Thomas realizes that he’d left the oven on before leaving for work that morning.
Author’s note: This is something that I’m putting out there in rough rough rough unedited form. It’s a form of motivation to myself to keep writing and get somewhere. I’m enjoying the process so far, and I hope you as the reader are as well. I’ve started writing in a Moleskine notebook, and that seems to be somewhat productive. This is Part 4 of the series, with the first sections to be found earlier in the blog.
“Wake up, boy!” hissed a voice in Ben’s ear as a hand clamped over his mouth. Ben’s eyes snapped open, and he became aware of a sharp knife at his throat. The mouth to which the voice belonged had atrocious breath, and Ben gagged as he strained against the hands holding him down. A lantern flicked to light, blinding him.
“Time to get to work, little Benny-boy! We gots a lot to do and not much clock-time before dawn.” A calloused hand slapped across his cheek, hard. “You try anything and you’ll be going overboard without the ropes and ladders, you hear me?”
Ben nodded and stopped struggling. As his eyes adjusted to the light, he saw unfamiliar faces around him, readying the airship for flight. Two men lifted a body to the railing, and Ben recognized Len, the old Scot who’d taught him his knots. Len’s throat was slit wide, and left a smear of blood on the rail as he went overboard. A soft curse came up from below.
The man who’d spoken grinned and revealed broken teeth. A scar hooked down his face from his hairline, barely missing an eye. The stubble on his chin failed to hide or improve the wound.
“Len…” Ben turned it into a question.
“He took objection to us coming aboard, so Slyne had to show him how wrong he was, He didn’t object long after that, I tell ye that!” He laughed an ugly laugh, and hawked phlegm. “And speak of the devil hisself, we gots to go see him. Come here!”
Ben found himself lifted and dragged aft toward the captain’s cabin. He usually slept on the deck near the bow engines, and that was where he’d been woken. Janus’ ship, the Sky Drake, was a smaller cargo runner, built for a good mix of speed and cargo room. The design sacrificed some cargo space toward the bow in favor of an extra set of engines for speed. Though all the crew quarters were aftward, Ben often slept in a quilt toward the bow. The engine noise helped him sleep.
“Where is Janus? Mellira? What are you doing to the Drake?” Still disoriented, Ben was having trouble accepting what he saw. He recognized none of the faces around him, though they seemed to be preparing the Drake for flight. One of the cargo rigs was in use, and a number of boxes were being loaded onto the ship.
“What’s it look like to you, boy? We’re heading for open sky soon as we got everything squared away. Slyne wants to talk to you first, though. Last bit o’ business afore we fly. Yer captain’s dead, I reckon. At least, that was the plan. You’ll find none of Janus’ men on the Drake now, well, ‘cept for you maybe. Best behave, you don’t want to fly overboard, do ye?”
The man kept mentioning Slyne, and Ben wondered what the first mate had to do with what was happening. It had to be some sort of nightmare, and any moment he’d wake up screaming. He ducked as they entered the short stairwell that led to the captain’s cabin, and was rewarded with a thump and a curse as the grizzled man slammed his head on the deceptively low lintel.
“Bloody bastard! You warn me next time, you hear? Else you’ll get my fist,” he said, and lashed out with a foot that caught Ben by surprise and sent him tumbling down the last steps. Quick to anger, but also someone who didn’t know airships. The boy filed the information away for later. He was pulled up by a fist clenched in his shirt, and shoved forward into the captain’s cabin.
“Oh good, you’re awake. I hope Mr. Grange hasn’t been mistreating you. He can be harsh in his methods. Harsh, but effective.” Ruther Slyne stood behind the captain’s desk, flipping through the piles of maps that accumulated in any ship, air or sea. Tall and blond, he wore a dark blue greatcoat buttoned to his throat, the collar framing his thin face. “How are you doing, my boy?”
“Go to hell, Slyne!” Grange raised a fist, but a shake of the head from the first mate stayed his hand. “What do you think you’re doing, have you gone mad?”
