Chasing Shadows – Making Amends (22)

Welcome to installment #22 of the Chasing Shadows – Making Amends series. For more information or to read the previous scene, head to this page.

Chapter 10

Scene 3

Kecil wanted to meet Mujur’s eyes with pride, but she couldn’t. His gaze trailing over the blemish on her neck did not go unnoticed, no doubt dampening his arousal. What more did she expect? She was the runt… the least valuable in her clan. Unworthy of nothing more than Gemuk’s abuse.

She padded after Mujur, knowing it was best to stamp out any lingering desires. She could offer him nothing… not even the ability to heal when he protected her.

Without going into heat, she had no hope of even attracting him… keeping him by her side through the pasangan bond. Not that she needed a mate. Her lack of ability to bear offspring meant she required no protector. She turned her attention to what was truly important—finding her mother’s killer and ending his life.

First, she had to contend with Mujur’s objectives. He had made it clear. Nothing would interfere with his mission to destroy the penanggalan. The only logical choice was to dedicate herself to facilitating his goal. Stepping in line with him, she matched his pace, several steps to his one.

Mujur glanced her way and gave her hand a light squeeze.

True, he might not find her sexually appealing, but it was nice to have a semblance of friendship for the first time in her life. This was the way clan was meant to be… the way life was before her mother’s death, before Gemuk had completely taken over the village.

“Why were they after you?” she asked.

Mujur slowed, and his brow furrowed. Then as if she’d said nothing, he resumed his quick pace.

“Why did they chase you?” When he didn’t answer, she gave his hand a tug. “They were chasing you—Gemuk and Kusut.”

Mujur’s shoulders tightened ever so slightly. “You know who they are?”

“They’re from my clan.”

He was quiet for so long, Kecil was sure he wouldn’t answer, but then he said, “They think I took something from them.”

“Did you?”

Mujur stopped and gave a cryptic stare. “If I could return what they lost, I would.”

“I don’t understand.”

To think Mujur might have taken something from Gemuk or Kusut to warrant a chase seemed inconceivable. Anything worth keeping needed to be eaten before spoilage.

Kecil had heard stories about humans who hoarded anything they set their eyes upon… even land. It made little sense. How did one claim earth when creatures burrowed beneath, crawled upon the surface as they wished?

Silence between Kecil and Mujur grew until at last he said, “I’ve told you what I will. I cannot make amends with them.”

He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his knuckles into his forehead. A low pain-filled groan sounded deep in his throat. When he dropped his arms and looked at her again, his eyes were haunted. “I’ll give you the choice right here, right now. You can return to your people, and I won’t pursue. I only want you safe. You still have time to catch them.”

Kecil’s heart stuttered at the offer. Even if Mujur released her, she wouldn’t return to Gemuk and face retaliation. “I don’t want to go back.”

“Are you sure?”

She thought of her father, of the years he’d wasted on her. “There is nothing for me there.”

A look of pity fell over Mujur’s face.

Her fingers twitched to cover her birthmark as the layers of insecurities she’d tried all her life to hide peeled away like plantain skin. She stood before Mujur, exposed.

“You don’t have to go,” he said in a soft voice. “For as long as you will allow, I will protect you.”

Kecil’s throat closed in on itself until she was sure she’d suffocate. Mujur shined with compassion, had treated her with care, while her every encounter with Gemuk was harsh.

Her heart ached with each beat as pieces flaked away and crumbled to Mujur’s feet. Please don’t lie to me. Don’t hurt me. With all her spirit, she wanted to believe Mujur, wanted to believe in his goodness, believe Gemuk’s pursuit was unjustified.

Kecil took a deep breath to ease the pressure constricting her throat. “I’ll stay with you.”

Mujur’s shoulders relaxed, and he extended a hand to Kecil. When she took it, the corners of his lips lifted slightly—the first real smile, so different from the earlier ones full of cynicism. It made him… beautiful, embraced her in warmth and took away her fears.

“We need to keep moving,” he said.

“Okay.” Her voice was not her own… soft, wispy, like a butterfly on the wind.

Kecil walked side by side with Mujur and let herself be filled with the sense of belonging. Every step she took became lighter until her spirit soared amongst the birds in the trees.

