The 7-Link-Challenge

Right now I’m reading a book called 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. It’s author, Darren Rowse, posted a challenge on his blog today where he encourages his readers to do something similar to what he teaches in that book. It’s a neat, simple, terrifying task of writing a link-post. Of course I couldn’t resist, you know me… (Or will, if you keep reading my blog ;) )

THE 7 LINK CHALLENGE

  • My very first post on this blog was a beginning of a story, titled Dawn. Dawn is actually a story I’d like to continue some day, I like the idea of it and its characters, but for now it serves a different purpose. Got to start somewhere, right?  *grin*
  • The post I enjoyed writing the most is without doubt my ongoing story… Okay so they are multiple posts, not a single one, but you can find Triplepeak City in reading order on a single page if you want to! The story is about a girl in search of adventure who gets exactly what she asked for and more. Hidden city, horse-riding heroes, dark magic growling in the background in the form of wolves and ravens… Sound like fun?

At first it seemed like a dark cloud, but as it came closer she made out shapes and movement. It was a flock of large black birds, silently gaining on them with such accuracy it was clear what their target was. And soon enough, the first bird let out a rough cry and plunged towards them. It had barely moved from the flock when a few more mimicked its move and then the whole bunch was shooting down.

She reached for her knives, secured by her hip, but was stopped by the rider. He grabbed her arm and put it back around him as he leaned even further down, basically pinning her to the horse.

“Hold on,” he growled, muttered something and the horse broke into a gallop that seemed to be closer to flying than running as it´s feet barely met the ground. The birds missed their target but kept following them and she was about to point that out, somehow, when the rider added:

“Ravens are the least of our problems, it´s the dogs we need to worry about. The guys better have that damn tunnel ready.”

  • There was an interesting discussion on one of my poems, the first time someone actually criticized anything on my blog… Which is great! Feedback for me, some points to think about for you. The poem paints a picture of a troubled girl and it’s called Go on.

Dragging her feet
making her way towards whatever she
has to face that day.

Eyes glazed and gray
hair tangled as if soaked and woven
everything is slow.

  • The fourth part of the challenge was to link to “A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written”. This one is a bit of trouble for me. There are too many to choose from. I think I need to start by admitting to my relentless admiration of James Chartrand.
    (James, if you’re reading this: I’m your #1 fan! Will you please sign my bookmark of one of my favorite posts you’ve written: “How to Become a Better Writer and Get Readers Loving You” ? )Yeah, so there’s this post on reading your work out loud to improve it. Did I mention it? “How to become a better…” Right. Ahem. (How embarrassing.)
    The technique is one I use with and without meaning to. My friend Vallý knows when I’m really concentrating on writing something because I start reading aloud as I type and fix bad lines or ill-fitting words out loud before I fix them on the page… It comes in handy when doing assignments and essays for class together. She knows exactly where I’m going with the text before she gets a chance to read it ;) Do I wish I’d written that post? Do I wish I had the to-the-point and witty voice the author has? You bet I do.
  • My favorite title is “Light in its Natural Habitat“. The post is a poem, a cute little abc poem in fact, and that title both fits it perfectly and sounds… Well, I think it sounds awesome ;) Don’t you?
  • And finally, the post I so wish people would read and take to heart, because it’s supposed to help people realize poetry is a form of expression anyone can use. Please go ahead and read 5 Easy Steps to Writing Rhyme-Free Poetry
    I’m telling you now and I’ll tell you again, it’s not a question of “not getting” poetry. Who does? I mean, really? Do we ever know if what we gather from a poem is actually what the author wanted to say? No. Well, not unless you ask. The point is, if you can read, you can read poetry. It uses the same words as other texts, the same symbols. The words may stand for other than the obvious meaning, but so do words in other types of writing. I mean, have you read a legal document lately?

    Reading poetry is similar to listening to music. You have rhythm and sound, emotional use of words and metaphors… All you have to do is let yourself feel what the words are saying, just like tones of the piano or the guitar.

Now you have a decent list of great posts to read, and by all means do ;) In the meanwhile, I’m writing a little Thank-You post to celebrate a comment count of 100! Yay :) All my wonderful commenters will be listed and linked to, and the top ones get a little paragraph of introduction. All lovely people, I assure you ;)

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Triplepeak – part 7

(Find part 6 here.)

The grand hall filled Chase with dread as he crossed it with the kid in tow. He didn‘t look at the floor, the artfully decorated two-square-feet tiles, or the paintings that hung in viewing height and created a border from door to stairway on both sides of the room.

His large frame was squared and tense, shoulders set back and chin up. He was going to face some serious music this time.

He glanced at the kid as he reached the wide staircase straight across the room from the door. He only hesitated a second, only looked at her long enough to frown, but her image was burnt into his mind. He knew what the council would decide on, and that it was his fault. With a few muttered curses under his breath he started climbing the spiral stairs, one hand locked around a thin wrist.

