Friday, February 28, 2014

Progress on the novel project (and More Merlin's Legacy)

Well, the outline on this novel for this series is going well. I've had to research things like private jets, Nuclear weapons, North Korea and Iran. I've been in communication with my co-author on this, and we seem to be thinking along the same line. First fifteen chapters outlined, and I hope to have several more done by Monday. I know this is a bit late, but this creating has been taken up a lot of my time. But to hopefully keep you coming back, here's a little more of Merlin's Legacy, namely, the start of Chapter 3:

***

My first day in Pilgrim Cove started with me waking up in a warm soft bed.
I found the Oates House with problem, and Mrs. Oates, a plump woman somewhere between forty and sixty, welcomed me in and gave me a small, but comfortable bedroom on the second floor in back.
I called mom and dad to let them I had made it safely, but didn't tell them Uncle Lucian had been murdered. Then, after a cup of tea and reading a couple of chapters of the my current novel, I went to bed and slept like a log.
I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. But waking up in that bedroom was one of the most agreeable mornings I had experienced in a long time. The sunlight was clean and bright, and I was gloriously warm under the quilt. I laid there for a few minutes, enjoying the morning. Then with a groan, I sat up and stretched slowly.  As much as I wanted to stay there, I had things to do.
After getting out of bed, used the bathroom, and gotten dressed, I went down to breakfast. I hadn't seen any of the other guests, but Mrs. Oates had tole me about them, so they weren't a surprise when I entered the dining room and found I was the last guess to breakfast.
The young couple sitting next to each other had to be the MacGregors, newly-weds from Burlington enjoying their honeymoon. She was a cute blonde, while he was nice-looking guy. From the way they were looking each other, I don’t think they were really aware of me.
On the other hand, the third guest was more intent on eating through a large stack of blueberry pancakes. Mister Brawn had a round body, round head with a round face, and was as bald as a cue ball. He glanced up as I walked it, looked at me for a few seconds, then went back to eating.
Breakfast conversation was nonexistent. The MacGregors were still in their “I only have eyes for you,” phrase, while Brawn was packing away pancakes and never had an empty mouth to speak with. I settled for a couple of pancakes, some scrambled eggs and bacon, along with a cup of orange juice and a cup of tea. I ate slowly, enjoying the breakfast. After I was finished, I took my dish and cups into the kitchen, leaving the other three involved in their own worlds.
Mrs. Oates was in the kitchen, cleaning up from breakfast. “There was no need to come in, dearie,” she said.
“I was raised to clear my place at the table,” I said with a smile.
She took my plate and cups. “Thank you. Are the others still out there?”
“Yes. Mister Brawn is eliminating any leftover pancakes and the couple are drinking in each other.”
She smiled. “That’s good.” She glanced at the clock. “Charlie should be in his office in a few minutes.”
“Yes, where is Mister Windicott’s office?”
“Town square, next to the town hall. Take a right out of the driveway, Right onto Second Street, then left onto Main Street. It’ll be on your left.”
“Thank you.” I thought for a moment. “Did you know my great-uncle?”
“Lucian?” The smile faded from her face. “He was a great man. He will be missed greatly by many people.”
I nodded. “When I had dinner with the sheriff last night, he told me that Lucian had been murdered.”
She nodded in return. “Yes, it was a great shock to us. We couldn't believe it.”
“What happened?”
“No one knows. Lucian was found out by Table Rock by a pair of wild blueberry pickers. We thought he’s just slipped and fallen, but when they found out he was shot. . . Well, that put the cat among the pigeons.”
“Anyone know what he was out there?”
“At Table Rock?” She shrugged. “No one knows. Lucian was well known for going on long walks around the area, but not at night. He had dinner over at Whitney’s Inn, and that’s the last time anyone saw him alive.”
“Did he have any enemies?”
“I know he rubbed a few people the wrong way.”
“Does that include Damien Brackett?”
Mrs. Oates scowled. “That man is no good,” she said.
“You won’t get any argument from me,” I said. “I met him last night, over at the Whitney’s Inn, and it was loathing at first sight.”
“He’s a bad one,” Mrs. Oates said. “Him and his hoodlum friends, always getting in trouble. If it isn't the Severine boys causing trouble, then it’s that Brackett boy and his friends. The Sheriff’s been trying to build a case against them for a couple of years now, but they always manage to slip out of it. Money and power goes a long way in keeping that boy out of prison.”
“He was harassing Donella Nesbille last night.”
She snorted. “He’s been chasing her for months, but Donella’s a good girl. He can’t harass her at her home — Abby’s armed and isn't afraid to shoot. So, he harasses her at work.”
I nodded. “Donella seems like a nice girl.”
Mrs. Oates smiled warmly. “She’s a lovely girl. Always friendly and cheerful, and so beautiful!”
“She must have a lot of guys chasing her.”
“Oh, they chase, but she doesn't allow herself to be captured. She’s an independent girl.” She glanced up at the clock on the wall behind her. “It’s getting late. I suggest you get moving if you want to see Charlie before he has to go to court.”
“Yes, I should. Thank you for breakfast. It was excellent.”
She beamed at me. “Good day, Mister Merlin.”

***

It took me less than five minutes to find the storefront office of Charles Windicott. Mrs. Oates’s directions were right on target and I found a empty parking space quickly. I climbed out, feeling the cool of the breeze off the Atlantic, and looked around.
The town square was defined by a small park with a gazebo in the center, surrounded by a few large trees and benches. The park was bordered by streets on all four sides, and two-story buildings on three sides of the square, and a large three-story building that had to be town hall was on the same side of the square where I was parked. I could see couple of a dozen people out and about, and traffic was seven or eight cars driving slowly around the square.
In front of the gazebo, a statue was standing on a ten-foot tall pedestal facing the town hall. The statue depicted a man wearing a pilgrim’ outfit, including hat, arms behind his back, glaring at the building in front of him. Unlike a lot of other statues I’d seen, there was very little green oxidation on the statue. A large plaque, also lacking the green of weathering, was attached to the front of the pedestal, but I was too far away to see what was written on it.
I scanned the buildings on the other three sides. The ground floors were all storefronts —   An accountant, bakery, antiques, florist, bank, cafĂ©, hardware, real estate, and a bookstore were among the business I saw as I looked around. I also noticed a few empty storefronts, telling me that the economical problems had made it all the way up here.
The law offices I wanted were next to the town hall and I walked past two empty storefronts to reach them. The display windows were clear of any obstructions and I could see some chairs and a desk. In the door was the important information.

