Friday, November 22, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Q&A // The Answers

Little Surfs: old is Willow? And does she marry?????
Willow: Willow is 19 years old in that world, and 17 years old back home in the Veil {Earth World}. Very confusing. The reason is because we {D and I} wanted to be older in that world, and be younger back home {veeery confusing} so we are two years older in that world than we are in this one.
   And no, she does not marry. She/me will not marry until I/her do {tongue-twister! Try saying that five times fast!}. So if Willow/me falls in love, you can guess what's happening with me :) But in Friends and Enemies, Willow/me does not marry or fall in love. Although I've gotta admit, I thought it'd be cute.

Mary B: What happened to Liberty? (Willow's Kestrel) Are you going to kill off Tajoreth?
Willow: Liberty is happily in Essgarothe, being fed treats. She will appear more later, so be on the watch for that.
   And no, Tajoreth will live. Unless I decide on the spur of the moment to kill him >:) As you will see in upcoming chapters, he wasn't actually raised by his father {Tashmath} so he doesn't have such attachments to the Shadow as do his elder brother, Kedemeth.
   Quick note, I don't usually kill off my characters, so if you are attached to someone, no worries. They probably will not die. They might be put through agonizing pain {Willow, Betromith, etc.} but will 10 to 1 not die/be killed off by me. Unlike Steven Moffat {co-writer of Dr. Who (I just saw the Girl in the Fireplace) and Sherlock} and the D-ster (Darrion), I do not enjoy inflicting emotional pain upon my readers. Okay, maybe every/so/often, but rarely.

Ammelia Gabriella: I was wondering if Willow gets married as well :) Also, is Darrion going to be in this book?
Willow: (Sigh with smiley face) No. She does not marry {man, I should have chosen a different suggested question}.
   And D will make an appearance {watch for an unusual entrance}. Yeah, for you people who want to see D, be prepared. We worked on her intro scene. Yep, this is going to be lots of fun. She insisted on a certain way of introduction. No matter my protests ;)

[Interesting note: This quote that has been edited onto this photo, is actually mine and D's. I wrote the first part, and D added the second. Then it shows up on someone's Robin Hood board. I wonder why they didn't figure out that we made it up and that they didn't say this in the series?]
Be a Friend not an Enemy,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Watchmen File // Chapter Eight // Appletree Grove

Hey yo, everybody!

   Wow! Another day, another chapter!

   Of course, this is chapter eight of the Watchmen Files, and I know I said that we would have gorillas from the Amazon (don't ask) guesting on this chapter, but then I figured out that this one needed to come first. 

   I've been anticipating this chapter for a while now.

   And I know you're all wondering if I have had bonk on the head or something for naming the chapter Appletree Grove. I mean, what is an apple tree doing in the Watchmen Files? Well, you will have to see for yourself :)

   So here I give you Appletree Grove!