He let go of her when they were half way up and slowed down a little. Not much, just so she‘d have any breath left when they reached the top floor. He saw her rub her wrist but she didn‘t complain. Maybe she felt the weight in the atmosphere. The finality.

The walls started creeping in as they neared the top, ending close enough to the stairs to easily cause claustrophobia. When the couple finished the hike, Chase‘s shoulders were touching the walls on both sides. This was for security reasons, of course. An entrance like this was easily guarded and there was no other way in or out.

Follow me, Chase said quietly and meant for it to sound commanding but it came out like a plea. Damn nerves, he thought and mentally kicked himself. He couldn‘t afford any mistakes now. He had to stay cool and composed.

He stopped a couple of steps from the tall archway into the front room where they‘d wait for an audience with the council. He should tell her what to expect.

“I, uh…” He started and cleared his throat when his voice sounded cracked and insecure. Well, to be fair it probably sounded just as grumpy as always to others, but he cleared his throat anyway.

“There are laws”, he started again, not sure how much to explain. “No one from the outside is supposed to know how to get to the city, or to see it.”

He looked her directly in the eyes now, hesitating a moment when her grin faded. He focused on her hands until she tucked them in her pockets and then looked her in the eye again, the whole thing taking only seconds.

“What they do”, he said and then corrected himself, “what we do, is execute the outsider”. She didn‘t break eye contact when he growled the last words, but she flinched. Of course she did, who wouldn‘t? Someone from outside these walls wouldn‘t understand the meaning of their secrecy. The way of life depending on it.

“There hasn‘t been an outsider for over twenty years, though. So we‘ll see what they…” He stopped without finishing and frowned. She probably didn‘t believe they‘d kill her, so why give her reason to wonder? Might as well let her discover the severity of the situation herself.

He ran his hand through his hair, leaving it even more tousled, and turned to enter the front hall. He heard her follow… Not going to admit to feeling her follow, that was for sure… And headed for a plush-clad bench near the double doors to the council chambers. They had barely sat down when one  of the guards standing on each side of the door leaned his head a little down and to the side, held a hand to his ear and then looked at them.

“They are ready to see you now.”

His partner immediately stepped forth, pushed the door open and waited for them to enter.

Triplepeak – part 6

(Find Part 5 here.)

Dani admired the view, the surroundings, while they rode towards the city. Once they were threading the streets the sparkling white buildings revealed details of fine cracks and chipped surface, as well as painted murals depicting what Dani assumed to be the city´s history.

The images were like beacons, each one a guiding point towards the council, she realized as they drew nearer. Chase had pointed out a specific tower before they passed through the city gates. Continue reading

Triplepeak – part 3

(Find part 2 here.)

“Hurry up, kid,” the rider said with a quick glance over a broad shoulder without slowing down.

Kid, she thought and grinned. She was twenty seven, hardly a kid, but it wasn´t the first time she was mistaken for a much younger girl. Or boy, for that matter… She didn´t really mind. Much.

“What were you doing out there anyway?” He asked when she caught up. He sounded angry, more than curious, and she wondered if there were rules about going “outside”. Assuming where they were headed was “inside”.

“Walking,” she answered smiling and added, “where are we going?”

Her words, spoken easily and without any dubious intent, might as well have been a bomb threat. All five men stopped and turned to look at her with the same priceless expression of startled surprise. Then they glanced at the rider, hesitating to speak up but obviously wanting to. Finally he cleared his throat and crossed his arms, taking a deep breath so his wide chest got even bigger.

“Where were you going when I decided you shouldn´t become easy lunch?”

His voice was rough and deep, even if he´d made an effort to soften it. She should pale up at the thought of getting on the wrong side of him, but instead she flashed another easy smile and shrugged.

“I heard there was a good spot to camp in the area. And the myth of Triplepeak City. So I thought I´d make a day of it.” Or three. “Is that where we´re going? Triplepeak?”

(Find part 4 here.)

Triplepeak- part 2

(Find the beginning here.)

She felt tiny.

She was bouncing uncomfortably, even if she was being squashed against a strangers body. The horse was moving fast and the rider leaned forward. His voice carried to her from above her head, deep and coarse, as he urged the animal to go even faster. She hung on to him, forced to wrap her arms around him if she didn´t want to go flying. His arm was no longer a safety belt around her back.

The insanity of her situation started to sink in and she twisted as much as she could without losing her grip. She couldn´t turn enough to see his face, but he was huge. When she was about to shout at him to stop and let her go, she was faced with what she could only assume was the reason he was in such a hurry.

At first it seemed like a dark cloud, but as it came closer she made out shapes and movement. It was a flock of large black birds, silently gaining on them with such accuracy it was clear what their target was. And soon enough, the first bird let out a rough cry and plunged towards them. It had barely moved from the flock when a few more mimicked its move and then the whole bunch was shooting down.

