Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Tag: Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale (page 1 of 2)

Taking A Break

With the completion of posting of Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale, I’m taking a break from posting this week. It got a bit hairy for me toward the end of the book, with me barely keeping up with my weekly post and scheduling posts of the book. I managed to finish edits on it a few weeks beforehand, but apathy struck, and it was a fight the whole time. Sadly, that apathy about posting here is still with me. I’m hoping that taking a deliberate break from the onus of posting, however brief it may be, will prevent an unanticipated case of full-blown bipolar apathy regarding the site. I’ve done this before, with mixed success. Here’s hoping my blog absence will last only a week.

A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 11

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Asthané assured the guard—it was always a different one who brought him to his palace chambers—he was capable of stumbling to bed on his own. Following a minute’s hovering hesitation, the woman departed, and he watched her go, waiting until she disappeared around a corner. Good. He could relax now.

This Council meeting hadn’t been so bad. Of course, he’d spent most of it sitting outside the chamber while other business was taken care of, but he still had a head which felt like someone had used it for a drum and knotted guts. He wasn’t sure just how much of the fine supper in the room beyond this front door he’d be able to eat, especially cold—he’d learned long ago, most foods eaten while sick with Gift reaction tended to lack flavor if left cold—and he wasn’t inclined to use his Gifts to heat anything up. It might be best to skip supper altogether.

He turned the handle and forced himself to move into the room. Bless the soul of whoever watched over these chambers, they always left the fore chamber well-lit, the gaslights bright. Maybe someone who understood about Mages was monitoring the use of this apartment. Whoever it was, he wanted to thank them. He shuffled in, edged to the side, and shut the door as he leaned against the wall, tipping his head back as he closed his eyes. Bed was just across the way, in the next room, but he needed a break to register he truly was free for the rest of the evening.

“Thané?”

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 10

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta kept his gaze on the two trunks at the foot of his bed as he dropped his class things on his desk; the shelves were blocked by the trunks now. One was new, burnished yeru from the lot his parents had purchased for that trip to the lake when he was six. When he crossed to look at the address on it, he found his mother’s handwriting as he expected, and he knelt to unbuckle the straps holding the lid shut, using his parrying dagger to cut the knotted bits of twine which his mother had apparently deemed suitable as a security measure. His armor lay on the top; bits of plate for arms, with a mail tunic. Two letters and a leather-bound book lay on top of the mail tunic.

He fanned the pages of the book, but they were all blank. A journal, then. After taking notice one letter was from his mother, he picked up the other, from Alénil, and opened it. It said little, his best friend choosing not to go into detail about a life he knew Géta was very familiar with, then introduced the journal with the suggestion Géta use it as a kind of notebook to keep records of events he wanted to write home about. Géta set the letter on top of his clothes and picked up the journal again, opening it.

He gazed at the blank pages, considering what he could write in it right now for a few minutes, then made himself close the journal and set it on top of his clothes. Opening his mother’s letter enabled him to acquire the key to the trunk, but he didn’t read the note with it yet. The half-hour bell chimed, so he needed to get out to the Weatherfield gate or he’d be in trouble.

He locked the trunk, then added the key to the leather strap of his keyring and collected his flute. No time to straighten things up, and he’d have to ask about what to do with the trunks when he unpacked them later. He hurried out to the gardens and trotted up the path he usually took to the Weatherfield gate.

And came around a bend with a tall hedge right into the trio of bullies who had been after him.

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 9

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta followed Udé into the dining hall. His friend had announced the kitchen always set out a sideboard in the afternoon, primarily because Mages finishing afternoon practice generally required some sort of sustenance. The sideboard was actually an abbreviated selection of foods set on the counter where meal components were set out, and Udé lifted the lid of the soup tureen at one end of the collection of food, rattling the ladle about.

“Dregs. Who eats the soup before I get here?”

Chuckling over the complaining tone of voice his friend had spoken in, Géta wandered over to the left and collected an orange and a couple sausage rolls. The crusts were a little hard, but that didn’t matter. Udé followed his example, collecting four of the rolls into a hammock made with the bottom of his tunic and selecting three apples instead of oranges. Géta finally found a position with his arm and collection of music which supported the food he’d taken, and the pair headed for the door to the hall leading to the Mages’ and musicians’ quarters, him in the lead.

“So how was this practice?”

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 7

This entry is part 08 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta’s stomach kept sending up mouthfuls of lunch as he waited, by turns gazing into the garden in hopes of seeing the Mages and staring out over the field wondering if they’d already passed. It hadn’t been one yet when he’d left for the gate to the Weatherfield, but he was afraid he may have missed meeting them. Pacing a little, he continually swallowed as he hugged his flute to his side. He hadn’t bothered to take it out and put it together and had spent a few minutes in indecision, wondering if he should bring the music he was learning before deciding this couldn’t be counted as an official practice. This was real performance, and it chilled him despite the humid heat of the day.

He turned away from the field and saw four people on the path from the Temple. The woman at the head of the little group wore a tunic with a V-bent arrow through crescent with the points down on the front; an orange, yellow, and blue spiral filled the space between the arrow and bottom of the crescent. The others he could see wore different colors; one with yellow, another with blue, and the last he couldn’t see from where he stood with the others blocking. Géta caught glimpses of red hair, but that was all.

