Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 20 (First Draft)

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Remember when I said I only had one more terrible chapter left in the book to revise? Guess what! I was wrong. It’s just like that part in Baten Kaitos: Origins where Sagi and his pals battle Wiseman. The group gathers to face him, thinking that they’ve got him beat.
SagiArgh

Then Wiseman surprises them all by holding up the first draft of his novel. The party recoils upon witnessing the raw force of his cheesy plot ideas.

What? It’s not like you’re going to go play the game to prove me wrong. 😉

DRAFT START

20 – Whittler

 

“Ten!” Kello finished, “The winner of this year’s King’s Fair ‘Two Lives to Play’ tournament is Mean!” She topped off the announcement by flinging her parasol up: a shower of colored ribbon met it, raining down over the roof and the ecstatic audience. King mounted his rory and swept through the storm of confetti to meet Mean in mid-air.

“We have a new champion!” he declared into his mic. “And one of the newcomers! From the other world! I never would have believed it possible!” King pumped a hairy arm into the sky, letting the crowd’s cheering swell. “Alright, let’s hear a few words from our winner!” he laughed, handing the microphone over to Mean.

“Um, can I put this down yet?” she said, staring down at the ring as she eased it back to the roof. “Is anyone under there?”

“Go ahead!” King urged, and Mean complied. The square mat shook as it landed and Templetine crumpled to his knees when it did.

“All right,” she said to the crowd, standing on the chair’s seat. “Thank you! Thank you! Dark gave me the idea for that last trick, though, so let’s hear it for him and the rest of the losers!”

“You’re too kind,” Dark stated, waving back as the spectators focused their accolades on the table now.

“Can’t believe that con worked!” Vornis cackled, pounding his fist. Next to him Trisk smiled and Tenny swept his fingers through his short hair.

“She sure did it!” Parlay expressed, grabbing Eon’s arm and shaking it. He clapped along, watching her with a smirk.

“Indeed!” Donzel Veinsmith called out. “Bravo!”

“I can’t believe that idiot tricked me,” Caldera sighed, watching Jelk gyrate and dance in the spot beside him.

In the stands, Darrow stood and rose both of his arms. “Yes! You did it!” he cried. “Tome, she did it! She won!”

Tome’s eyes were turned to the sky above the pyramid’s roof. The sunlight brought out the blond in his whiskers.

“There’s still something there,” he said. Darrow leaned down, putting his ear close.

“There’s still a pattern up there,” he repeated.

“That monster?” Darrow asked, plugging his left ear from the thralls of the crowd. Tome nodded.

“It appeared as an active mind does––though much larger,” he said. “Then when the shape up there vanished, the activity stopped. But the pattern didn’t disappear completely. Not like how it did when Mean destroyed Hellzoo’s forms.”

“So it’s just hiding?” Darrow said.

“I think it uses a vessel, and that’s what I’m seeing,” Tome went on. “It’s abandoned it for now, but it could come back. We need to tell King.”

The two rose from their seats and began to work their way through the packed stands. King was landing upon the ring, and the rory burst from its shell to soften the touchdown.

“And now a word from our runner-up!” King declared, swinging his foot over and dismounting. Templetine bared his teeth as the microphone was placed before him.

“Runner up?” he drawled. “No one remembers second place! I would have won if you hadn’t listened to that––”

“Now, let’s not make excuses,” King cut in. “You’re the one who’s been bending the rules; we’re being more than fair.”

Templetine grimaced and his sunken eyes gazed at the floor. “I can’t win if it’s fair,” he lamented. “I never can!” He dug into his saggy clothes with his fingers. “The laws are too strict! Why can’t I ever use some of the others’? They have so many––they don’t need them all.”

“What are you talking about?” King asked. “Get up and we can go over to the table for your consolation.”

He received no reply, and Templetine scampered to his feet: he barged past the rory and leapt from the stage.