“Quite the opposite. I am in full possession of my faculties as never before. As to what I am doing, I am assuming the role of captain and taking this fine vessel far, far away from here. You may choose to stay, or come along. First, though, you will write a letter.” Slyne slid a sheet of paper and pen toward Ben and gestured him forward. “The man I hired to dispose of the captain has not returned, which I choose to see as a sign that Janus is still alive. Not what I had hoped for, but still an event that I can work into my plans. Now, Mr. Benjamin, if you will, the pen…”
Ben stepped closer and picked up the pen. The first mate began to dictate, and soon Ben’s hand started shaking as he recorded what was told to him…
A veritable gallimaufry of topics.
The Artisan Dice Kickstarter has almost finished, and will almost certainly be done by the time you read this post. Originally asking for only $300, the campaign has exceeded all expectations, and is now at just over $80,000. It’s incredible. I emailed Charlie Brumfield, the guy who is running it and making all of these amazing wooden dice, and asked him if he would be interested in some of Greyed Out’s dice bags. He said yes, so I mailed him several, and they’re listed as part of some of the rewards levels. Being involved in the Kickstarter, even only very marginally as I am, is ridiculously exciting, and I really liked being able to see a project as cool as this one gain momentum. I’m really glad that it’s getting funded.
I’m posting another update to Airships of Marrakesh tomorrow, and I’m hoping to make it another 1,000 words or so. Stay tuned for that. I’ll try to post to my Twitter when the update goes live. (Find me at @greylikestorms) I’m excited about the project, and I’m thinking of delving into art with it as well, doing some thumbnails in a Moleskine and seeing if I can’t make a short comic out of Janus’ earlier adventure(s).
I’ve been working on Beast-09 the past few days, and I broke out my gesso and got to priming the Beast. He’s currently in 4 pieces – torso, legs, and arms. The arms will get put on last, since that lets me get into most nooks and crannies. I really like the model, and the pose ability, although I went with a fairly stock pose, nothing too action-oriented. Expect pictures as soon as he’s done, as well. The legs have been posted already, and I’m excited to see how the base will turn out once I have it fully painted. …on a random note, I literally just remembered that I wanted to try adding a back banner to Beast, and it completely slipped my mind until just now. I might have to dig through my remaining GW bitz tomorrow and see what I can come up with.
I’m also eyeing the Portable Warfare bags again – the Tactical Orange is very tempting, because it’s such an unusual color that it’s hard to miss, and stands out so much. The bag I threw together on the sewing machine to carry my foam trays is starting to show its age, and I’m afraid that one of these days it’s simply going to rip a shoulder strap and throw my miniatures across the concrete. I’d love to get a Portable Warfare bag with a full foam load-out, and those are priced reasonably at $85 for the load out I’m looking at, but even an empty one would be amazing. Unfortunately, it’s not an expense I can justify right now, so I just wanted to mention here that I sew some pretty cool dice bags, and have an Etsy store which can be found here. I have the Freestanding Drawstring Bag in Brown Suede up, and I can also make them in a smoky gray suede. If you’ve got a friend that needs a new dice bag, pass the word along! These hold a huge amount of dice, and by huge I’m talking upwards of 120 dice, provided that your collection includes some of the 12mm d6′s like mine does.
Tomorrow is going to be a writing/painting/sketching day, and I can’t wait. Thanks for reading!
Hello my dearest readers,
Tonight I have just a quick update, but lots of pictures. I’ve been doing some character sketches in my moleskine for an idea I had for a story/comic/something. It’s about a crew of wayward airship pirates and their quests to glory. Well, it’s more than that. But it’s going to be steampunk-ish, without being too over-the-top.
The tree above is something I did with watercolors, and I was surprised at how much fun I had doing it. Normally I prefer acrylics over watercolors, but whatever I did this time seemed to work, and I’m really happy with how this came out.
I’m also planning to try doing some cartography work on leather, using acrylic paints to do some maps, perhaps of Westeros or other familiar fantasy places. I recently saw a map on Tumblr done that way, and loved how it came out.
In the Etsy shop, I have a new dice bag available – the Freestanding Dice Bag in Suede. I made one version in brown suede, and was ecstatic when it sold just a few hours after I listed it. It’s been re-listed, and I plan to make a second version in the smoky gray suede to list as well. Those pictures are shown below.
Day 5 of 365. This is fancy Nancy in his suit and coat. Done in my Moleskine. Lots of cross hatching on this one.