Charles E. Windicott, Esq.
Raymond H. Blount, Esq.
Margaret. F. Teague, Esq.
Attorneys at Law 
Wills-Family-Civil-Criminal

Underneath was a phone number and business hours. Steeling myself for what was to come, I opened the door and entered.
The waiting area consisted of a dozen chairs, broken into smaller groups by low tables piled with magazines. The carpet was industrial gray, the walls white, with framed reproduction seascape prints. There were a couple of potted plants, several plaques on the wall, and a single desk facing the front door.
A woman sat at the desk, the only other person in the office. I judged her to be in her mid-or late twenties, short brown hair done in a pageboy cut, features that made her pretty in a severe way, and a pale complexion. She was wearing an off-white blouse, and blue suit jacket. She looked up when I walked in. “Can I help you?” she asked in a strong New England accent.
“I would like to see Charles Windicott,” I said, walking toward her.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No.”
She exhaled slowly. “I’m not sure he can see you today. He has—”
“I’m Roger Merlin, Lucian’s great-nephew and heir.”
“—  a number. . . Oh,” she said in a startled tone. A nameplate on her desk read CATHY WELMER.
“I got into town last night,” I said.
“Yes. . .ah. . .I’ll inform him you’re here,” she said, standing up quickly. She had a decent figure and was wearing a knee-length skirt. “If you’ll wait.”
She turned and strode away, deeper into the office. Behind her the same motif as the lobby, only instead of chairs and side tables, there were file cabinets and several doors. She stopped at one door that had a small plaque affixed upon it, knocked, waited for a response, then entered. I stood there and looked around. The place had a vibe of dry dullness of old paper and complex sentences.
I only had to wait for a few seconds before Cathy come out and looked at me. “Could I see some ID please?” she said briskly, walking back to the desk. I took out my wallet, removed my driver’s licence and handed it to her. Her eyes fell on the ring and for a brief instance, I saw either fear or anger, but it was gone as quickly as it had come. “Thank you,” she said. She looked at it, then walked back to the same door and entered.
A minute passed before she appeared again. She gave me a smile that seemed a little forced and said, “Mister Windicott will see you now. If you’ll come one back?” I walked past her desk and entered the office. Cathy held the door open and I thanked her as I walked by.
The room was an office that matched the lobby in carpet and walls, only there were no windows. This one had bookcases a desk, several chairs, and a couch. The man behind the desk popped up as soon as I walked in. “Roger!” he said in a “happy to see you” tone. “Welcome to Pilgrim’s Cove!”
Charles Windicott was a thin man in his mid-forties, balding, with a Roman nose and thin lips. He had bushy eyebrows over a pair of large brown eyes. He wore a pinstripe suit, wide striped tie, and when I shook his hand, I noticed the large gold wristwatch he wore. He twisted the handshake so he could see the ring.
“Please, take a seat!’ he said, smiling broadly after releasing my hand. He looked at Cathy. “I’ll need Lucian Merlin’s file and a cup of coffee.” He looked at me. “Would you like some coffee?”
“No thank you.”
Cathy left, closing the door behind her. I took one of the padded chairs in front of his desk while he sat down again.  He folded his hands on the desk and peered at me. “Oh my,” he said breathlessly as he saw the yellowing bruising on my face. “What happened?”
“I was jumped by three goons in my apartment last week,” I said, leaning back in my chair.
“My god!”
“They were demanding the letter you sent me.”
Windicott’s eyes widened in surprise. “How did they know about the letter?”
“I don’t known, but they knew about it before I did.”
He slumped back in his chair. “This is distressing, most distressing.” He looked down then up. “I owe you an apology, Roger. I would have contacted you earlier, but someone broke in here the same night Lucian died and rifled through my files. It took me and Cathy several days to find your contact information.”
“I see,” I said. “Sounds like someone didn’t want me to find out about Uncle Lucian being murdered.”
Windicott was startled. “How did you find out about that?”
“I ran into Sheriff Walker last night as I was coming into town, and he told me.”
“Oh.” The lawyer shook his head. “I don’t know what to say. Everyone like Lucian. I don’t know who could have done such a thing to him or to you.”
“That’s the impression I’m getting from the people I've already talked to.”
“Yes, Lucian was a rare man — he managed to get along with just about everybody.”
There was a knock at the door and Cathy entered, carrying a thick folder and a ceramic mug. She placed them in front of Windicott and left without saying a word. Windicott opened the file and scanned the first several pages. “Lucian was my client and my friend for nearly ten years,” he said, not looking up from the file. “On most legal matters, he let me handle the details. But when it came to his will, he was most demanding.”
“I see,” I said.
“He states that you are the sole heir to his estate, saying that you ‘have a special gift that will benefit from my labors.’ As of this minute, his estate is valued at thirty million dollars, most of it held in a trust. In addition to the valuables, you are now the owner of Camelot.”
“Camelot?”
“Yes. You can into town via route 189, right?”
“Yes.”
“You say the estate on the headland across from the lighthouse?”
“Yes. . .That’s Camelot?”
He nodded. “Twenty acres of land and three houses on the estate,. In addition, you now own four buildings inside the town limits and two more outside of it. All except the Potter mansion are occupied and are adding a modest profit to the portfolio. There are also a few out of state investments, which I will go over with you later. But there were a few stipulations that Lucian insisted that you follow before you inherit. The first, wearing the ring, is completed. He made it very clear that you were to receive the ring as soon as possible.”
I looked down at the ring, the red gemstone shining in the overhead light. “It’s a good fit,” I said.
He nodded. “The second stipulation is that you must promise to make Camelot your main residence for a minimum of seven years, and you are not allowed to sell the estate for at least twenty-five years.”
“Oh.” I hadn't expected that.
“Is that going to be a problem?”
I puffed out a breath. “Not really,” I replied. “I didn't know how long I was going to be up here, so I quit my jobs back home, and I don’t have many close friends. My parents live in Florida, my sister works for the Department of Defense, and my brother’s in the junior year of college. I rent an apartment, but the lease is up in a couple of months, so getting out of that not a problem. Yes, I promise to make Camelot my main residence for at least seven years, and I will not sell the estate for at least twenty-five years.”
Windicott smiled. “The last stipulation that needs to addressed at once. Lucian wanted you to spend one night in the main house by yourself. Should you do that, then Lucian’s estate is yours.”
I frowned. “When do I have to do that?”
“It states as soon as possible upon being informed of it, which means tonight.”
“Oh.”
Windicott looked at his watch. “I have to be in court in an hour, but I’ll be free this afternoon to take you to the estate and show you around.”
“That’ll be fine.”

***

That's all for now!

Craig


Monday, February 24, 2014

More of Merlin's Legacy, Chapter 2

Well, I am working on the outline/chapter breakdown of this novel for this series I'm trying to get into. First eight chapter are (sort of) plotted, and hopefully will have three or four more done before the end of the week. Right now, it's just as much research as plotting, as I have to get an idea about locations and background. About the series background, there have been a few discussions with the author behind the series, but I have only a few basic facts and basic character background for the series' main characters to work with.

