratory. The survivors of the squad make their way to their ship, have a final encounter with the aliens before leaving and blowing up the station.”

Building a Story II

This is the second blog in an ongoing series of designing a story using my writing process so others can get an indepth look of the process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

Previously we narrowed down what I wanted to write a story about: Space Marines! My core idea has me giddy with excitment, but what kind of story will I tell? There are a lot of different stories that can be told involving marines, from the downright silly to politically-laced drama to high action heroism and everything inbetween. There are a lot of ways to tell stories about a bunch of military guys doing their thing, I just need to figure out what kind of story I want to tell.

Based on what I like to write, I think that this story will be an action/suspense story. With inspirations from Aliens, Starship Troopers, Wing Commander, Avatar, Act of Valor, Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Battle: Los Angeles, Battleship, ID4 (and I could probably go on forever with movies I like involving aliens and/or the military), I have a lot of material to pull from to make my story great.

The Hook

The first step in getting started is to write the hook for my story. This is an evolution of my Space Marine idea into what I generally want the story to be. Since I’ve decided to do action and suspense in a space setting, I need to determine what sort of situations would invoke those feelings right from the start. With space, one of the most frightening things to imagine is being out in deep space with no one able to help you. Outer space is a vast place, even if one is using faster-than-light travel, and gives a sense of isolation to the situation at hand. This is perfect for adding suspense to a story.

If the story will be in the far reaches of civilized space, why would our marines go there? No one goes on vacation to the fringes of space to relax from a hard day’s work at the office. We want action in our story, and this is a military based story, so naturally our Marines will be sent out to deep space on a mission of some kind.

What kind of mission is the next step in figuring out our hook. My first thought is to do a wartime mission, but that kind of takes away from the suspense and leans more on the action. The aftermath of a war typically sees a big draw down on missions since there is no more enemy so that really doesn’t help either. That leaves us with a cold war setting which does not have a lot of high action war missions, but it does have more covert and limited engagements between enemies.

All together, I have determined that I like marines in deep space doing a covert mission during a cold war with an enemy. Well, that isn’t a great hook, but it is a start. What kind of marines? Well, since this is covert mission, a group of special forces marines would be called in to handle the situation. That now also gives me some nice things to play with in terms of tactics and coolness factor.

Now we have a team of special forces marines on a covert mission during a cold war with an enemy. Since we are writing a suspense story, lets make the enemy unknown and/or uncertain. Since we are doing a covert mission, perhaps the marines are going to a setting of a top secret base that has lost contact with Earth will fit the bill. All of that sounds great, but it is too much information for a hook. Once we condense that down, our special forces marines are doing a cover mission to investigate a lost military base.

Our hook needs to be short and to the point, but not give really anything away. It should be something that draws the reader in out of curiousity. Based on everything from above, the story I’m going to write will use the following hook:

“A team of special forces Confed marines investigates a distress signal on the fringes of space.”

Building a Story I

With my old stuff finally posted, its time to go back and focus on writing. In truth, I was really trying to give myself some extra time to finish planning out a series of blogs that link back to my writing process. I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind that I should give examples of my process to better show you the process in action. So now that I have managed to get enough done to move forward, you can look forward to a big series on seeing my writing process in action. As before, this process works for me. If you find something you like, use it. I won’t even ask for credit.

-Lucas

Previously, I recounted my way of developing an idea into something tangible that you can work with to begin writing you story. Now it is time to turn that theory into practice. We shall build a story together and watch it grow into something awesome.

My Dream Coming to Life

So the first step in our process (sneaky link provided in the header) is to decide what to write. Well, as you have seen by my previous stories, I’m a big ol’ fantasy lover, but I do like to think of myself as a well rounded geek with my love of all things sci-fi. For this little experiment, I thought I would venture away from my usual fantasy and delve into something I don’t write a lot about. Being outside my own comfort zone will force me to use my writing process a lot more in order to organize my thoughts into something workable.

