A Corpse Revived (Phoenix Emperor .5)

The following is chapter 1 of 11. It is a short story that happens one year after Phoenix Emperor. Thus the .5 designation. Because it gets a bit, in Fanfic terms, lemon-flavored I will not be publishing this story in printed form. I will, however, make it available as an ebook for a dollar after it’s gone through a couple of editing cycles. The ebook version will be available in April 2018. 

If you’re interested in reading the rest of it, I suggest subscribing to my Patreon, as the chapters will be posted there once every couple weeks.

Enjoy!~

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Three Cards Down

It was dark outside when he woke.

He didn’t feel as awful as he did earlier, which Vathion suspected meant that he had felt a lot worse than he thought.  Amazing how sitting in meetings all day could be so tiring. Getting his cane, he shuffled out of his room to find Scheerahis and Luth in the sitting area. The Varas sat on the other side of the tea table from Luth, frowning at the handful of cards. Next to him he had a fairly impressive stack, compared to Luth’s.

Vathion shuffled over and sat in a chair where he could watch them both.

“Want in?” Luth asked.

“What are you playing?”

“Three Cards Down. He’s surprisingly good at it?” Luth set down his cards dealt six for Vathion and handed them over.

Vathion fanned them out, sorted his cards, looked at what was on the table.

Luth said, “Though I wonder if he actually understands what’s going on.”

Amused, Vathion asked in Varas, “Having fun?”

Fun?” Scheerahis asked. “I don’t understand the point of this strategy exercise.”

Its a game,” Vathion said. “Its your turn.”

I know. The point of this is to collect these in my pile, yes?

Yes,” Vathion said.

Scheerahis selected three cards and placed them on the table.

The point of this game is to add the cards together to equal or get as close to the number on the face-down card in the middle,” Vathion said.

“Oh,” Scheerahis said and looked at the cards he had just laid down. “I was trying to get them to equal five.”

Good strategy,” Vathion said, “Really good strategists will keep track of what numbers have already shown up and plan their next three down based on the likelihood of what is left in the stack.”

The Varas squinted up at him. “Do you do that?

Yes.” Vathion selected three cards and set them down. Luth dropped his three down and flipped the card in the middle.

How are you supposed to get two?” Scheerahis asked, confused as Vathion was handed the target card.

Three of the same suit gets you a card with a two or one.” Vathion pointed out the markings in the center of the cards. “That also tips the scales in your favor if you and someone else at the table were on target or had the same number in your three-down.

But if you both have the same,” Scheerahis paused for a moment and made an attempt to pronounce the Gilon word, “Sut?” Scheerahis asked.

“Suit,” Vathon corrected, “Points are awarded based on the single card you each set out as a duel. If your number is higher than his, you get the point,” Vathion explained as he set down his three cards face-down this time. “Also, Luth has been being nice and letting you see the cards he’s picked to lay down. Its usually played with all cards face-down until the point is revealed.”

So I am not as good at this as I thought,” Scheerahis said in disgust and laid three cards face down.

Vathion laughed softly. “Considering you don’t understand a word he says and you’re winning? Be more proud of your accomplishments.

Luth set his cards down, then flipped them and the point card. Vathion revealed his. Scheerahis turned his cards over. Luth slid the point card over to him.

Why did I get it this time?” Scheerahis asked.

You put down the Emperor. That automatically makes your three equal the point. There are only two of those in the deck,” Vathion explained as he drew enough to replenish his hand.

“Deck,” Scheerahis pronounced carefully. “Is what all of these… Card are part of.

Yes.”

What are these suts?”

“Suits,” Vathion corrected again. As they turned over their cards, he pointed, “Fences, Wheel, Flower, and Sword.”

Scheerahis took a moment to look more closely at the Sword, then set it down. Luth took the point card then dealt out the last few cards to refill their hands.

They set out their cards and flipped. The point went to Scheerahis.

There’s no point left,” Scheerahis said, looking at the three cards he still held in his hand.

Whoever has the highest total gets the point,” Vathion said and laid his cards out the same time Luth did.

Scheerahis glowered at his cards and set them down, revealing a pitiful total of three.

“That’s where all the ones went,” Luth said and snorted. He started sweeping the cards together and shuffling them. “Another?” he asked Vathion.

“I suppose. Long as you don’t mind me drilling him on numbers.”

“Seems a good place to start,” Luth agreed and dealt again.

How does he do that with… Card?” Scheerahis asked and picked his cards up once he had all six.

You’ll have to ask him to teach you how to shuffle the deck later,” Vathion said and leaned forward to take his cards.

“Shuf. Deck,” Scheerahis muttered looking hardly pleased. He laid down his first three. Vathion finished sorting his cards and put down his selection then replenished his hand.

Luth turned the point and his cards over.