She reached for her knives, secured by her hip, but was stopped by the rider. He grabbed her arm and put it back around him as he leaned even further down, basically pinning her to the horse.

“Hold on,” he growled, muttered something and the horse broke into a gallop that seemed to be closer to flying than running as it´s feet barely met the ground. The birds missed their target but kept following them and she was about to point that out, somehow, when the rider added:

“Ravens are the least of our problems, it´s the dogs we need to worry about. The guys better have that damn tunnel ready.”

Her eyes widened, both at his warning and what he had said next. Who were ´the guys´ and what tunnel were they getting ready? Who was this guy!

A howl broke her thoughts and made her tighten her hold. It was followed by another howl and then a loud answer from the ravens, crying and screeching and barking at the…

Wolves. No damn dogs; Grey, big wolves on both sides of the road and clearly circling them. She was now certain the rider was a friend rather than a crazy, kidnapping murderer. She would´ve been a snack for either a flock of ravens or a pack of wolves had he not taken her with him on the run. Why she would even need to worry about that did not become a question at that moment, but how to get out of this on the other hand…

The wolves were creeping closer, new ones appearing as soon as they outran the first. Her heart was racing and she couldn´t figure out how she would defend herself if the animals got close enough to attack. She could reach her knives pretty easily, but what good would they do if the horse was targeted?

She was beginning to plan how to survive if the horse was brought down, being pinned to it and on her back was not the best position to take control of her fall, when the rider hissed „yes!“ and made a turn that was so sharp she could almost touch the ground and wondered how the horse even kept its balance. She didn´t see where they were going but she saw walls of rock and felt a gust of chilly air. They slowed down and the rider sat up straight, allowing her to move freely in front of him again. Tall walls of a narrow canyon reached for the sky on both sides.

She twisted to look in the direction they were headed, just in time to see a round opening into a dark tunnel and a few men on horses holding guns and flashlights. In a second, they were all inside and a solid metal gate closed silently behind them. Lights flickered on, a string of them running the length of the tunnel, fitted into the ceiling. The tunnel walls seemed surprisingly smooth and the floor, even if obviously dirt and gravel, was solid.

Her savior swung lightly to the ground and she immediately followed. Her butt was killing her and her back wasn´t in the best shape either. The other men followed the riders example, leading their horses further into the tunnel. She trailed behind, watching the little group with interest and wondered what the hell she´d gotten herself into this time. Fleeing from wolves and birds and hiding in a tunnel? And to where?

She couldn´t help but grin. Triplepeak?

(Find part 3 here.)

Triplepeak City

(Find all published parts of Triplepeak City in reading order here.)

A bird was chirping happily in a somewhere nearby tree, a brook was caressing smooth rocks and grassy banks while it playfully made its way down a slight hill. Alongside it was a road of gravel and dirt,  wide and stomped down enough to obviously be a main road, but she hadn´t passed or seen another person for quite some time. It might possibly lead to a once big town of much traffic that had wound down to quiet… Nothing unusual about that.

Tall trees on both sides of the road were almost a solid wall, but as the road took a sharp left turn, that wall started to thin out on the right. The mountain she had seen from far distance and then been hidden from view when she entered the woods, was now surprisingly close.

As she walked further and the woods were down to a few trees on the right side of the road, the mountain side of the road, everything seemed to quiet down even more. No birds were hopping from branch to branch, no cracking of twigs and leaf indicating small animals shooting around in the cover of tall grass and trees… Not even the trees themselves were making a sound. No gentle hissing of movement in the sunlit canopy, nothing at all.

She watched the mountain while she walked, studied its landscape, and came to a sudden halt when she made out what seemed to be a manmade structure on it. A wall was leading from just above the roots of it and across a small distance of open land before it dipped into what looked like a canyon.  And the road seemed to lead right there.

She picked up her pace, despite the loud protesting of her weary feet, eager to find out what this was. To find out if it was true.

There were myths, stories about a city inside Triplepeak mountain. They said it was a magical place of bounty and prosperity. A place where people lived in perfect harmony and where laws of war and struggle were unknown. Utopia. They also said it was hidden from view to every soul not born within it´s walls.

She didn´t actually think she would find Triplepeak City, or that if it existed it would be anything close to utopia. She imagined, if she assumed it was real, that it was simply a well hidden and well protected city of possible wealth- and hidden because it knew the laws of war, not ignorant. Why else would people isolate themselves. It was surely a way to armour against attacks.

She was almost running now, her mind spinning possibilities into a clear song of determination. She had to see for herself where that wall led, what it was protecting, hiding. This was why she decided to come here, to this part of the world, in the first place.

She didn´t hear him coming until it was too late. Hooves thumped rapidly onto the ground and before she even managed to turn her head, she was swept up and roughly landed on a moving horse, facing it´s rider.

(Find part 2 here.)