Now that I know I’m writing sci-fi, it’s time to figure out what kind of sci-fi. What is covered under sci-fi genre? Well, sci-fi is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary, but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.

The genre is so large and vast that I really could come up with a thousand different ideas. That doesn’t help me a whole lot so I need to narrow down my field of vision. With that in mind, I immediate think so what I like best in sci-fi and I can’t help but think of some of my favorite books, movies and shows such as Firefly, Aliens, Space: Above and Beyond, Wing Commander, Battle: Los Angeles, Avatar, Star Wars, Star Trek, Ender’s Game, Starship Trooper, and so on and so on. By this short list, I lean towards future, space, and military topics. Not surprising really with my parents and brother being in the military.

So what can I do with future, space, and military? A lot really, which means my idea is still too broad. If I had to rank the points in terms of highest interest to lowest, I would go military, space, future. With this priority, I’m now starting to think of space marines pretty much nonstop, so that is what I will focus on. What makes a good marine story? Well, that is really in the eye of the beholder, but I think a lot of what makes military themed stories work is the band of brothers mentality, fighting against the odds and showing the human spirit. Acts of valor and bravery tends to inspire most people, myself included which will make it fun to write.

Now I know what I’m going to write about, space marines fighting against the odds to save the people they have sworn to protect and to try and keep each other alive against a very dangerous threat. I can work with that. My broad desire has now been focus down into a central core idea. From here I move on to building a workable story, but we will save that for the next blog.

Application for Sainthood (flash story)

This is the last semi-journal entry of the adventures of Karamus as I had to stop playing the game due to life getting busy. He was incredibly fun to play and I hope you had fun reading about his adventures.

-Lucas

So I’m saving people now. I guess I’m not as cold hearted as I wanted to be. When the fire and earthquakes took root in the city of Cauldron, the people lost their minds. The mass hysteria took a special place in my chaotic heart. You get to see how people truly are, their inner self when faced with chaos. Apparently I like to save people who are in dire peril. Sigh.

When everything started, my first thoughts went to my sister and her inability to get away without help. I took off, leaving the group behind to be the goody-goody heroes they think they are. As I raced down the street, I came across Ashton who said Karissa was still at the house. In our moment of meeting, the screams of children filled my ears as some sodding moron was just about to drop an infant out of a window of a burning building. Like I said, the true nature of people shall be revealed.

So as the sod dropped the kid, I dashed over and caught him in mid-air and tumbled to the ground no worse for wear. A second person cried that some girl was trapped inside the burning building. Really? Why the hell would you leave the kid inside a burning building? Cursing, I raced inside to look for the kid, which I found in the middle of an inferno of burning keepsakes. I picked up the whiny thing and turned to leave but that’s when the building collapsed on top of us. Great. Is there some cosmic novelist who is getting a kick out of this? I mean really.

With my toes on fire, I managed to just get a hold of the teleportation scroll that I had in my pouch. Using my feet as a source of light, I was just barely able to read the scroll and picture the Silver Phoenix house in my mind. A moment later, all was well. I handed the kid over to the Archers and told Karissa that we were getting the hell out. Seeing as how she couldn’t really move, I grabbed a nearby wagon outside and started to get her loaded up and sent out of the city.

With that taken care of, I met back up with the group to find out what was going on now. Apparently, there was a lot of talking about what to do and not a lot of action. And they call themselves heroes. Feh. I managed to talk some sense into them that we should go save the Archers as I recalled that it had been requested earlier. Why does the bad man have to come up with the idea to save people. Maybe this world is screwed more than we thought.

Along the way via flight, we came across another burning building with more burning people in need of saving. Naturally, the fire resistant one was elected to go in, find the burning people and save them. Why! Oh gods, why me?

I did it anyway. Looked like it could be fun.