Writing a Story: Create a Character

Writing a Story: Create a Character

In a previous post, I discussed formulating ideas for stories. Today, we talk about character creation. Some individuals come up with their characters in the spur of the moment and simply start writing. That’s fine and dandy. Whatever works when it comes to writing a story, I say go for it. I’m not here to impede anyone’s creative process. HOWEVER, some folks might benefit from a few tools and ideas.

Character Writer 3.1

My favorite tool of all time when it comes to character creation is Character Writer 3.1. Rather than go into details, I’ll point you to my review. If you’re looking to get a really in depth look at your character(s) before you start putting your words to paper, I highly recommend this program. By the time you finish all the prompts, you’ll have a deep understanding of your character’s psyche.

Roleplaying Books

It’s time to get your geek on. If you’re story idea is high fantasy or paranormal, roleplaying books can help you define your characters ability. I offer two suggestions for those who don’t know where to start. First up, Dungeon & Dragons, also known as D&D. I’m sorry folks. I can’t continue without sharing this video first.

D&D books are great because they have just about every power imaginable. Not only that, but D&D roleplaying books are full of rules, which might even help you develop boundaries for your story.

For those with a paranormal book in mind, I suggest White Wolf books. Mages, Vampires, Werewolves, oh my! White Wolf has a collection of books, each tailored toward a particular supernatural creature. Check it out. And oh… and don’t forget the dice.

Naming Your Character

I’m a strong believer in the power of names. I was meticulous about choosing names for my children… and lovely children they are. 🙂 I don’t take quite as much care when it comes to my character names, but I do put some effort into them.

Baby Name Websites

One of the great things about many baby name websites is that many reveal the origin of a name. If your character has a particularly strong personality trait, using a search term based upon the trait may be helpful. Also, if your character comes from some place other than America the Melting Pot, a baby name website can help you choose an appropriate name based upon a region.

Name Generator Tools

I have to admit, I’m not particularly fond of name generator tools. However, if you just need a name and don’t really care what they name should be, this might be the answer. Some name generators are more elaborate than others and will allow you to define search terms such as names based upon geographic regions or even fantasy names like elven.

Generic Placeholders

Sometimes a name just won’t come, and that’s okay. Use a generic placeholder until a suitable one comes to mind. I tend to use all caps because it’s easier for me to pick them out in a story… less likely to miss occurrences. One special tip I have for placeholders is to be consistent. The big reason for consistency is the ability to find and replace quickly. For example, using a the placeholder BADASSWEREWOLF can be substituted for Derek in one big swoop.

Character Appearance

Mind’s Eye

I store my characters’ appearances in my noggin. However, I’ll be honest… my characters are pretty faceless. Most of them are lucky to have bodies. Once I log the generic characteristics, I’m good to go. Characters, scenes, etc. are all pictured in my Mind’s Eye. That works for me, but others might need more. So, I present a few resources to breathe a little more life into your characters.

Stockphotos

Stockphotos are a great place to start. Browsing through stockphotos can be rather time consuming but also a lot of fun. Once you choose the stockphoto of your character, you might even be able to use it in your cover art. I love killing two birds with one stone.

Sims

I’ve had my fair share of Sims addiction. One feature the Sims is the character creation process. In fact, one can’t play the game without creating characters to control. Perhaps that’s why I love the Sims so much… control. It’s rather similar to controlling characters in a book. 🙂 The Sims version you use will determine detailed you can make your character.

Daz 3D

You Probably know by now, I’m a lover of Daz 3D. I CANNOT get enough of it. Of all of the options (other than the Mind’s Eye), Daz 3D offers the most flexibility and the greatest ability to fine-tune. My review goes a bit deeper into Daz 3D. And by the way… it’s free.

SO! Characters can evolve throughout the storyline, so don’t feel like you’re confined to your original concept. I typically use a few of the tools above to get me started. However, I allow myself the freedom to change things at any time.

Chasing Shadows – Making Amends (21)

Welcome to installment #21 of the Chasing Shadows – Making Amends series. For more information or to read the previous scene, head to this page.

Chapter 10

Scene 2

Adrenaline racing through Mujur’s blood kept him on high alert even after the danger passed. He worried about the pressure he put on Kecil’s tiny frame, but it couldn’t be helped. To move too soon would attract his hunters.

