A few days ago I learned that Steve, the tenant in the apartment below mine, finally visited my site! That means I have ONE more fan! That makes, like, two fans! Maybe even three! And it only took me ninety-nine posts!
Yes, that’s right! The next post will be number 100! But how can I celebrate? By giving myself some made-up award? No! By making pretend Hearthstone cards depicting characters from my stories! True, I was going to do it anyway–and I just found out this was post ninety-nine–but who cares! The celebration is still on!
SPOILERS if you haven’t read my first, second, or third books. Yeah, I know the third book isn’t even done yet but that’s too bad. FIRST CARD:
The idea is that her gravity powers make things either heavier or lighter. And this effect would be a hilarious way to punish rush decks full of Leper Gnomes and cheap low-mana cards. It wouldn’t be TOO powerful if you stacked your deck full of higher cost minions, however. Dr. Boom would only come out one turn earlier. Unless you used the coin to get Mean out on turn four, that is.
But who cares about that–look at this picture! Why in the world am I trying to find an artist for my characters when I can just go search Google images instead!? Someone named “A. Teller” altered that photo and I like the way they think! Look: there’s even a floating police car in the right corner.
Whoa that’s brutal. For two turns, anyway, then all the damage done is reversed. I’m not sure what good an effect like that would do in an online card game, but it makes one heck of a convenient plot device!
I think it’s funny that if his health and attack were swapped with Crazed Alchemist a rogue could kill him with Backstab.
The effect here is supposed to mimic his “odd water barrier.” Large objects are blocked by it, yet the tiny things can slip through. The 4-mana spell “Fireball” can still kill him, as revealed in the previous chapter.
What’s really weird is that I somehow found a picture that looks almost like how I imagine Mackaba in my head. He even has handcuffs to signify his past as a police officer. I’m not quite sure what the deal is with the stag silhouette behind him, though. I’m sure it’s relevant to whoever drew this. Shoot, I forgot to write down where I got all this art from. I also forgot to ask for permission to use the art in the first place.
Hm, the original picture file has the signature “Offish White.” Oh well; I can just ask them for permission when they come here to complain about how I pilfered their work for my own twisted reasons.
I thought this effect would be pretty cool. No, wait, I don’t want to use a pun. It’s a “nifty” effect. See, the problem with freeze minions in Hearthstone is that you have to wait a turn to attack with them. And I always want to freeze people NOW! So with this card you could use your hero’s weapon to freeze right when you need it.
And she’s a pirate because, uh, in this chapter it’s revealed that she is! Zounds!
That’s all for now. I used the site http://www.hearthcards.net/ to make all of these, so go there and make some more. And try harder next time, Matt! Now on to CHAPTER 23: THE TRUE PIRATE QUEEN EMERGES!
23 – Siblings’ Reunion
Beebee appeared in a room of blinding light. Surfaces were all polished to brilliant radiance, surfaces of slabs that were positioned to face outward from a tall, central pillar. It was inlaid with devices and tools and they all fit together along the surface, filling every space. Shirka sat atop it.
“Look who showed up first,” she announced at one of the slabs hovering in the air below her. Cougo was stuck to it, encased in armor, his arms outstretched. The armor had become transparent: his clothing beneath it was pressed flat to his body.
“Is that really you?” he asked, wincing through his flat teeth. Beebee looked around her: at the slabs and the floor and then up at Shirka.
“Why did you make this place again?” she asked. She squinted her eyes. “Why would you bring us here? We all escaped together. We all left it behind.”
“Beebs, I don’t expect you to get it,” Shirka said. “You’re the only other one of us that really broke free.” She nodded down at Cougo. “But the rest of you guys—you never stopped. You’re doing the same things Zonzabee programmed you for.”
“What else was I supposed to do, Shirka!?” Cougo pleaded. His slab was facing an open space in the wall. A long, elegant branch from the tower stretched out above the gap, leading to the hazy wall of gas from Pladomir’s world.
“Don’t get her upset, Cougo,” Beebee said. Her boots tapped on the sterile floor as she paced around the circle of slabs. Pladomir was pressed against the next one.