To keep this from being a real short blog entry, here's more of Merlin's Legacy, Chapter 2. Keep in mind that is is a first draft you're seeing and some, if not all, will be rewritten:

***

We walked into a small lobby, where we were met by a short plump woman, dressed in colonial garb. “Thank you, Sheriff,” she said. “I was afraid those two were up to no good.”
“No charge,” Walker said with an easy grin. “Sandy, I want you to meet Roger Merlin, Lucian’s great-nephew.”
Sandy smiled at me. I judged her to be in her mid-forties, blue-eyed, cherubic face, with wisps of blonde hair escaping from under her white cap.. Her handshake was strong though.
“Roger, this is Sandy McIntyre. Her family has owned this inn for nearly two hundred years.”
“A pleasure to meet you,” she said. She looked at Walker. “Table for two?”
He nodded and she plucked two menus from a rack near a doorway. “Follow me.”
The dining room of the inn matched the exterior. The modern was seamless blended into Colonial styling, making you feel as if you had taken a step back to the time of George Washington. The stone walls matched the exterior, with large landscapes hanging on them. Wood was everywhere, the floor, ceiling beams, tables and chairs, all dark with age and wear. Light was provided by small table lamps made to look like lanterns and a pair of chandeliers hanging over the center of the dining room. Recorded music, soft classical was audible over the murmuring of the patrons and employees.
Sandy led us to a table that was next to a window looking out over Pilgrim’s Cove. After she left, we took a couple of minutes to look over the menu. “So,” Walker said, “Have you been up here before?”
I shook my head. “I went to Vermont once, to visit my sister who was in college, but I've never been up here before.”
“You didn't know your Great-Uncle was living up here?”
“Not a clue. I talked to dad and he talked to his brothers. No one in the family had heard from him in ten years. Even before that, he wasn't around much.”
“Must have been a shock to you when you learned he’d died.”
I frowned. “Sheriff, what’s going on? I don’t like the direction these questions are going.”
He placed his menu down, put his hands on the table, and looked at me. “All right. Lucian Merlin was murdered nearly two weeks ago.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “Murdered?” I said woodenly.
Walker nodded. “He was found at the base of Table Rock. At first, we thought he’d just fallen, but the autopsy discovered he’d been shot, then fell.”
I slumped back in my chair and stared at him blankly. Who would do such a thing?”
“We don’t know. The investigation is still open.”
I didn't know what to say. Before I could say anything, a voice said, “Hi, Sheriff.”
I looked up and found myself staring at the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.
That may sound like hyperbole, but not to me. Tall, willowy, with light brown hair peeking out from beneath her cap, she was a girl that you couldn’t help but notice. Her face had the beauty of the girl next door, rather than the a model’s, but it was just as stunning. Her eyes were deep green and I found myself drawn into them.
A loud cough cut through my fascination and I quickly yanked myself back into the presence of Walker and the inn. Walker was smiling, and the poor girl looked embarrassed. “Donella,” the sheriff said, ‘This is Roger Merlin, Lucian’s great-nephew. Roger, this is Donella Nesbille. She and her aunt rent a house from Lucian.”
“O-oh,” I stammered. I hunched down in my chair, wishing I could disappear. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” she said. “What are you doing up here?”
“I’m. . .er. . .I’m here to w-wrap up my uncle’s estate,” I said, trying not to sound lame and failing.
“You’re wearing Lucian’s ring,” Donella said.
I looked at the ring, which hadn't left my finger since I’d put it one the week before. “It was with the letter Mister Windicott sent me.”
“Could I look at that letter?” Walker asked.
I glanced up at Donella, who was shifting from foot to foot in impatience. “Why don’t we order first?’ I said.
Walker smiled again. “All right.”
We ordered and Donella fled. I watched her walk away and sighed. Walker chuckled and turned back to look at him. “Sorry,” I muttered. “She must think I’m a jerk.”
“She’s a beautiful girl,” Walker said. He motioned to the ring. “Windicott send that to you?”
“Yes.” I reached down for the fanny pack. “I have the letter right here.”
I removed it and handed it over to the sheriff. He took it out of the envelope and read it slowly. After he finished, he folded it and put back in the envelope and handed it back to me. “that explains the ring,” he said. “Charlie’s out of town right now, but he should be back late tonight.”
“What can you tell me about Uncle Lucian?” I asked. “I only met him a few times, and I know almost nothing about him.”
Walker leaned back and looked at me for a few seconds. “Lucian Merlin was the kindest, gentlest man I've even know. Never had a bad word to say about anyone, and was always the first in line when something needed doing.”
“Did he ever marry?”
“Not that I know of. He did mention once that the woman he loved died during World War Two, but never went into any more detail than that.”
“Did you know what he did for a living?”
Walker scratched an eyebrow. “He was a consultant,” he replied. “He did work at all levels of government and private sector, both here and abroad, and was gone several days a month. He never went into any details, but I know the work he did was important.”
Walker then told me several stories about Uncle Lucian that showed his humanitarian side. As the Sheriff told it, there were few in Pilgrim’s Cove that hadn't been touched by Lucian’s generosity in one way or another. When the local Methodist church needed a new roof, Lucian spearheaded the fund drive and contributed a lot of cash, despite Lucian not being a member of any church. When a storm damaged several fishing boats and the owners couldn't afford the repairs, Lucian floated every one of them a loan, and gave them several years to pay it back, without interest. Ever boat owner paid Lucian back within the time frame.
With every story, I felt more and more like I had missed an important person. Donella, looking a little more composed, appeared with our dinners. Steak and mash potatoes for me, chicken breast and a salad for the sheriff. I looked out the window, not wanting to embarrass her again. Then she was gone, and we started eating.
We didn't talk about Uncle Lucian or his case. Instead, Walker filled me on the basics of Pilgrim’s Cove and a little bit about himself. Population was about a thousand full-time residents, though during the height of summer, there could be another three hundred visitors and tourists. Tourism and fishing were the town’s main industries, and the Pilgrim’s Cove Lighthouse was a national historical landmark. Walker himself had been a Boston PD detective before retiring early, moving up here and taking the post of sheriff.  He was married, with three kids.