So with a whole family now saved I was pretty sure my place in heaven was pretty secure. With that, we moved on to the Archers’ house by the lake. They were outside already and just as we got there, and I swear that novelist has a sodding sense of humor, the mythical lake monster popped out of the water like a jack-in-the-box. The mere sight of it killed the Archers instantly. Really? Even Seen, Shean, whatever his name was dead. Should have stuck with adventuring I say.

So we fought the thing, and it was more kitten than tiger as we once against saved the day and whipped that poor creatures tail back to the seven layers of hell. By my count, 12 people saved, 6 morons dead, and 1 big dead fish. Sainthood, here I come!

Speak of, this is my application for sainthood, by Karamus

So, the group decided to save people. I’m not against this idea, it certainly makes us look good in the public eye which is always needed for people of my line of work. With the lake creature dead, we headed to the skies and began looking around for citizens in danger. The first of a long list of deeds was witnessing a building collapse onto top of a poor, innocent family. We came down and landed at the rubble and began looking for survivors. With my keen perception abilities I was able to locate the family members quickly and showed Jarvyk and the bear how to best lift the debris so we could get the people out with causing any additional problems. Due to my quick reactions, we were able to save all of the family members.

Once the people were safe and on their way out of the city, we took to the skies once more and looked for more citizens to save. It would not take us long. A fissure and cracked open the ground, trapping a handful of people at the bottom. I realized that, due to the depth of the fissure, we would have to fly down and carry everyone up in order to save them all. Acting quickly, everyone but Bransen made their way down and started to ferry people back up. Greybeard used his mind bending teleports to assist as well after a bit of instruction by me. In less than a minute we were able to get everyone up and out of the fissure before it closed back up.

With those people saved and sent on their way out of the city, we took to the skies once more and, surprise, we found another problem. This time it was a large stampede of livestock moving down the road. We needed to act quickly to make sure no one got trampled by the animals, but the group couldn’t decided the best way to stop stampeding animals. But I did. Withdrawing my wand of web, I activated the wand and dropped an expansive webbing of goo which brought the livestock to a halt. Now, it was my plan to release the web a few seconds later so that we could direct them out of the city, but the wand stopped working and the livestock panicked.

Then the ground erupted.

We all managed to avoid the fire and chucks of rock but the livestock panicked even further and since the webbing was destroyed by the fire, they started their stampede up in the opposite direction. With quick thinking, I took flight and got in front of the stampede as Jarvyk took hold of the lead animal and I directed him on how to best lead the animals out of the city. It was a wild ride but once against, we succeeded.

With that taken care of, we headed back into the city and started looking for more people to save. A few blocks later we came across a group of people who were all standing in place and not moving. The group got in close and quickly realized that there was cooled magma all around. I managed to calm people down to the point were we could carry them out of the area to safety. Once they were on their way out of the city, we started looking for more areas of danger.

Ultimately it began to occur to me that the more we looked, the more problems we found. The biggest problem of the day occurred when a rock slide caused a massive blockage of the escape route out of the city. With tons of rock in the way, the only way the normal people could get through was to clear a path. I quickly pulled my wand of bull’s strength and went to work enhancing several people nearby to get them to help clear debris. Greyback went to work disintegrating a starting point and we did that hard work of clearing away. With a whole lot of people helping us, we managed to get done what would have taken normal people five times as long. It was a shining moment for me.

Satisfied that we had saved who we could, we made our way out of the doomed city ourselves to the north we a large group had set up camp along with Karissa and the Archers. As we settled down in the Silver Phoenix Camp to rest after a hard day’s work of saving people, I spotted the old red dragon circling the city looking for something. I found it interesting that the first time I met this group was when the dragon had come about. The circle is now complete. Time to put the final stamp on this play and defeat a dragon. But first, a good night’s sleep.

Once the dragon is defeated, I would like my coronation to be presented by 75 woman…all naked….my robes should be red silk. None of that velvet stuff as it makes my skin break out……and….a gold scepter…with diamonds…no, diamond clusters…..and good leather pants….black of course….um…followers…of gold…and…puppies….(writing scribbles off)