“It’s regretful,” Pladomir stated. His glowing skin paled in the brilliance of the room. “As we left I do remember thinking: ‘I won’t have to keep anyone’s mind focused anymore. I’ll be able to pursue the path I want.’”
Shirka laughed as he struggled to twist his head in the armor. He looked at the lights in the mist and the glowing outline of a zeppelin. “But I just went back to doing it. It was too easy.”
“You idiots never had anyone to challenge you,” Shirka said. “Sitting fat with your planets while I struggled.” She struck her heel against the pillar; Pladomir’s slab swiveled up. She snatched one of the tools from its place and stood to face him as he hung, upside-down.
“But now I’m the one they all think of,” Shirka said as she tapped the long tool against Pladomir’s visor. “I can feel them, thinking of me. And I know they’re coming for you.”
She forced his head to the side. He could see the mist of his world and the glowing, frontal silhouette of a zeppelin rising from the edge of the glass. Lighting flashed from the first ship.
“Let’s put out the doormat, huh?” Shirka said. Blurred shapes extended out from the hole in the tower; colors snapped into focus and a long docking port attached to the walls and floor with a clang.
“Shirka, you can’t let them come here,” Pladomir reasoned. “Once they know about us—once they know where we are—well, it won’t be safe for you, either!”
“What makes you think I’m staying here?” Shirka laughed. “Without Elder’s laws I can go wherever I please. And guess what? Every world sees me as their miraculous heroine!”
She tapped his visor again and he flew, still stuck to the slab, toward the end of the walkway that lead down the sky port.
“You’ll be right there, waiting for them,” Shirka said. “All packaged up like those balls of oxygen you peddled to them all those years.”
“Pladdy!” Beebee cried out. She stood back, shouting up at Shirka. “You can’t leave them in those suits! They’ll die.”
“Beebee, you are the only one that cares,” Shirka said. Another flash lit the sky outside as the zeppelin fired again. “Slaberdashia here”–Shirka pointed down at her with the tool–”beat all the Enpo and made them her slaves.” She moved on to Clance, whose face was blank behind the visor of his suit. “Without Clancy-boy here to keep his world’s magic subdued everyone is happier then they’ve ever been.” She moved on to Cougo and snorted out a chuckle. “I don’t even have to say anything about you.”
“Beebee, you can’t let her do this,” Cougo said as he faced a blank wall. Shirka tapped the tool against the top of his slab and he rose up to her level.
“Do any of you even have a good reason?” she asked. She looked down through the ring strapped to her eye at Beebee. “Can you really tell me that letting them go would be for the best?” The lighting arced between the approaching zeppelins again, setting the closer one ablaze.
Beebee hung her head. “They’re your siblings,” she said. “When we escaped, we were supposed to care for each other.”
“Well they didn’t care about me,” Shirka shot back. “Leaving me at my angle. Telling me to do the same things I did when I was Zonzabee’s test subject.”
“You can’t stop me. You don’t even want to.”
“The people that stopped you on your world,” Clance said. He focused, mumbling up at her. “The ones I saw at Joy’s Focus. They know what you really are.”
Shirka slapped her thigh. “Ha! You think they care? I left them alone this time; they’re all headed back home!” She pointed past the zeppelin, soaring toward the dock with a trail of black smoke curling up behind it. “Once Mean and her pals go back I’m closing off their world forever. No one’s coming for you. No one that wants you alive, that is.”
“And what about Beebee?” Clance asked. “You can’t tell me that the people from her planet are coming to string her up too.”
“I did warn Beebee,” Shirka said. “But I guess she wanted to put all her little peasant fans in danger.” Beebee put her hand to her lips.
“That’s right, Beebs,” Shirka said. “They’re all coming to the chandelier because you didn’t stay away like I told you. If you don’t tell them to go back they’ll get caught in the crossfire. You don’t want their deaths on your hands, do you?”
Beebee sniffed and tipped the brim of her hat up. “No. No, they’ll be fine. I’m going to get you out of this, everyone.”