I think I prefer sketching mice with swords. Eventually I feel my drawings will get better. Part of my doing this project is to improve my illustration skills. I want to practice doing different body types as well, and that may be part of tomorrow’s sketch.
A gallimaufry is defined as: a hodgepodge, jumble, or confused medley.
I’ve been slacking again on updating this thing – my apologies. Life has taken us by storm, and my wife and I have been busy with a variety of different things. My birthday came and went on August 13th, and as a wedding gift we headed to IKEA to get some furnishings for our apartment. I’m typing this from a new work desk, with plenty of surface space to spread out all my art supplies, paints, knick-knacks, and laptop. Next to me is a new bookcase; I finally have my reference books within arm’s reach for easy reading in case I need to look something up. We also have a few items in the living room that look really great. IKEA is an easy and fairly affordable option for making your apartment look nice on a budget.
I’m working still on illustration, and was lucky enough to receive an Amazon gift card for my birthday. It promptly went into purchasing some new art reference books – James Gurney’s two books, Color and Light and Imaginary Realism, as well as a few picture books, for inspiration. I found out that two of the hosts of the WIP Podcast actually live here in Atlanta, which is all the more reason to improve my art skills.
Etsy has revamped its search results to focus on relevancy instead of recent listings, meaning that it’s now possible to find items you’re looking for based on descriptions, tags, and titles, rather than inputting a search term and having the first six pages of listings be the most recently renewed items that fall under that heading. To that end, I’ve done some reworking of my tags and titles, and am hoping to see an increase in traffic based on relevancy.
I also have a Back to School sale going on currently. Use code BACK2SCHOOL for 15% off – I figure that school starting up again is a good reason to get a reward once the house is empty of kids. My shop can be found at http://www.greyedout.etsy.com - the sale will most likely run until around September 10th.
Current projects, both personal and work-related, include a leather Moleskine cover, a few monster skull illustrations, and some figure drawings for myself that should help with painting and technique.
The monster skull is based off a hyena, with the proportions and teeth somewhat skewed… I sprayed it with a matte coating earlier, and am planning on doing some light acrylic washes on top for color. A preview:
The last few days have been busy; my wife had a four day weekend off at work, so we spent as much time together as we possibly could. On Wednesday we picked up some farm fresh milk and pastured eggs, and on Saturday we attended the Sandy Springs Farmer’s Market. The market runs every Saturday from 8:30 to 12:30, and is located in the parking lot of an old closed Target on Roswell Road.
It was pretty great to see everyone out and about even though the day started off rainy and overcast. Thankfully, the temperatures were down, and walking around outside was comfortable. This was my first farmer’s market experience, and I enjoyed seeing the variety of vegetables and products on sale here. We picked up a bunch of the best peaches I’ve ever had, some giant zucchini, some leafy greens, and a pastured chicken that will become dinner for us tomorrow night.
The Sandy Springs Farmer’s Market website: http://www.sandyspringsfarmersmarket.com/index.html
After reading several books on real food we’ve been trying to adjust our diets to that lifestyle – eating vegetables that are in season and organically grown, getting pastured eggs when we can, and going for grass-fed meats. That’s meant a lot of salads over the past week , which, it turns out, isn’t that bad. I’ve been making a great salad dressing that’s tasty and simple all rolled into one. There isn’t even any measuring involved!
Simple and Tasty Dressing:
white wine vinegar
spices to season
Take a bowl and add a splash of the vinegar and olive oil. I think a 1:2 vinegar to oil ratio will probably work best. Try to go for enough liquid to coat the salad leaves, but not leave a pool of dressing when you’re done with the salad. Season to taste with salt, pepper, etc – dill works well – and add a tablespoon each of honey and mustard(Dijon works really well). Take a whisk and whisk your dressing until everything has been incorporated into one smooth liquid. Add your salad leaves to the bowl and toss until the greens are coated well. This dressing depends a lot on personal taste, so feel free to experiment with the best ratios for everything.
On the illustration front I’ve been doing more anatomy studies – I inked a pig’s skull and a bear’s skull from the Cyclopedia Anatomicae, and both turned out well for first attempts. I did them in my Moleskine, which I’m finding works very well for these inked sketches.