I returned the favor and told him a little bit about myself. Middle child of three, U of Md grad, but hadn't found the right job before the economy went south, and had been working three jobs to make ends meet. I told him about the thugs who attacked me, and the demand for the letter.
That caught Walker’s attention. “They demanded the letter?”
“Yeah. I didn't have a clue about it until I looked through my mail two days later.”
“Interesting. you had no idea the letter was coming?”
“None.”
Donella came by with refills, coffee for the sheriff and tea for me. I inhaled slowly, and said, “Miss Nesbille—”
“Donella, please,” she said, “Miss Nesbille is my aunt.”
I inhaled again. “Donella,” I said. “I’m sorry if I caused you any discomfort earlier. I’m not usually so. . .idiotic.”
She gave me a soft smile and said, “Apology accepted.” Then she was gone, off to another table.
I exhaled slowly. Walker chuckled. “I take it you don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Is it that obvious?”
“Yeah, but don’t feel bad. She has that effect on most single men under thirty, and a few over thirty. But I think I should warn you that her aunt is no shrinking violet. She’s a retired FBI agent and fiercely protective of her niece.”
I wilted. “I’m not looking for a girlfriend,” I said in a low voice. “Besides, she probably has a dozen guys lining up to ask her out.”
“You would think so, wouldn't you?” Walker asked.
We finished dinner and I ordered desert, apple pie with home-made strawberry ice cream. Walker begged off, saying that he had to watch his weight. After Donella left to fill my order, he looked at me over his coffee. “What are your plans while you’re up here?”
“I don’t know yet,” I replied. “I have to talk to Mister Windicott and find out exactly want Uncle Lucian left me and go from there.”
He nodded. “No idea what your great-uncle left you?”
“Only what Mister Windicott mentioned in his letter.”
“”Sheriff,” a smooth voice said. Walker’s expression tighten, then relaxed into a neutral mask.”Damien,” he said, his tone a couple of degrees cooler than I expected.
I looked up and found a guy standing there. If this had been California, I would have called him a surfer bum. He was taller than me, well-built, with wavy dirty-blond hair, a chiseled face, and dreamy blue eyes.
“How’s it going?” Damien asked in a tone that was several notes short of genuine..
“It could be going better,” Walker replied.
I felt my hackles rise. Something was bugging me about this guy.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Damien said, his tone losing a couple more notes as he looked at me. His smile was predatory. “And you are?”
If he thought I was going to wilt, he was mistaken. I smiled, making sure I showed teeth. “New to town.”
The smile faulted for a second, then increased. “I’m Damien Brackett, My family owns most of the town.”
My smile increased. “I’m Roger Merlin, and I don’t give a damn who the hell you are.”
I saw the surprise in Damien’s eyes, but he quickly replaced it with a imperious twist of his mouth. “You have no idea who you dealing with.”
“A bully,” I replied.
“Gentlemen,” Walker said, his tone sharp.
Damien looked back at him. “Sorry, Sheriff,” he said.
“Excuse me, Damien,” Donella said. She was standing behind him, my pie and ice cream in hand.
Damien turned to look at her. “Oh sorry,” he said much more smoothly. He stepped back, allowing Donella to place the dessert in front of me. “Want to go out after your shift?”
Donella gave him an icy stare. “No,” she said flatly.
“It’s been two weeks.”
“The lady said no,” I said.
He turned back to look at me. While he was doing that, Donella retreated back to the kitchen. “Stay out of this,” he said. “This is between me and her.”
“Roger’s right,” Walker said, rising to his feet. “I suggest that you leave now.”
Damien looked from me to the sheriff and back again. He looked around and found she’d gone. He stiffened, then turned back and looked at me. “You win this round, Merlin,” he said coldly. “Finish your business and get out of town and back to Maryland.”
“That sounds like a threat,” Walker said.
Damien looked at him. “Merely good advice. Sheriff.” He walked away, and part of me wanted to get up, spin the bastard around and punch him in the mouth.
“Not worth the effort,” Walker said.
“I looked at him. “What?”
“I saw your expression,” he said. “And while it would be gratifying to watch you punch that arrogant son of a bitch, I’d have to arrest you for assault.”
“Sorry,” I said. “I have a low tolerance for bullies. Used to be bullied when I was a kid, until I started taking martial arts. Once I started fighting back, they left me alone.”
“It’s not so simple up here,” Walker said. “The Bracketts own about fifty percent of the land within a dozen mile radius, including the town itself. Old man Brackett isn't too much of a bastard, but Damien makes up for it.” He scowled. “Damien is a wastrel who loves being lazy, booze and girls.”
“Lucian have any problems with him?”
Walker thought for a second. “Haven’t heard anything solid, but I know Damien and his pals started avoiding him about three years ago. That was right after Damien and three of his friends were found naked, painted blue, and duct-taped to the Gazebo in the town square. Couldn't prove that Lucian was behind that and none of Damien’s group cooperated. Never did get any sense out of them about what happened that night.”
“Sounds like Lucian has the right attitude,” I said.
“Lucian never did like bullies.”
“You don’t think that he had something to do with Lucian’s death?”
Walker sighed. “He has a solid alibi. He was at a party his parents had at their house, and half a dozen people can swear he wasn't out of their sight for more than two or three minutes at any time. Solid, respected people too.”
I dipped my spoon into the ice cream. “Do you have any suspects?”
“I can’t say. Ongoing investigation.”
“Of course.” I looked out the window. Night had fallen, and I could see the lights of the town, and the moon’s reflection off the waters of the bay. “It’s beautiful.”
“Wait a few more weeks, when the fall foliage comes in. That is spectacular.”
“I guess so.” I tried to cover a yawn, and failed.
“Long day?”
“Very.”
“Do you have a place to stay?”
“Not yet.”
“You can try the Oates House, on Elm. She runs a bed and breakfast and has a couple of rooms open.”
“Sounds like what I need.”
He gave me directions as I finished up the wonderful dessert. After that, I left a large tip for Donella, settled my bill with Sandy (Which was reasonable) and followed Walker out to the parking lot. I followed him into town and we went our separate ways.