As time stretched without signs of the males returning, Mujur’s senses realigned. No longer in tune to the crunch of leaves underfoot, his attention turned to the soft body beneath his, the scent of Kecil’s hair, her shallow breathing. The olive skin of her neck teased him with its closeness.

He stifled a desire-filled groan, but could do nothing about his lengthening shaft. Only the thin loin cloth provided a barrier between him and Kecil’s feminine flesh.

She squirmed, doing nothing to take his mind off things he wanted to do to her.

He’d promised her protection, but he wanted to have her, slide into her wetness and experience the sensation of each slow thrust. He couldn’t seem to align his body with his mind which knew danger could return at any moment.

“Mujur.” His name came as a soft whisper on Kecil’s lips. A flush traveled from her hair line, flooded the nape of her neck, and continued down her back.

He eased off her, but not before he grazed his tongue against her shoulder, taking in the slight saltiness of her skin and a uniqueness which was hers alone.

Kecil rolled to her side, and the pulse in her neck fluttered, tempting him to kiss it. She swallowed. “I think…” her tongue moistened her lips.”I think they’re gone.“

Mujur opened his senses and tested the environment. Immediately, the tug which constantly pulled him toward the penanggalan strengthened.

He rose, leaving the distraction named Kecil where she lay. Kill the cat. Destroy the penanggalan.  Escort Kecil south. Those were his missions.

Kecil lowered her gaze, and her hand trailed along the birthmark on her neck. Even in her demureness she attracted him. If only he were free to sample her. If only they had met at another time in life. If his hunt for the penanggalan was over and Kecil was safely in Nenek’s or Berani’s village. But that wasn’t the case.

He held out a hand. “We move.”

Her eyes jerked to his before she gave a stiff nod. Kecil placed her hand in his, allowing him to pull her to her feet.

Chasing Shadows – Making Amends (20)

Welcome to installment #20 of the Chasing Shadows – Making Amends series. For more information or to read the previous scene, head to this page.

Chapter 10

Scene 1

Kecil woke to quick and heavy footsteps pounding her way. Her keen hearing identified more than one set. She debated running, but didn’t want to give away her location by snapping twigs in her haste. Instead, she ducked low, using a massive tree root for cover.

Bristle fur brushed against her arm, and she flinched, ready to run but paused at the soft squeak.

Teman. With the unknown approaching, she needed her friend safe. She pulled his head close and patted the tree trunk. “Hide.”

The binturong brushed his face against hers then plodded to the tree. His claws scratched the surface of the bark as he scaled at a leisured pace. Hurry, Teman.

A flash of skin darted between the greenery, and Kecil pressed herself as flat as possible to the ground, not daring to look. If she could see them, they could see her.

Closer. Closer. They headed straight for her. She froze. Held her breath. If she could have stop her pounding heart, she’d have done so. Great Spirit. Let them pass me by.

One bounded over the tree root and landed beside her in a skidding roll. She rose to run, but a hand grabbed her by the waist and forced her down. She took a breath to scream, and a palm clamped over her mouth. A masculine body drenched with sweat covered hers, pinning her to the ground. She kicked her feet, brutalizing her toes, but smothered as she was, her struggles had little effect.

Her captor leaned close to her ear. “Sh, sh, sh. Say nothing.”

Mujur? She quieted, and he relaxed his hold but didn’t release her.

It didn’t take long for those chasing to catch up. Heavy panting filled the air as the running slowed to a walk.

Amazing that Mujur, as winded as he surely was, managed to keep his breathing silent. Even now, his heart ricocheted against her back like the beating wings of a hummingbird.

“He’s got to be here.” A voice she recognized—Kusut.

“Find him!” Gemuk.

One set of feet took off, but the heavy breathing of Gemuk remained.

Kecil squeezed her eyes tight to keep from fleeing. If she even glimpsed an opportunity to escape, she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from running.

The breathing slowed, but nothing indicated Gemuk had left. No doubt he was doing what she was doing… what any wehr-tiger would do… listening.

She couldn’t stop trembling. Surely he’d hear the vibrations against the leaves. He’d find her. He’d return her offense in kind and slash her face. Then he’d kill her.

Footsteps retreated and faded in the distance. Kecil didn’t move, too afraid Gemuk would come back.

What seemed like hours passed. Eventually nature returned to normal. Birds sang; animals called… and Mujur grew hard against her leg.