“Up! Tackle!” King commanded, tapping the gilded shell. The rory came unstuck and sped across the descending flurry of confetti, landing upon Templetine’s back with the sticky side down. The man fell and was pressed against the speckled floor. As King followed, Tome met him at the ring’s edge.

“I think you should get everyone evacuated,” he suggested. “The pattern in the sky is still there.”

“The what?” King asked, tilting up his head. He staggered, catching his crown before it fell. “What is that? What is that coming down?”

“Coming down!?” Tome repeated. He followed King’s gaze to a blob in the sky. It was twisting and falling and thudded next to the throne in the ring.

“It’s a humongous hunk of brown clay!” King declared. “Where did that come from?”

“Whittler’s here already,” Templetine uttered. He clawed at the ground, struggling under the weight of the shell. “Get me out of here!” he screamed. “Let me go––let me go!”

Tome put his hand on King’s shoulder. “King, you have to believe me,” he pleaded. “We know about Hellzoo; this creature is like her.”

“It’s another one!?” King said, and the people in the stands were inquiring about the large object with loud exclamations.

“Then we kill it,” Conneld said: he brushed past Tome with his arm held ready. He vaulted onto the mat and rushed the clay blob.

“Conneld, no!” King yelled; as he did so, his brother stopped his advance. In the ring he stood, staring at the clay. He turned back to King with arms shaking, and eyes open. A dark stain spread out from his chest, and five knives slid out from where his bevy of medals had been.

“Con!” King cried, pressing up to the ringside. Tome grasped him by his clothes and tugged him back as Conneld took one more step before falling. The throne snapped apart as the body hit the mat; the shining metal reforming into four large swords in a blink. What had been a plush seat was now wound at the handles’ grip: trailing leather strands as the swords were lifted to where the clay was. They hovered a moment, directing their edges downward. With a whoosh they chopped off the blob’s corners in a unified strike.

King traced his finger through the air and a yellow array shimmered above Conneld a moment. The lines vanished before they could intersect.

“Let me in there!” King pleaded, “It’s not working!”

Tome held him fast. “It’s changing patterns faster than I’ve ever seen. You go in there you’re dead, too.”

“He’s not dead,” Parlay said, stepping in front of King as he struggled. “I’ll get him out.”

She crawled onto the mat and rushed over to Conneld. One of the swords was lifting the clay into a vertical position; the flat of the blade easing it up. The rectangular mass slouched a bit and the smaller knives whipped over and began whittling off smaller chunks. Parlay grasped Conneld by his trembling hand.

“I’m returning your body’s pattern to an earlier state,” she said, letting out a small yelp as her necklaces popped apart. She squeezed her eyes shut as golden blades pressed against her unyielding skin. They traced over her cheeks before zipping back to the clay: taking strands of her yellow hair off with them.

“Thanks,” Conneld coughed. “I can walk.” Behind him, two limbs stretched away from a woman’s dark form: knives glistening at its sides as shavings fell. The clay had a head now that watched with blank eyes as Parlay guided Conneld away by the arm.

“Thank heavens you’re alright,” King said with tears dripping into his shaggy beard. He wiped his face, turning to the masses of people around him. They poured from the bleachers and thundered past the vendors.

“Get out! Get out!” King cried. “Take the stairs if you have to!”

Jelk and Darrow cowered beneath the loser’s table, and Caldera stood up.

“So this is one of those hell monsters,” he stated. “I’ll send it back.”

He placed his domed hat on his head and pointed his finger. A sphere of flame erupted at the clay figure’s side. With a sucking sound it collapsed back into smoke: the ash wafting out in fleeting, dagger-shaped swirls. The blank face turned to him, and several of the knives flew his way; he dipped his head and the blades sunk into his helmet.

“Oh, geez!” he cried, ripping the dome away from his head. “Screw this; you guys are on your own!”

He ran along with the escaping spectators, and Mean, Trisk, Tenny, and Dark hurried over to Tome.

“That’s not Hellzoo,” Mean said, keeping her eyes on the monster in the ring. Done with their carving, the knives whipped in orbits around the woman’s slick figure. She held out a clay hand to catch one.