***

Back to outlining!

Craig

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A bit more of Merlin's Legacy

In the last week, a chance has come up to get in on the ground floor of a new novel series, so I'm going to be devoting my time toward that. So, to keep my blog going, I'm going to post part of Chapter 2 of Merlin's Legacy, and then start some discussion on my progress on the series novel. For now, Here's more of Merlin's Legacy. Keep in mind that is is a first draft you're seeing and some, if not all, will be rewritten:

***

        It was a week later before I could make the trip up to Maine. In that time, I had to quit all three jobs, because there was no telling how long I was going to be in Maine, and I didn't want to leave them hanging. Also in that week, Dad had talked to his brothers about Uncle Lucian, but they had nothing to add what Dad had told me. Lucian was a cipher, even to them.
I took a flight from BWI to Boston’s Logan Airport, rented a car and started driving north. It was late summer, so Fall foliage was still weeks away. I took I-95 through New Hampshire to the Maine Turnpike, the I-295 to US Route 1 North. Kennebunk, Freeport, Rockland, Bucksport and Cherryfield all fell behind me as I made my way to the area of Maine that was commonly known as Downeast coast.
A state route took me to Pilgrim’s Cove and I my first view of the town was from the crest of a hill. A hundred or so houses were clustered around a small bay formed by two headlands that jutted out into the Atlantic Ocean. On one headland, I could see a tall lighthouse, what the other one looked someone’s estate. The bay itself had a harbor and several dozen boats of all sorts were clustered in it. It looked like a nice quiet town.
My stomach rumbled, reminding me I hadn't eaten since that morning. As I went down the hill, I spotted a large stone building to my right, with a half-filled parking lot. A large sign proclaimed “WHITNEY’S YANKEE INN. FINE DINING SINCE 1771.”
I thought about it for maybe three seconds before I turned into the parking lot. The building looked as if it had been around for over two hundred years, stone slabs mortared into place, dark wood trim and doors and narrow windows. The parking lot was loose stone, with a low wooden rails marking out the lot’s perimeter. The cars were a mix of old and new, mostly Maine licence plates, with a couple of out of state plates mixed in.
I parked near the inn and got out. I’d dressed for comfort rather than appearance, a gray windbreaker over a golf shirt, military style pants and work boots. I wore a fanny pack with the letter and a few other items I wanted to keep on hand at all times. I took a second to stretch and work the kinks out of a long drive. As I did so, I looked around, getting a feel for the area.
It was near dusk, and it was cool. According to the weatherman I’d listened to on the way up, there was a cold front coming through the area and temperatures were going to be ten degrees below normal for the next several days. There were trees along the parking lot’s perimeter, and the ground sloped away from the lot.
I’d only taken a couple of steps when I saw a couple of shifty-looking guys come around the corner of the Inn and walk toward me. Both of them were on the thin side, a little taller than me, with similar narrow faces, unshaven and deeply sunken eyes. One was wearing a dirty green baseball cap, while the other one was bareheaded and both were wearing clothes that hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in a month. In a bad light, they might be mistaken for zombies.
I saw them at the same time they saw me. Neither one looked friendly as they moved to block my path to the inn. “Well, Gene,” No hat said, his voice too scratchy to be menacing.  “Looks like we have us a visitor.”
Baseball cap, who I assumed was Gene nodded. “Mister,” he said to me, Me and Mel here are the local welcoming committee.”
“Really?” I said in the most neutral tone I could manage.
“Looks like you had a problem recently,” Mel said, motioning to his own eyes.
“A disagreement,” I replied. Even after a week, my bruises hadn't completely faded .
“Well,” Gene said with a smile that exposed teeth that were yellower than a banana’s skin. We can help you avoid any misunderstandings with the locals — for a suitable fee, of course.”
“Of course,” I said. “Thank you for your offer, but I think I’ll pass.”
Both Mel and Gene scowled and moved toward me. “You’re making a mistake,” Mel said.
I took a deep breath, caught a whiff of body odor, and nearly gagged. Apparently their cloths weren’t the only thing that had been avoiding being washed in a while. I stepped back, my hands curling into fists. “It’s a free country,” I said.
The sharp sound of a siren from behind me was accompanied by red and blue lights bouncing off the walls of the inn. As quick as they appeared, they vanished, but I could hear a car engine idling and a car door opening. “Well,” a deep voice said from behind me, “Mel and Gene. Where have you been hiding?”
Both men shrank back. “We’re not doing nothing, Sheriff” Gene said in a simpering tone.
“I’m sure,” the voice said, dripping with sarcasm. “You know the drill, boys. On your knees, hands behind your head.”
Both of them complied. I waited until both of them were on my knees before I stepped back and turned to look at the police officer.
The officer was standing by his cruiser. He was taller than me by several inches, broad-shouldered and looking every inch a police officer. At first glance, he reminded me of a slightly older Denzel Washington, and his expression was stony. “Walker to dispatch,” he said into a radio attached to his jacket. “Get someone up to Witney’s ASAP. I found the Severine boys.”
“Paul’s on his way,” a female voice said.
“Good,” Walker replied, then looked at me. “Are you okay sir?”
“I’m fine,” I replied with a wave.
“These two didn't hurt you?”
“This?” I asked, motioning to my face. “Happened last week a thousand miles away from here. I’m fine. You showed up just in time.”
“Good. Where are you from?”
“Maryland.”
“Long way for a vacation.”
I shook my head. “Business, I’m afraid. I’m here to settle my great-uncle’s estate.”
“Who’s your great-uncle?”
“Lucian Merlin.”
I heard a gasp from one of the Severines and I glanced at them. Both of them looked like they were ready to get up and run. But Walker growled, “Gene, Mel, stay where you are.”
I looked back at the sheriff, who was eyeing me. You’re Lucian’s great-nephew then?”
“Yes. Lucian was my grandfather’s brother. None of the family knew he was still alive until I got the latter from Lucian’s lawyer.”
“Who’s the lawyer?”
“Charles Windicott.”
Just then, another police car pulled into the parking lot. A second officer got out and looked at Walker. “Where are they?” Walker pointed and the second officer grimaced. “Aw, Sheriff. It’s going to take me weeks to get the smell out of my car!”
“Then the quicker you get them into jail, the better.”
“Can’t I hose them down first?”
“Deputy Hartwell,” Walker said in a tone of resigned patience. “Arrest the Severine boys and charge them with public disorder, panhandling, and public intoxication. I want them processed before I finish dinner.”
Hartwell didn't look happy, but he complied, and five minutes later, both Severine boys were cuffed and in the back of Hartwell's car. As they were being driven off the lot, Walker turned to me. “Sorry about that,” he said, his tone changing to a warmer one. He walked over and held out his hand. “TJ Walker, I’m Pilgrim’s Cove’s Sheriff.”
I took the hand. “Roger Merlin,” I said.
We shook hands. Walker glanced back at his car. “Tell you what,” he said. “Let me park my car, and you can join me for dinner.”
“Okay,” I replied.
***

Craig

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Rest of Merlin's Legacy, Chapter One

Okay, the rest of Chapter One.....