Vathion pointed at each card and said their value and suit. “Repeat,” he ordered Scheerahis. The Varas stumbled through pronouncing all the words and took the point when he was done.

Representation

I’m making more of a concentrated effort to include more kinds of people in my books. Beyond being aliens, I want to have disabled characters, Queer, non-binary genders etc. Mostly because for one, they’re aliens and why should they be exactly human? Two, why not?

Thus far in my representation:

  • Da’Itta, of the Natan Fleet ship Cinnamon Rolls, is a lesbian.
  • The Serfocile have a pronoun to call people whose gender you don’t know (Sheh).
  • Vathion has depression, is demisexual, and later has PTSD, and is disabled.
  • Farynn is disabled after being wounded in battle.
  • Scheerahis is bisexual (as are most of his people).
  • Hyphokos don’t actually have genders, they just let the Gilon call them whatever, or prefer to be called male or female on an individual basis. Admittedly this one hasn’t been made clear during the writing of the books.

But I feel like I need more, so I’m working on it. Suggestions?

Writing progress

A post about writing. Since all my other recent posts have been about animes I’ve been watching. Just wanted to let the people who cared know that I AM being productive. occasionally.

I finally figured out a name for that story I’ve been working on. I’m going to call it Varasha, since that’s the main theme of it – the building of the varas nation as a civilized people. Why this didn’t occur to me sooner, I don’t know. But it’s still like book 7 or something around there. And I’ll probably only make it available as an ebook as I’m not going to bother filtering out as much as I would have if it were a print book. Unless by some miracle I end up with it being about the same length as all the other books. However, at this point, the plot consists of mostly fluffy happy things. No one has been tortured in the slightest except with romantic frustration and general inconsequential angst. I’m having fun writing it though, since it’s a real “no pressure” type of book (part of me is convinced its full of stupid and shouldn’t see the light of day but that’s a lot of work to just throw away and someone might like it, since its a change of pace from my usual).

Meanwhile, Book 3 is still stuck at the %90 mark on the edits. I’ve been reconsidering the ending and some of the events leading up to it. My attempt to keep it at 116k words has caused the plot to be rushed. I may have to bump some events into the next Vathion book in order to make room. Not sure which events though, since pulling anything from the current plot will mean a rewrite of everything that came after that. I’ve been avoiding looking at the book for a couple of months to give myself some distance so I’ll be coming back at it with fresh eyes (and also playing with Varasha, since things I put in there may need some setup in previous books).

Writing keeps getting derailed by kitten. Every time I’m like “I want to write” I get a kitten on my chest and she goes to sleep and next thing I know, I’m yawning too.

Flu Season

I caught the flu from my dad. It’s only just started for me, and I’m supposed to work Monday-Wednesday this week.

I don’t know if Monday is happening. I already feel like rot, and I barely got over that head-cold thing I caught from Hamacon. :< Although, I may not have a choice about working Monday, given the usual Monday workload. I shall have to see how I feel.

 

In other news, I’ve been moving old posts from my LiveJournal and old website to this one. So if strange, old, and outdated posts pop up on my tumblr and twitter feed, that would be why. I’ll try to update with some new stuff to counteract the old news flood, but lately my life has consisted of nothing but work.

 

Nanowrimo is over and I won. I’ve begun editing at my Nanowrimo novel and removed many of the XXX rated stuff this afternoon. So that’s a start. Looking at the bones of this book, it may actually be worth publishing after all. The PROBLEM is that its like book 8 and I don’t have book 3 done yet. D’oh. I need to buckle down and get back to writing book 3. Good news is that I’m slightly more confident in the idea of not having as much in the way of action in book 3, especially if I can balance that with more memorable characters and interesting dialogue. Book 3 is supposed to be more political anyway, and it’s also got Scheerahis in it. He’s so cute! I can’t wait to introduce him to everyone!

I also realized that I need to figure out some way to get Ghost Talent going again, because that book was also very important to understanding some of what’s going on in this as-yet-unnamed Nanowrimo thing. And Faith on Silver Wings.

I also need to write something that isn’t Natan Fleet Show related. Just to have something else going. For the fun of it.

 

I held a baby for the first time ever Saturday night.

I know. 28 yrs old and female and I somehow managed to avoid babies.

I was at work and coworker brought her 12 week old twins in and I was just sitting there next to her, pondering the pros and cons of touching the babies at all and she just drops her daughter in my lap and is like “hold this” and I’m DEER IN HEADLIGHTS look and all my coworkers start giggling at me and I admitted my terrible secret of having never held a baby before… and coworker shrugged and went back to what she was doing.

I know theoretically how to hold babies. Don’t let their heads flop around and don’t drop them… But that was kinda shocking.

 

and I think I liked it. *sweatdrop*