“I can’t get much from it’s mind:” Tome admitted, “It’s just thinking, ‘knives, knives.’ And it’s changing the patterns so fast––”

“Neither of us is using the static art right now,” Tenny said.

“I can throw something at it,” Mean offered.

“You’d just be giving it more raw material to work with,” Tome shot back. “It seems as if it can only change the pattern’s form––not its composition. There, look.”

The mat was peeling up at the woman’s chiseled feet: coming up as floppy, dull daggers. She pressed her palm down, rejecting them back to the floor. The blank eyes traveled over the heads of people escaping, finding the metallic, glinting bleacher seats that they abandoned. She poised her hands in delight and took a step to the ring’s edge.

“The metal!” Tome cried, “Mean, move it!”

“I can’t,” Mean replied, “I mean, there are still people––I’d be moving them away from the exits!”

“I’ve got this,” Vornis growled. He snapped off his vein spines and held one in each hand. He bent his knees, bounded up, and thudded into the ring. Whittler halted and two swords came down on the beast. He knocked them away with his spikes and two more came swishing in at his sides: one clanged against his plating; the other against Donzel’s blue sword.

“Get back; I can handle it!” Vornis said.

“This is what I do,” Donzel replied as he darted past. He sidestepped a dagger and lunged in: tagging the clay body with the point of his blade. Whittler flinched back and drew the knives close to herself. The mat trembled as more blades peeled up from it.

“He’s good!” Mean said, watching Donzel scamper: he let every dull knife touch him; flitting aside only when a sharp one neared.

“He doesn’t know that you need to destroy the body;” Tome said, “he’s just stabbing.”

Donzel landed another blow, piercing Whittler’s arm. Vornis gave a weak swing and collapsed; several knives were worked under his chest plating.

“Beast!” Donzel cried, knocking a gold dagger aside before dashing over.

“We need to stop this,” Tome said. “The area of her reach is increasing. I can see––”

There was a loud boom and Dark and Mean turned to look: beyond the pyramid’s roof a spinning, metallic cylinder hovered. It flashed over the wooded hills in a streak and was gone.

“That looked like a ship,” Dark said. “A rocket.”

There was a thunderous clatter and the bleachers began shaking: on all sides of the ring the front rows were shattering apart. Silver knives with confetti-colored handles rose in waves, glittering.

“Beast, what’s wrong?” Donzel asked. “Can’t you get up?”

“I lied about that. Sorry,” he gasped. He threw his massive arms over Donzel’s neck as the shimmering daggers swooped in: raking their bodies with a thousand sharp edges.

The woman threw her head back and her shoulders bounced; her features remained locked as a mask. The knives shivered in the air as Donzel pulled himself up. Slashes ran across his clothes and his skin. He took his blade and directed it at the many before him.

“We aren’t winning this,” King said, ushering the stragglers to the hex doors. “Keep moving!” Mean’s group followed him with the sound of clanking metal at their backs; the bleachers were shattering.

“I can’t leave Vornis there!” Parlay said, “And Donzel!”

“You can’t save them!” King shouted as the waves of knives fell upon the vendor’s shacks. Whittler rose her arms and the roof shuddered: The six hex door pillars broke, transformed, and struck those near them to their knees. The pedestal by the ring fell to the glittering rain in a shower of splinters.

Parlay pushed King away and ran at the ring; the flurry of knives swirled around it in a swarm. They chopped at her as she approached: slicing her clothes and her blond hair from her body. As she reached the stairs up the blades were knocked back: careening into the floor and flying off through the air. Whittler’s clay eyes stared through the gap in the storm. Mean stood there.

“Go, Parlay!” she shouted, “I can’t keep that many away forever!”

Whittler stamped a foot and the clay surface cracked. Dark ran at Mean and embraced her: his armor clanging with the hail of knives upon him.