Appletree Grove

   "Hey!!" Sargent Graham belted out at his slumbering training squad on a warm summer Sunday morning. They were all so startled that some of them shouted in surprise, or fell out of their bunks (i.e. McKee), and others scrambled to attention.
   "Um, sir," Hank started, "I thought it was Sunday today...?"
   "It is," Graham nodded and straightened his tie as the rest hustled into formation.
   Mason choked, then rubbed the sleep out of his eyes to clarify what he saw. "Sargent, are you wearing a... a suit?"
   Graham, much to the squad's astonishment, was wearing a white dress shirt, black tie, grey dress pants, and sharp black dressy shoes. "Actually, this isn't a suit," he coughed awkwardly. "I was wondering if any of you would like to attend chapel with me?"
   That was the nicest way he had ever asked a question before, and almost no one knew how to answer him.
   "Church?!" Well, I did say almost, right? "I'll come, I'll come!" Conner chirped, leaping up from the floor, now quite awake. "Just let me grab my Bible." His green eyes sparkled as he jumped through one of the bunk beds to get to his trunk, then paused. "But what will I wear?"
   "I've taken care of that," he gestured to the nearly identical stack of clothes on top of one of the trunks. "Go wash up, the two of us are to be there in fifteen minutes. Unless, anyone else would like to join us?"
   The group shifted uncomfortably for a minute, Mason studied his bare feet, and Chris shifted uncomfortably.
   Jared stepped forward. "I'll go, if it's okay with you, sir."
   "Of course!"
   Jared followed after Conner to change and more silence followed his absence.
   "I'd be glad to have all of you come with me."
   More silence. More studying. More shifting.
   Graham wasn't one to give up easily. "Gabe, have you ever been to church?"
   Gabe shook his head. "No, sir. I don't know anything about God."
   "Well, if you come, you can learn, if you'd like."
   Gabe took a moment before slowly nodding and picking up the clothes and followed after Conner and Jared.
   "The pastor will be preaching in James, it's a great book."
   Felipe sighed dramatically and stepped forward as well. "Mother use to take us to church when we were young, so I suppose we will come."
   Jean-Claude nodded. "Yes, what else is there for us to do?"
   "Come on, Mason," Conner had come out, face shaved and smile bright. "You can sit next to me."
   I don't wanna go, he sighed, but found himself nodding begrudgingly. "I'm already up, so... fine, I'll come."
   Conner looked positively gleeful. "Fantastic!"
   Mason had actually never been to church, he had only gone with Ava once, and that was to drop her off and then come back to walk home with her. Ava... she would want him to go to church. He remembered her tugging on his shirt, batting her eyelashes at him to come with her this time, just once. She's probably not in a church today. Not today.
   After having a difficult time changing into the dressy clothes, he was about to head out when Conner stopped his suddenly. "What is that?"
   "Uh," he glanced down at what Conner was staring at. "It's a tie."
   "No, it's a mess! Have you ever actually tied one before now?"
   The long clueless stare from Mason confirmed his suspicions.
   "Oh, let me do it."
   It was a little embarrassing to have another guy correctly tie his tie, but it had to be done, and apparently, he couldn't do it himself. Come to find out, Graham had convinced everyone to come with them, which wasn't bad. He didn't have to be embarrassed all by himself. The jog to chapel wasn't too fast paced, even Conner could handle it.