“Well I tried playing nice,” Shirka said. She dropped to her knees and reached for a tool further down on the pillar. It appeared to be a key with a suction cup on the end.
“This was one she used on us when we were awake,” Shirka stated as she stood up again. With a snap from her fingers Cougo’s slab pivoted up. “You remember what this is, Cougy-boy?” Shirka asked. She brushed against Cougo’s face and the slab swung on the spot; she stuck out her finger, stopping it with Cougo’s feet near her hand. He was right-side up now, glaring down at her from where he was stuck.
“That’s the re-sizer,” Beebee said. “Shirka, stop it!”
“What’s she doing?” Clance asked, struggling in vain to look. Beebee hurried over to his spot beneath the pillar, shouting up at Shirka.
“Let me see,” Shirka said. She stuck the cup on Cougo’s shin and gave the key a sharp twist. The suit expanded, scraping against the slab. Cougo was left stuck in the oversized armor, squealing as his legs were forced apart.
“Ha! How’s that feel?” Shirka laughed. She began to twist the key in the other direction; Cougo’s armor shrank back.
“Shirka, now, let’s not do anything hasty,” Cougo pleaded as his clothes were pressed flat to his body. “Shirka, don’t—!”
His jaw was forced shut and the visor squished against his cheeks.
“You’ll kill him!” Beebee cried.
“Guess you’d better leave, then!” Shirka said between her grit teeth as she worked the key further. Cougo’s ears were compacted against his head by the helmet; his nose bent crooked and blood flowed out from one nostril.
“Alright, stop it! I’ll go!” Beebee wailed. Shirka grinned and eased the key back. Cougo coughed and sputtered, his face red as the helmet ballooned.
“Just don’t hurt them any more,” Beebee said, wiping at her eyes. “I’m sorry, everyone.”
“Hurry up and leave,” Shirka said. Beebee hid her face, skirting around the pillar and toward the hex door marked out on the floor with dull treaded metal. As she hurried, sobbing, she could glimpse the zeppelin docking at the port.
Shirka let Cougo’s slab drop to the floor. She turned to watch Clance, who was struggling near the opening in the tower.
“They’re here for you, Clance!” Shirka called. “They’re, uh, here?” She squinted through her eye-ring at the blimp: a gangplank was unfurled from the bottom, the back of the balloon was on fire, and a glimmering stream of liquid was flowing toward her.
“What’s that? What’s leaking out of it?” Shirka wondered aloud. The water flowed into the room and crashed along the shining floor. With a sudden surge the flow leapt at the pillar, breaking upon it and sending the tools off in all directions. Shirka’s legs wobbled and a second wave followed the first: crashing down on her head.
Her hat was blown off and she was swept away from the pillar in a foamy roar.
“Alvy,” Beebee blurted out. The wave pushed the three remaining slabs away from the pillar: their tops remaining above the surface as they were dragged along with the current. Beebee braced herself as the water reached her; yet it swerved in a path around her body, held in place by a zigzagged boundary. Through the lines she saw Shirka tumbling in the current: flailing and kicking. She collided against the wall, where the water following her churned, gathering into a blob around her body. The rest swept past the pillar and left the slabs resting on the shining floor behind it as it rushed to Shrika’s position.
She gagged and coughed; the water held her in place against the fall wall. Looking past the diamond-shaped pattern of the boundary she could see Mackaba walking into the room with the blazing zeppelin at his back. He held Calm’s gangly body in one arm. Frost spiraled in a bloom across his clothes.
“Alvy,” Beebee uttered again. She hurried over to him, passing Cougo’s slab on the way.
“I take it things aren’t going so well,” Mackaba stated. He set Calm to the floor. She mumbled, shaking her her head to and fro.
“Calm, you were supposed to stop him!” Shirka shouted. She began to pull away from the wall; a gesture from Mackaba sent the water churning, forcing her back.
“You’re crying,” Mackaba said, looking Beebee over. She nodded back, tears streaking across the purple bruise on her cheek.
“She won’t listen to me—Alvy, she was torturing them.” She sniffled, looking over at Cougo on his slab.