***

I slept like a log for fourteen hours and felt like one when I woke up — stiff and cracking. I ached from the kicks and other blows and I hope the thugs were feeling the same way I was. I got out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. One look at my torso showed me the red and blues were now joined with a tinge of yellow, adding more to the abstract art that was my torso. As for my face, I looked like a surly raccoon.
After a careful shower and breakfast, I tidied up a little more. I took a break, picked up the mail and want over to my recliner and sat. I went through my mail, tossing the junk mail out, dropped a couple of credit card offers on the end table next to me to be shredded and sent back to the credit card companies, and putting aside a couple of magazines to be read through later. Half way through, I came across an legal-sized envelope that wasn't junk, nor was it from an address I recognized, someplace in Maine. I used my letter opener, slit the envelope open, and took the contents out.
Several folded thick cream-colored papers were inside. Frowning, I unfolded the papers and a couple of somethings dropped into my lap. I picked the first one up and stared at it. A cashier’s check for fifteen hundred dollars stared back at me. Once I was convinced that it wasn't a figment of my imagination, I picked up the second item.
It was a man’s ring, gleaming silver, with a pair of finely detailed dragons forming the band and holding a large red gemstone between their claws, all of it done by someone who knew their craft. I got the impression of great age, despite it looking like it had been made recently.
I put the ring and check on the table next to my recliner and read the letter.


Mister Merlin,

It is with heavy heart that I must inform you that your Great-Uncle, Lucian Augustus Merlin, died the first of this month. I was Lucian’s lawyer for fifteen years and I considered myself his friend as well as his legal advisor.
This letter is to inform you, Roger Alvin Merlin, have been named Lucian Merlin’s sole heir of his estate, an estate that is valued over twelve million dollars. I ask that you come here, to Pilgrim’s Cove, Maine, to take control of your great-uncle’s estate as soon as possible. Lucian was most insistent on that. The cashier’s check is to cover your travel expenses, and the ring is to be worn immediately as the symbol of Lucian’s heir. Lucian was insistent on that also.
I hope you will respond to this letter in a timely matter. Lucian was my friend and I wish to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

Respectfully yours,
Charles Windicott, Esq.

I read the letter again, then looked at the other sheets of paper. They were instructions on how to get to Pilgrim’s Cove, which was located on the cost, near the Canadian border.
I sat back and rubbed my chin. I vaguely remembered my Great-Uncle Lucian for a couple of family gatherings. A older man with clear gray eyes and a sad smile who watched us kids race around and play. But otherwise, I couldn't remember much about him.
I picked up the phone and dialed the best person I could think of for answers.
“Hello,” the voice on the other end said.
“Hey dad,” I said. “I need to talk to you.”
“About what?”
“Uncle Lucian.”
“Oh?”
I told him about the letter, the check, and the ring. When I was finished, he let out a long exhaled and said, “Wow. I thought he died years ago.”
“Apparently not,” I said. “Did Uncle Lucian ever marry?”
“Not that I know of. Lucian wasn't the most sociable person in the family. Don’t get me wrong — Lucian was always friendly and generous to the family when they needed help. But I haven’t heard from him since dad’s funeral.”
I frowned. Grandpa’s funeral was a dozen years in the past, and the Merlin Clan wasn't a huge one. “Do you know what he did for a living?”
“Not a clue,” my dad replied. “He told me once he was a consultant, but I have no idea in what field. It sounds like he was good at it.”
“Do you remember the ring?”
“I do. I asked him about that once. He said it was a family heirloom.”
“What can you tell me about him?”
My dad sighed. “Not a lot. He was dad’s younger brother, fought in World War Two, traveled the world, and visited the family every couple of years. He was there for the birth of all the kids, including yours.”
“Mine?”
“Yes. When your mother went into the hospital, he turned up out of the blue and stayed around until you was born. Once were delivered, he stayed around long enough to congratulate me, then left. He did the same with Miranda and AJ. I still don’t know how he knew when and where you kids were being born, but he always knew.”
"So, you don’t know much about him?”
“Come to think of it, no, I don’t.”
“Could you talk to Uncle Jim and Uncle Fred? Maybe they know something you don’t.”
“I doubt it, but I’ll give them a call and see if they can shed any more light on Uncle Lucian.”
We talked for a few more moments. I assured him I was all right and would think about the trip. After I hung up, I picked up the ring and stared at it for a few seconds, then carefully, I put it on my finger. It slid on easily, as if it had been sized for me.
Suddenly, my eyes felt heavy and I felt myself lying back in my recliner. My eyes closed and I dreamed.
I was lying on my back, staring up at the ceiling. I couldn't see much and it was hard turning my head. I felt my arms and legs waving, but it didn't feel right. I tried saying something, but all that came out of my mouth were sounds that didn't make sense. I finally managed to look to my left and saw a clear plastic panel rising. Beyond that, there was a small cradle with a baby in it, and beyond that one, another cradle. slowly, I looked to my right, and saw the same thing – a ling of babies in cradles. I caught sight of my hand and stared at it. It was a baby’s hand, small pink and chubby. I glanced at my other hand, with the same result. I was a baby?
Suddenly, someone appeared over my crib. On older man with clear gray eyes and a sad expression. “Hello Roger,” he said softly. “I’m your Uncle Lucian. This will take just a second.” He reached out and gently placed a finger on my forehead. “Deprehendere Magicae Facultas,” he muttered.
I felt something. I don’t know what, but it was like a warm glow covering me. My eyes widened as I felt good. I burbled happily and tried grabbing Lucian’s finger.
Lucian, on the other hand, looked unhappy. “I’m sorry, Roger,” he said slowly. “Your future has already been written. The least I can do is make sure you enjoy your life before you’re called.” He caressed my face and whispered, “Artus.”
I woke up and looked around. My apartment, check, Sitting in my recliner, check. My hands normal, check. I shook my head to clear the last of the cobwebs. “Weird dream,” I muttered.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Early Scene From Merlin's Legacy

Felt lousy the last couple of days, so not thinking abut the magic end of things. To keep things on schedule, here's the second scene from the first chapter of Merlin's Legacy. As before, this is subject to change, as it is a first draft....