   "So, what did you think?" Conner inquired, trotting up beside Mason who had gone ahead of the rest of the group after chapel was over.
   Mason's stride didn't slack. "I dunno... I just didn't get some things."
   "What didn't you get?"
   "Well, what did he mean by 'doers and hearers'? What's that suppose to mean?"
   "Oh, you mean when he was in James 1. If you hadn't been playing around with your tie you might have heard him explain that the doers would be the Christians who do the will of the Father, and the hearers are the ones who go to church but just don't do what the Bible says."
   "Huh. You know, I've known some good people. Why wouldn't God let them into Heaven? I mean, not that I believe there's a God or a Heaven, but... you know..."
   "Mason," Conner started, stopping in his tracks and cleared his throat. "He would."
   "What? Really?" He hadn't expected that. "I thought your pastor dude said-"
   "He did say. Tell me, do you know if that 'good person' has ever... say, lied to you or someone else?"
   Mason paused, then shrugged, "Yeah."
   "Have you ever used the Lord's name in vain, or stolen something, anything?"
   "Yeah, everybody does."
   "Exactly. Every person who ever lived on this earth has broken God's commandments, and that makes them a sinner. All except One. Jesus lived  a life without sin-"
   "Yeah, yeah, I know the story."
   Conner didn't flinch. "But you don't believe it."
   "Not really. I mean, it's a great story and all, but..." Mason trailed off.
   "I don't see how He can be a good God if all this bad stuff happens. Why wouldn't He stop that?"
   Conner paused and thought a moment, trying to find the right way to say it. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And at the end of the creation week, He made His prime creation: man.
   But man sinned, and because God is just, all of creation was cursed. We are all descendants of Adam, we are all sinners.
   So God, in His merciful nature, found the only way that the sin of man could be forgiven: by the sacrifice of the only perfect person in the whole world, the Son of man, Jesus the Christ. And He died on the cross for all the sins of all who would believe, and rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
   Right from the beginning He had a plan to save man, to offer them eternal life. To give us a way out."
   "I know, but why? I mean, why would He have to send people to hell if He's good and mercy and all?"
   Conner took a moment to rephrase what he had meant. "Let's think about it like this... let's say that the bloke who kidnapped Ava, what was his name..."
   "Sven Kruger, he's my cousin."
   "Right, Sven. Let's say that we caught him, but found that he had killed Ava."
   Mason cringed at the thought of his little Ava being harmed at all by that Nazi.
   "And then we put him on trial and he tells the judge, but sir, I'm not a bad person. I may have murdered an innocent person, but I'm not really a bad guy. I'm basically a good person. And then the judge lets him go. What would you think about him? Was he a good judge?"
   It didn't take a rocket scientist to answer the questioned, but Mason still took a second to think about it, and finally gave up. "Yeah, he would be a pretty rotten judge."
   "You're correct, he sure would be," Conner nodded. "And now apply that to God. We sinned against Him, then killed His Son! Would He be a just God if He said, sure, you've done a few good things in your lifetime, so why don't you come on in? Don't fret, the kettle's just boiled. He would be doing what was wrong, and by nature, He cannot do that. Do you understand?"
   Mason sighed, but he couldn't argue. Conner was right. He'd never really thought of God as being a judge. All he had ever heard was that God had a plan for you and that He loved you, all sorts of mushy baloney. It never really struck him like that. "I... I guess you're right."
   Conner smiled and a moment later Graham called them over to the others.
   "Alright boys, I've got something special for you. Follow me."
   They walked out into the pleasant breeze and warm sunshine, over the track, and through the training courses to a large grove of trees bordering the facility.
   Jared reached up, plucked an apple, and began to munch contentedly.
   Once they had gotten pretty far off from the Training area, Duke spoke up. "So what's up? Are we gonna have a picnic or something?"
   Conner's face brightened at the mention of food as Graham pressed on. "Just a little while longer... ah, found you."
   The guys entered a small clearing where the apple trees were parted as if someone had forgotten to plant a row of them.
   "What's... oh." Mason started, then stopped when he spotted a single gravestone in the center of the clearing.
   "Eliot Peterson," Graham spoke quietly as they came nearer to the lone, white grave. "His ship was on fire and heavily damaged, he knew if he attempted a landing, he would crash and his vessel would explode. After the rest of his crew evacuated, he steered the good old Trustworthy to their end." Graham gestured around him, "This place use to be an old abandoned factory. But his ship was carrying apple seeds, if you can believe it, and when she exploded, the seeds when flying, and now this."
   They gazed about at the many apple trees, speechless. To just... die to save others? How?
   "McKee, would you read the stone please?" Graham asked.
   Conner nodded and knelt next to the tombstone and read it in a gentle but serious tone. "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8."
   Graham waited a moment for the verse to sink in. "Thank you. I think it speaks for itself, but let me clarify.
   If you are a Watchman it is your manly duty to risk your life for you friend, or whoever needs it. I know that some of you, like Peterson, will be asked to give your lives for the sake of others. Are you willing? Are you ready to meet your maker? Do you have what it takes to do this? I know it's a hard concept, but this is what you signed up for. I know it's easy to say you'd do it when you're on this side of the barrel, but I want you to really think about today. You may have what it takes, but it will take everything you've got. Understood?"
   Some of them made mumbling sounds in acknowledgment as Mason and Conner just stood, pondering. Tears began to well up in Conner's eyes at the idea. Not of his own death, but of the One who had died for him. A prayer of thanks was silently lifted up as the others left him the clearing.
   "Con?" Mason inquired from the small path their squad had created as they left. "You coming?"
   He didn't move, but patted the gravestone and nodded without turning around. He knew what he would have to do. "I'll be right there."
   Mason didn't let him wait by himself but stood by for the moment of silence until Conner spoke again.
   "We don't need to mourn the loss of this brave hero. Christ died for him, I'm sure he's quite content up there," he turned and gave his companion that award winning smile, and they walked back to the barracks together.