“I’ll do anything, make it stop!” King prayed, flat on his stomach while his rory covered him with the shell. Beyond the roof screeches resounded and screams rose up: the tracks that the coasters ran on was unraveling; the tents and their festive flags winding around the thousands of knives being made. Those on the ground fled, dragging their children behind them.

Whittler doubled over, holding its hands to its head. Parlay ran forward, sweeping her arm down at the vein spike Vornis had dropped. Hefting it up, she ran it straight through Whittler’s chest. The clay doll stood still for a moment. As the knives continued to swirl, it reached forward, covering Parlay’s mouth and nose with its hand. The blond-haired woman closed her eyes and held tight to the vein. Whittler shook her head, letting go, and fought to get away.

She tugged at the spike, she dragged brown streaks on the floor with her heels. Her chiseled face crumpled apart as she clawed at it; her clay convulsed and bulged.

“Don’t come back here!” Parlay shouted and Whittler vaporized as countless red needles exploded out.

The hovering blades dropped to the pyramid roof with a steady clatter. They covered the floor, the mat, and slid off each other. King picked himself up, watching Parlay drop the mass of vein spines. She went to where Donzel lay and knelt down.

DRAFT END

Summary: Following Templetine’s loss, a wicked being emerges. Its power is so great and terrible that the everyone present for the tournament must band together to defeat it.

Well, that’s what I wanted to happen, anyway! Too bad this first draft sucks!

Choice Edits:

“Alright, let’s hear a few words from our winner!” he laughed, handing the microphone over to Mean.

No, no, no, stopping to congratulate Mean would just kill the momentum here. I need to erase all the celebration so that the previous chapter transitions directly into Templetine bringing Whittler out. I want things to get a little more desperate before we bring out the “high” of a celebration.

Story-telling is like a roller coaster; I must decide where the peaks and dips go for maximum effect.

“It’s a humongous hunk of brown clay!” King declared. “Where did that come from?”

You gotta be kidding me. This doesn’t sound ominous at all.

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a snail! It’s a pile of crap chapter! Zounds, here it comes! Clear out everyone! It’s coming in for a landing!

The throne snapped apart as the body hit the mat; the shining metal reforming into four large swords in a blink.

Terrible description here. I need to concentrate on one thing instead of trying to have everything happen at once. Just awful. Conneld needs to fall and THEN I need to have the throne change shape.

“I’m returning your body’s pattern to an earlier state,” she said, letting out a small yelp as her necklaces popped apart. She squeezed her eyes shut as golden blades pressed against her unyielding skin.

Goodness gracious, what am I doing!? The material from her necklace is being reformed into knives. That’s it. I don’t even mention it; it just happens. You all love books that don’t make any sense, right?

A sphere of flame erupted at the clay figure’s side. With a sucking sound it collapsed back into smoke: the ash wafting out in fleeting, dagger-shaped swirls.

Oh boy this part almost sounds usable! Hang in there, First Draft Brad!

He knocked them away with his spikes and two more came swishing in at his sides: one clanged against his plating; the other against Donzel’s blue sword.

Aw, sweet: Donzel and Vornis fighting side-by-side. Too bad I just changed the previous chapter so that Donzel DOESN’T bring his swords with him. RRRRRRGH.

“That looked like a ship,” Dark said. “A rocket.”

Just what this chapter needed–rocketships. Why not. Why the eff not.

“Go, Parlay!” she shouted, “I can’t keep that many away forever!”

Here Mean is trying to deflect the knives away so that Parlay can advance, though you’d never be able to tell from the terrible job I did describing it.

I’m not too angry since I do see an opportunity here that I could have missed. I’ll keep it a surprise.

“Don’t come back here!” Parlay shouted and Whittler vaporized as countless red needles exploded out.

Yeah, that’s what I want to say to this chapter, Parlay. This whole section needs to be exploded and reformed into something greater.

I’m not too worried though; this isn’t like all of the Templetine segments where I had no idea what I wanted to do. In this case I have a clear vision in my head. I know what the chapter SHOULD look like; it just isn’t there yet.

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