“Hey, listen, you just need to finisher her off!” he said. “She almost killed me! And she broke every rule of Arsiling already!”
Shirka chuckled. “You’re not going to kill me. You’ll never get home if you do.”
Beebee touched Mackaba’s arm, brushing some of the ice chunks off. “Alvy, she said your friend was going back to your world. That she’s almost there now.”
Mackaba started across the room, leaving Beebee behind. He scooped up one of the tools that had fallen: a pick with a winged design on the handle.
“That’s right,” Shirka shouted over. “Mean’s about to get away.” She grinned, looking at him through the ring at her eye. “Don’t forget that I’ve seen your heart.”
At the pillar an image of an overturned vehicle appeared. Mackaba was inside, banging on the window with a white-gloved fist.
“I know how she’s humiliated you,” Shirka said. As Mackaba walked, the sterile floor beneath him darkened and cracked: it became a paved city square where he saw himself on his back, wet and defeated.
“I know how much you want revenge,” Shirka went on. “You may have Beebee fooled but I know what you really want.”
Behind her the wall turned to clear glass; the island of Jesice could be seen below it, buildings stretching out into the horizon. Around her the bodies of men wearing suits were scattered.
“Mean and the Lords Ley—they’re the one’s who betrayed you,” Shirka spat. “They’re the ones that bullied you, lied to you, threw you into that prison!” Mackaba continued on, stepping around Slaberdashia’s boot.
“I can take you to her right now,” Shirka told him as he arrived at the barrier. Her image refracted and wobbled in the light amid the turbulent currents. “You can finally catch her.”
Mackaba weighed the pick in his hand. The barrier parted for him as he lunged at Shirka; she screeched as the blade pierced her stomach. She tottered, gasped, and fell.
Beebee cried out as Shirka sloshed into the water pooled on the floor.
“I didn’t kill her,” Mackaba said. “And I won’t kill Mean either. She just wants to go home.”
Shirka coughed, pushing her body away from the floor. “So you won’t be baited, is that it?” she said. Taking effort to raise her eye to him, she winked.
Mackaba’s arms snapped to his sides; in a flash a chain wrapped tight around his body and Shirka leapt up. She swung her hand at his face and he felt a cold material wrap around his entire head and pinch at his neck.
“Containment mode,” Shirka whispered and the helmet revealed itself on Mackaba’s head. It was clear all the way through, displaying his shocked expression.
“There’s one suit left, buddy-boy—mine.” Shirka’s black dress and bloody wound vanished—her body was instead encased in black armor tinged with rust. Her soaked strands of red hair stuck to the shoulders and she held the key-shaped tool in her fingers. With a grin on her face she pressed the cupped end to Mackaba’s visor. He let out a choke as she gave the key a slight twist. The odd water walls at their sides rippled.
“I think I changed my mind,” Shirka started. “After seeing all that I’m, how do you say, reminded of how much trouble that woman’s caused me. And you know what? I think I will kill her. And you’re going to help me.”
Super-fast first draft notes:
Beebee finds Shirka and the other siblings:
Ugh, the starting description here is so rough. It’s to be expected though: I had no details in mind when I started writing it! Don’t worry; I have the rest of the book planned out perfectly! ::wink::
I also MIGHT want a bit more dialog in this chapter since all the siblings are gathered together. I guess that’s why there are some out-of-place lines just floating around without any indication of who is saying them. They’re IDEAS, man. You can’t tie them down.
Shirka tourtures Cougo:
I have to say this scene is looking pretty good. I wasn’t sure how Shirka could threaten anyone as as long as they were trapped inside a contained suit of armor. But then I got to thinking about how the suits would have to be adjusted as the wearer inside grew.
Mackaba busts in to save the day:
Well, this is unexpected. No, really! Sometimes these things just happen! I was going to have him fall to the ground but when characters attempt to do things that I didn’t plan sometimes I just need to go with it!
After all, isn’t Mean the heroine of these books? I was going to have her in this chapter but things kind of took off in a different direction. Where is she!? Get in here, Mean; you can’t let Mackaba have more page time than you!