And we're finished! Well, not with the entire book of course, but with the short rest of a chapter you just read here. So, as always, tell me what you think in the comments below (or on the pin on Pinterest)! I'd love to hear what you think about the characters especially.

Psst! Ammelia has her second chapter up, so you have time to start reading! She's doing great :) Oh, and not to be forgotten, Willow's story, Friends and Enemies is going swell. She has a question and answer session going on right now, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask her! And I (Darrion) may be making an appearance in her book, so stay tuned!


Monday, November 18, 2013

// Without Cause // Chapter Two //

Hello everyone! Ammelia here, with the second chapter of Without Cause. Sorry I didn’t post last Monday, I forgot it was Monday until late, and by then, I just thought I’d wait until next Monday, which is today. So anyway, here’s the next chapter.

//Without Cause//

//Chapter Two//

//Background Check//


   “Alrighty, so you both know that your Mum and I were missionaries before you came along.” Dad started out. “But there’s so much more that we haven’t told you about what we did.” 
   “You didn’t kill anyone, did you?” Kylie asked, a concerned look in her ice blue eyes.A fiercely confused expression came across Dad’s face. “What? No, of course not! In fact, we had a strict rule about absolutely no weapons able to inflict death.”
   Now I was confused. “Wait, we? I thought missionaries didn’t even carry any weapons, and what weapon wouldn’t, kill someone?”
  “Stun-guns.” Mum stated, in a matter of fact way, like we should already know that she ran around shooting people with stun-guns. 
   “Mum! You shot people?!” Kylie gasped.
“No! I never said that-“
   “You just did!”
  Dad’s booming voice cut through their little squabble. “Stop! Kylie, Ethan, listen. No talking, just listen.” That was enough to make Kylie shrink into the corner of the couch, and me close my mouth. Dad scooted to the edge of his recliner and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees and folding his hands, a sure sign that this would be a long conversation. “Back when I first came to the states and met your mother, we both wanted to do missionary work around the world. It was a passion we both shared, and still is. We were young, yes, and that might be part of the reason why nobody tried to stop us from trying to spread the Gospel. We, and a few of our friends who were also interested, joined together and created our own little missionary group. We started out small; you know, family, friends, that kind of thing. But after about a year, more people we met wanted into the group, offered their help whenever possible, and even donated money. It wasn’t long before we got our first offer to actually go abroad and minister to people. The offer was from my uncle, who was a pastor, and my main inspiration for wanting to become a pastor.” 
   “You wanted to be a pastor?” I asked, breaking the no talking rule. “Why didn’t you follow your dreams?” I couldn’t help but throw in a little humor.
   Dad was not amused, but Kylie backed me up. “Yeah, I think you’d have been good at it. There’s still time, you know. You’re only 44.” He looked annoyed (he hates being interrupted), and my Mum nudged him with her foot. He cleared his throat and continued.
   “Anyway, I went on my first real mission trip when I was 17. My uncle took your mum and I, at that time we were just good friends, to a small town in Canada. It was a wonderful experience. I never looked back. Over the course of the next two years, we started branching out, visiting different countries, and we became bolder. Wherever we went, people were eager to follow and help us in our work. Our little operation grew, we made lasting friends, but our trips just kept getting more and more risky.”
   “That’s where the stun-guns come in, right?” Kylie interrupted again.
   Dad shook his head. “Not quite. That’s when I decided to officially establish a group, and find a headquarters, or base, where the group could hold meetings without getting in the way of anyone in our families. We told the location to absolutely no one outside of our missionary alliance. Our goal for our group was to reach people who were isolated and had no way of learning about God, as most missionaries do. But our operation was a little different. The base where we hid developed into a kind of Gospel-driven shelter, where we rescued different people. Some needed an escape from persecution, some needed help recovering from an addiction, some were orphans, or they were just people who sought the Truth. 