***

I spent twelve hours in the local hospital’s emergency room. In addition to a torso that was rapidly becoming a abstract work of art, the bastard who punched me in the face cracked my nose, leaving me with two black eyes. The bill wasn't cheap either — five thousand dollars that I didn't have.
The detective who interviewed me, a shallow-faced man with a bushy mustache who introduced himself as Sergent Haylock, didn't give me any hope my attackers were going to be caught anytime soon. He asked his questions with a droning tone, took down my answers in his little notebook, and asked questions about my uncles and any letters their lawyers might send me. He then wandered into the idiotic portion of the interview. “Do you owe anyone money?”
“No one that would send masked thugs after me,” I replied. “Besides, I’m not far enough behind on any of my bills to provoke anything more then a request for payment.”
“Any enemies?”
“No.”
“Are you involved in any illegal activities?”
“No. I don’t have time. I’m working three jobs as it is.” He asked me where I worked and I told him.
He seemed surprised that one of my jobs was teaching martial arts at one of the local schools. “I thought you’d would have done a better job of defending yourself.”
I had to fight to keep my temper under control. “I was tired. I worked all three jobs today, and I’d been up since five am. The last place I expected to be attacked was in my own apartment.”
“Yes, your apartment,” Haylock said, scribbling something into his notebook. “Who has a key to it?”
“Besides myself and the corporation that owns the apartment? No one. I never gave out any duplicate keys.”
“No ex-girlfriend?”
“Haven’t had a girlfriend in six months, and she never had a key to my apartment. Our relationship never got to that point.”
“There’s no signs of forced entry.”
“Maybe they picked the lock,” I said.
“If they did, they were very good at it. Did you keep anything valuable in the apartment?”
I shook my head and winced at the pain. "Nothing that was worth breaking in and beating me to a pulp.”
After half an hour of questioning, Haylock declared that he was finished and left. I dozed a little until my younger brother showed up to take me home.
Most people don’t believe we’re brothers. I’m short and thick with dark eyes and hair, while AJ (Only our mom calls him Andrew, and only when she’s mad,) was tall, lean, with blond hair and a winning smile. I’m not the most friendly of people, while AJ has an easy charm about him that made him attractive to women and welcomed by men. To AJ, all sports came easy; to me, I had to work hard to get my black belt and even harder to be worthy of it. Still he was my brother, and we got along.
AJ walked in, took one look at me and said, “Man, you look like some ran you over!”
“Har, har.”
“Seriously, you okay?”
“Nothing broken but my pride. The doctor said I need to rest for a couple of days.”
It took another hour and a half to get the discharge papers, then AJ drove me home.  On the way, I told him what happened. “Sounds like you pissed off someone,” he said when I was done.
“I don’t have the time,” I replied. “They wanted some stupid letter one of our uncles’ lawyers supposedly sent me. “
”But you don’t know which one?”
“Nope. They were too busy demanding the letter and stomping me to tell me which one.”
“I’ll call mom. Maybe she knows.”
I groaned. “You want to worry her?”
“Too late, Bro. Miranda told her.”
I groaned. Miranda’s my sister, two years older than me physically, but twenty years older mentally. She was more mother than sister, and she never let me get away with anything.
“Great,” I said. “I should give mom a call and let her know I’m not dead.”
“Good idea,” AJ replied.

***

The apartment looked like a hurricane had hit it. In the excitement, I’d missed the ransacking. Books and papers were everywhere and a few prized knick-knacks had been tossed around for no reason I saw.
AJ guided me to the couch and checked the bedroom. “They tossed it too,” he said. “Who are these idiots?”
“No clue,” I replied. “But I’m hungry, tired and pissed.”
“I’ll call for a pizza,” AJ said. “And help you clean up a bit.”
By the time he left, it was early evening, we’d eaten enough pizza to keep us full for a while, and cleaned up the place enough so I could finish the rest of it later. I called Mom, assured her I wasn't on my deathbed, talked to dad and asked about my uncles. Dad has two brothers, while Mom has two brothers and two sisters. He didn't know why any of them would send me anything. I thanked him, assured Mom again I was all right and ended the conversation. I then called work, told them what happened and told them I was taking a couple of days off. They weren't happy, so I told them I’d be by the next day to show them.
I was about to head for bed when I realized I hadn't collected my mail. Muttering some curses under my breath, I went down to the mailboxes in the lobby and retrieved a large bundle of mail from my box. I didn't bother looking at it there, but went back to my apartment, tossed the mail onto a side table, locked and bolted the front door, then wedged a chair under the door handle, checked the balcony, locked the sliding door and went to bed.


More later

Craig

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Early Scene From Merlin's Legacy

Actually, it's the first scene of Chapter One. I should warn you, I've already decided to rewrite some of this, so this isn't a polished product by any stretch of the imagination. It also hasn't been edited, so there are mistakes in it. Just remember it's a rough draft.

***

My name is Roger Alvin Merlin, and my new life started when someone tried to kill me.
It was little more than a week into August when I parked my ten-year old Oldsmobile in the parking lot of my apartment building and got it. It was near midnight, and I was tired and wanted to do nothing more than to grab a bite to eat and get some sleep.
My apartment building was a six-floor structure, one of four arranged in an off-kilter rectangle. It wasn't the best area in the area, which was just outside of Washington DC, but it was a blue collar neighborhood, with hard working people.
I let myself through the front door with my own key and walked to the elevator. There was a slight whiff of food and body aroma in the air, mixed with a slight tang of the newly painted walls, that would be sufficient to give me a headache if I stayed in the lobby. Fortunately, the elevator was on the ground floor and I stepped inside.
I punched the button for the fifth floor and leaned against the car’s wall and closed my eyes.  I was working fifty-five hours a week at three part-time jobs, and I was tired. The economy was in poor shape, and I couldn't find a full-time job. I was making enough to keep my head above water, but only just, and my car needed work. I had bills, including college, and owed the IRS a chunk of change. I had few friends and a girlfriend wasn't in the cards. In short, I was alone, struggling, and not worth anyone’s time or effort to mug.
When the elevator doors opened, I walked out, turned right, and headed for my apartment. The hallway was starkly empty, with a dark green industrial carpet and beige walls bereft of any character. The apartment doors were a lighter shade of beige, with a number and a peephole. While the carpet deadened my footsteps, I knew the hallway was one large echo chamber.
Apartment 512 looked like all the other doors, drab, unremarkable, and conforming. More than one I had thought of painting the door another color, but the tenet’s lease forbade that, and I couldn't afford getting thrown out. I unlocked the door, opened it, stepped inside —
And nearly got my head taken off by a baseball bat.
The only things that saved me was my peripheral vision and my reflexes. I saw the bat coming at my head and I ducked. The bat grazed my head and slammed into the door with a loud “clang!” I spun toward the attacker, grabbed his arm and punched the guy in the nose. The guy, who was wearing a ski mask and a surplus army jacket, managed to jerk his head back just enough so I didn't flatten his nose. But he snarled a curse and bounced off the wall next to my front door.
Then thug number two made his presence known. An arm snaked around my throat and yanked me back. “The letter!” someone growled in my ear. “Where is the letter?”
I snapped my head back and tried to stomp on his foot, but I was wearing tennis shoes and he was wearing work boots. He avoided my head butt and yanked me back, in an attempt to pull me off balance. I went with the yank, adding my own weight and momentum to his, resulting both of us stumbling back. We hit the back of my couch and we both went over her. He let go of his choke-hold, and we bounced on the couch and hit the floor. I rolled over and onto my feet, only to have a third skin-mask and army jacketed thug, this one with a knife, come at me. “Get him!” he snapped.
I grabbed a book off the table next to me and threw it at the knife wielder. The book struck him in the head and his knife missed me by several inches. I yelled as I kicked him in the groin, then spun as I felt a hand on my shoulder. Thug number two got his punch in first, and I saw stars. He followed up with a couple of knees to my solar plexus that took the breath out of me. Gasping for air, I grabbed him by the jacket and fell back, taking him with me. I managed to get my foot into his stomach and threw him into the bookcase behind me. He hit the bookshelves like a bowling ball hitting pins, and several shelves collapsed, showing him with half of my collection of hardbacks.
The other two thugs didn't like that. As I tried to get up, one of them kicked me in the ribs. Pain flared along my side, and I grunted in pain because I couldn't scream. “Where’s the damn letter?” Thug two screamed at me. He kicked me again. “Give us the damn letter from your uncle’s lawyer!”
I wasn't in any shape to answer, even if I know what the hell he was talking about. Why would one of my uncles’ lawyer send me a letter? Instead, I tried getting some air back into my lungs, which didn't make Mister Kicky any happier. “He kicked me again. “Where is that damn letter, you motherfucker?”
My temper, which has never been a friend of mine, got the better of me. I got up as he kicked me again, this time in the shins. I staggered, grabbed another book from the side table and flung it at my tormentor I had the satisfaction of watching the book bounce off his face right before thug number one slammed his baseball bat across my stomach. For the second time in a minute, I was on the ground, grasping for air.
“We want that letter!” Thug two screamed, punctuating each word with a kick. My torso was screaming at me, and air wasn't coming in my lungs fast enough. Someone started screaming and for a few seconds, I thought it was me. But then I heard Thug two snarl, “Let’s go!”
The kicking stopped and I heard my front door slam open and the I heard the sounds of several people running down the hall and several voices I couldn't understand. Slowly, I got up on my hands and knees. Breathing was a chore, but at least I could do it.
I felt someone kneel next to me, and I lifted my head to look at Mister Spadaro, one of my neighbors. “Take it easy son,” he said, placing a gentle hand on my shoulder. “The police and the paramedics are on the way.”
I nodded and lowered myself down to the floor again. Mister Spadaro, on older man with a tanned face, carefully turned me over, and used a couch pillow to cushion my head. I was still lying there when the paramedics arrived.