   “It was a huge risk taking in people who were unbelievers, what with their shady past and everything, it’s a wonder we weren’t discovered earlier. But we crept into prisons, scaled strongholds, and did whatever it took to reach a person in need. If they were in danger, we couldn’t resist helping them.
   That is where the stun-guns come in. As I said before, we made a vow never to use or do anything that would intentionally result in death. We also tied to keep any kind of violence a last resort. We taught self-defense and the works, but we rarely had to use any of it.
   “Anyway, a fellow missionary, who was a weapon’s expert, and I invented our own non-lethal weapon, the Stun-Gun. When one pulled the trigger, it releases and energy beam, that, if it strikes its target, would result in a five second state of shock, followed by unconsciousness, which could last for up to 74 hours, leaving no aftermath but grogginess for a few minutes after they regained consciousness. Everyone in our operation was required to have one, but with all our missions carefully planned and thought out, we rarely used them, as with self-defense, just so that confirms your suspicions about your Mum running around shooting people.”  
   Dad paused for a drink of water, which Mum had brought while he was talking. I took advantage of the silence. “So, how much longer until you get to the part about why you’re not working there anymore and why you didn’t tell either of us about it?” I asked, gesturing to myself and Kylie. 
   He held up a hand as he finished swallowing. “Let me finish. There’s a lot more to this than you think.” He set his glass down and continued. “We rescued close to a hundred people within the span of a few months. One of the people we rescued was a sickly German woman, also a professing Catholic. But she explained to us that she still felt like she was missing something. We broke her out of a detention center, where she was being held for her ‘religious beliefs’. She had a son, who was about your age at the time, Kylie. She had had one other child, a little girl, who had been killed in a freak accident several years before. She never told us exactly what happened to the little girl. 
   “Her son was very rebellious and stubborn, and caused many, many problems within the base. You could tell that the death of his sister had hurt him terribly. He refused to listen to any of us about anything that had to do with the Bible, and was a steady rotten influence on the younger children around the base. James was the young man’s name.
   “His mother’s health started fading more quickly, and he blamed us. When she finally accepted Christ a few days before she died, her son became violent. He yelled, accused people of horrible things, and told everyone we were a hate run business. Those were his mother’s last memories of him. It was terrible to watch, and we knew we had to do something. My uncle approached him and explained to him that he would need to change his behavior, or find somewhere else to stay. 
   “Then, our worst nightmare came true. He walked out the door without a word, and called the authorities, telling them we were a dangerous enemy who was hording prisoners and convicts. We had an emergency bailout, and everyone was moved to one of the member’s homes temporarily. The day after the bailout, police and the FBI raided the abandoned base, and burned it to the ground. That struck me as odd, since they didn’t even do an investigation. But with a little snooping of our own, we discovered it wasn’t the police, or the FBI who conducted the raid. In fact, there was absolutely no record of anything that had to do with us. Yet, we could not figure out who had actually done. It was a confusing dilemma.  We later discovered it was James himself and some sort of gang who had done it. 
  “A few days later, we got a call from one of our members who was out doing mission work. He said he found the perfect place for us to settle again. It was remote, quiet, and few knew it existed. We got permission from the owners to buy live there, and began the process of transferring everyone there. We traveled there in groups, slowly, and moved in. That’s where the base has been ever since.” He paused for another drink of water, purposefully giving room for questions. 
   Kylie went first. “So it’s still there? Do you preach in it or something? Where is it? Is it some kind of church?”
   This time Mum jumped in. “Children, you need to remember that this is confidential information. You simply cannot tell anyone about this. Yes, it is still there. We can’t tell you the exact location, but it is here in the states. It’s still what it was 17 years ago: an outreach mission for Christ, there’s just a lot less… outreaching.”
   “Why?” I asked.
   Dad took the wheel again. “Because I compromised it. I took up a risky mission a few years after we regrouped at the new safehouse. It turned out to be a trap, set by our old friend, James, and I led several of our people strait into it blindly. Two out of the group were killed, three were taken hostage, and the remaining two, myself and another missionary, escaped. We eventually conducted a rescue mission for the other three, but James was just trying to make a point, that he would kill random people if I continued to lead in spreading the Gospel, or continued to do missionary work. He killed two out of the three hostages, just to make sure I knew he meant what he said.
   “At that time, Ethan was four, and your mother was pregnant with Kylie. We decided it would be safer, not just for us, but for all of the missionaries, to put our work on hold, and see if James would calm down. A few months after Kylie was born, I tried to test the waters again. A team of me and three others went on a small mission. Unfortunately, James has eyes everywhere, and usually our team did a good job of covering our tracks, but he found us, and blew up a whole street filled with people. We gave up after that. So many people had been killed, and it was my fault. 
  “Your Mum and I moved away, to keep you two safe, as well as the rest of the Operation. The others of the Operation still do remote, secluded, quiet mission trips from time to time, by disguising. As technology has improved, we’ve been able to cover our tracks more effectively. But I still don’t feel safe enough going back into it. And whatever sort of technology we use, could be tracked to us. James didn’t really want the others, he wanted me. He still does. That’s why we haven’t been back to headquarters in such a long time. I have a family to protect. 
   “James never thought I’d go away so quietly. He expected a fight, and when he didn’t get one, he grew murderous again. Now, he’s trying to find us. Still trying to pick a fight over something he believes I did. He kills people because he feels like it and its fun. It’s all a game to him. A sick, evil, twisted game. He’s eluded police and authorities all this time, and has never been held accountable for his actions.”
   “How do you still know what the others are doing? I mean, if you can’t use a phone or the internet.” I had to ask.   “Well,” Mum explained, “It’s very difficult. There’s people spread around several countries, who meet at a certain time and place wherever they are, and they get the information, then they go back home and turn that information into something else, like a letter or note, then send it out under a fake name, or they use their initials. But we are working on other ways.”
   Kylie gasped. “So that’s what all those weird letters you’ve been getting are coming from! I thought they were from somebody who you didn’t like.” 
   “Well, this past note was a warning from a friend and fellow missionary. They think we’ve been spotted. Or at least, they think they know what state we’re in. And I’ve been told that James has recruited even more people to help him act out his crimes. He’s done playing and wants your father dead, as well as the rest of us. We might have to leave soon.”
   “Will we ever get to meet any of these missionary friends of yours?” I inquired.
  “Yes, I hope so. If not on this earth, then hopefully in heaven.” Mum stated in a cheery tone, knowing full well I don’t like it when she talks about that stuff. Kylie doesn’t mind it as much as me. I rolled my eyes and caught Dad giving me a look.
   Kylie spoke next. “So did you guys have a name for the group thing?”
  Mum beamed. “Yep, we sure did. Your Dad came up with it. We called it Cause. Operation Cause. Cause is an acronym for Christ is the Author, the Undying Savior, the Everlasting.”
   “Wow, that’s cool.” I commented lamely.
   “Well,” Dad cut in, “I think it’s time for you two to get going with your chores.”
   Mum nodded. “Right, and I have a goat to milk.”
 Kylie and I jumped up off the couch and stretched. I looked at my watch and gasped. Two whole hours had passed since we had all sat down to talk. It was already starting to get dark outside. Before we left the room, Dad called us back.
    “Ethan, Kylie, remember, do not tell anyone about this. Anyone. Understood?”
 We both nodded.
   “Understood?” he questioned again, in a louder tone.
 “Yes, sir.” Both Kylie and I answered.
   He smiled and closed the conversation with, “I love you both very much.  Please remember that, and think about what your mum was just telling you.” He gave Kylie a hug, and me a slap on the back. Kylie and I headed off to go do our chores, the contents of the past two hours running through my mind like a freight train.

    And that’s it! Hope you all enjoyed it! The next chapter will introduce a few new characters, and is a bit fast paced. Stay tuned!


 Psalm 98:4 ~ Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and praises.