***

Like I said, it's a rough draft. Comments are welcomed.

Craig

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Magic in Merlin's Heir Series (pt 2)

Still musing here....Don't try this at home folks, I'm an semi-trained writer with no insurance! This is another stream of thought, done on the fly, and will probably embarrass me sometime down the road.....

There are two forms of energy Order Magic users can call on, for different purposes. Manna and Chi. Both these energy forms are in the environment around the magic user, and they dictate what spells can be used.

Manna is energy given off by the classic basic elements --- Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. There are millions of smaller sources of manna, as every non-living thing on the planet has some manna in it, but everything falls under one of the four elements. Under most circumstances, a wizard or witch will use manna from the basic elements for spells.

Earth and air manna are the most common, and are readily available for a human magical user's use. Fire and water need a source to be useful, but the more powerful and experienced a wizard is, the less manna they need to work their spells with. So, while a novice or weak magic user might need a bonfire or a lake to create the spell, a master wizard could get by with a recently put out campfire or a puddle to create the same spell. Most attack and defense spells are manna-based.

As I mentioned before, all non-living material gives off manna, but in small quantities compared to the major elements. Items like rocks, metal, plastic, sand, glass, all give off manna. However, raw material gives off more manna than refined material, so an untouched granite bolder gives off more manna than a granite statue of the same weight. A wizard will use these other items for various reasons, including wards and to add extra energy to a spell. Gemstones are prized for their manna, and most wizards will carry a few for their use in spells.

Chi is the energy given off by all living things. Like with Manna, living (raw) life has more energy than dead (refined) life. The amount of energy given off is based on size, length of life, and intelligence of the lifeform. Humans give off more chi than most animals.

Chi is trickier to use than manna. For one, most magic user use only their own chi. Using someone else chi without their permission is considered a series breach of trust. Necromancy is using spirit chi to control spirits of the dead, and is one of the few things that will cause the magic users community to band together and hunt the Necromancer down.

Second, the spells that need chi are limited. Most Chi-based spells are for things like strengthening the human body, healing wounds, or pushing the human body to over its limits. A magic user doesn't have enough chi to use it like a fireball or force bolt spell. Any chi spells are either internal to the wizard/witch or delivered by touch.

While it would be theoretically possible to change a human into an animal, the amount of time and animal chi needed would be too high to sustain the change. The more extreme a change is, the more chi it takes, as the chi of the target needs to be overwhelmed to force the change.

That's enough for now -- now I have the weekend to do some more thinking....

Craig

Monday, February 3, 2014

Magic in Merlin's Heir Series (pt 1)

I've decided to blog a few times about the background of Merlin's Heir series, in part to firm up my own thoughts about a few things. Today, a running stream of thought regarding Magic in the world of Merlin's Heir,(Part one of the stream in any case....),

Since Merlin's Heir series are set in the modern world, I don't have to worry about creating the background from scratch. But the magical system for this world has to be created from scratch (so, to speak). So, this is what I have in mind so far:

Magic is defined in the world of Merlin's Heir as the manipulation of energy by an individual to effect the surrounding environment in some significant way.

Magic is divided into two forms: Order Magic and Chaos Magic. Order Magic is using the energy in the surrounding environment to cast spells. This covers the magic used by human wizards, witches, and the magical races that exist in the world. Now, Order Magic is called that not because it's used by good people --- evil wizards/witches use Order Magic just like good wizards/witches. It's because those wielding it use the type of environmental energy required for the spell, based on the results the wizard is seeking. If the wizard uses a fireball spell, they must use fire energy. a water-based spell needs water energy, and so on. By manipulating the amount of each energy stream used, the wizard/witch can adjust the spell's effects.

On the other hand, Chaos Magic is unnatural and 100% evil. It is the energy demons use, and if they find a human eager or desperate enough to worship them, the demons grant the worshipers access to their energy. Those who use the Chaos energy for spell-casting are known as Sorcerers. The demonic energy is subject to the sorcerer's will, and the strongest users are very dangerous. But Chaos energy is dangerous to use and subject to the demon's whim.

The difference is who can use each type of magic. Wizards/Witches are born with the ability to sense and use the energy around them. They have to learn how to use their gifts and vary in strength from weak to very strong. The main difference between wizards and witches is their approach: Wizards are more scientific in their approach to teaching and researching, while witches are more spiritual in their magic use. Relations between the two branches are still strained after the witch-hunting of the middle ages.

Sorcerers don't need any special ability, just a willingness to deal with one of the many demon lords. The Chaos energy is like an addictive drug, and sorcerers becomes addicted to the feeling of power. Sorcerers generally establishing themselves as head of a cult serving the demon lord who granted them the power.

I think that's all for now....need to do some more thinking....

Craig