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 4

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

The heat felt oppressive, thick with humidity, and Géta opened his room’s window in hopes of a relieving breeze the moment he got in, not even setting his flute and the new music he’d been given down first. A little breeze did come in and he inhaled the fragrance from the vaila flowers a few times before crossing the room to set his things on the shelf. He treated his flute with more reverence than it had ever before received, and the music with equal care. This first lesson with his flute teacher had been the most grueling he’d ever experienced, but he felt bright with happiness, for he’d been praised for his skill and given some difficult music to learn. His instructor, a weathered old man with agile fingers and a far greater skill with the flute than Géta felt he’d ever attain, seemed to think he was some sort of prodigy.

Géta removed his belt and laid it on top of his stacks of clothing, took off his tunic and hung it on the back of the chair, and flopped onto his bed. Perhaps he should have been tired after the long day, but he wasn’t. His mind wouldn’t stop running, going over the day from the first hour in the library. Groaning, he stretched, wiggling a little to work out kinks left over from holding his flute to his lips well over four hours straight. It wasn’t that he’d never practiced so long before, it was just the fact it had been more intense than ever.

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Extended Writing Downswing

By “extended writing downswing” I mean in regards to getting plot cards and fresh words on projects. Over the past few months, I’ve done little with my writing beyond editing and the new brain dumping stuff. Sadly, I consider “actively writing” primarily to be getting plot cards and new words on my stories.

This has not been a completely dry period for my writing though. I have been scribbling notes for various stories in my journals. In addition to the three stories on my projects page, I started a journal on another story, a fantasy mystery called Return of the Moribund God I: Life After Tavrinia. In this story, the ghost of one of the sleuth’s friends awakens him one night, and he and his roommate go to retrieve her body from the river. This is one of my particular favorite stories, mainly because I just adore the MC I conceived for this series, Pliutius, who is a 48-year-old mage who’s serving his second deity—and is about to stir the interest of a third.

I’ve also started a “general notes” journal. So far, it has only one note, but that probably won’t last. I have intentions of going through all these 200-300 index cards I have notes for various stories written on. Some of these notes are just random ideas that don’t yet have a home that I’ve jotted down. A lot of sorting needs to go on.

Also, I need to go through my scrap paper notes and new Scrivener files to create folders for my World Folder Drawer to put those notes in. There’s a few hundred or so names written down on these index cards and some scrap paper sheets that don’t have a particular home that I need to jot down in my, oh, 30-year-old name notebook. Actually, I think I’m going to switch the name notebook to one of my hardcover journals—I picked up a few more at the office store earlier this week as the current notebook is a literal notebook with a soft cover that’s in danger of tearing from the wire spiral.

Oh, I have plans for these story notebooks, should I ever complete the stories I’m working out in them. A number of my writer friends and people I follow have Patreon accounts, and I’ve decided it would be a cool idea to use my note entries, and, ultimately, the notebooks themselves, as rewards for patrons. There’s a bit of other financial stuff I need to figure out first, though, so we’ll see. And, I also need to complete these stories and series and publish them somehow. If I don’t do the Patreon thing, I’ll more than likely find another way to share the notes to these stories and the notebooks (sets) with interested readers. We’ll see how this stuff develops.

But for now, I’m just working through the dry spell with writing. I can feel stuff working in the back of my mind, and I know my Creative Mind isn’t completely ignoring the writing aspect because I’m able to get notes for my journals. I’m also reading through various incomplete stories of mine, both old and new. And there’s also the editing. The worst writing downswings always make me disinterested in working on my writing in any way. So, I think this year is being just as productive as last year, simply in a different way.

I hope you’re enjoying A Pitch of the Scale. There are two more books (thus far) after this book, but I won’t be posting them here. If you want access to them, sign up for a Wattpad account and visit my profile there. I post updates about what’s happening with the DH series there regularly.

A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 3

This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

Géta got through breakfast without trouble. Apparently, few were up at six when the dining hall opened, and he had his pick of the offerings and eyed the few others present before sitting by himself. Most of the others were adults; Priests or Mages. After returning his tray and dishes to the kitchen, he ventured into the school proper for some exploration.

Like the dormitory, the school halls consisted of one major artery with branches off to either side. Géta checked the paper he had and found the rooms where his book-learning classes were, then sought the weapons-practice room. It was off the main hall and had double-doors. Mirrors had been attached to the large room’s left-hand wall, and various weapons hung on the right-hand wall. Circles had been painted on the floor; the wall opposite the entrance bore more weapons and had a door slightly off-center.

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 2

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

The final portion of his journey involved crossing Capitol Lake to the largest island. Actually, the largest island was cut by canals, and Géta got a nice view of the Empire’s Capitol City from the steamboat’s deck. He was too worn by the journey to feel much awe and his eyes blurred more than a little a few times, so his memory of the trip through the canals to the center of the island was a little hazy. When the ferry docked, his Priest escort came to fetch him, and he wandered down the plank to the dock with a feeling of smallness.

Here, the roads were much better than those in his home city had been, so there were no jarring dips into potholes. The carriage rode smoothly, an issue with the Temple’s insignia of a trio of three-armed spirals, in an inverted-triangle pattern, on its doors. It wasn’t very fine, but it was more comfortable than the taxi carriage he’d ridden to the train in back in his home city.

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A Pitch of the Scale, Chapter 1

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series Discordant Harmonies 1: A Pitch of the Scale

“We don’t know what to do with you. We’ve done everything we can.”

Géta bowed his head, hands loosely clasped behind his back. His father pushed up a little on the bed, trying to prop himself against the pillows supporting him better, and collected the blankets closer to his chin. The room was unbearably hot—the stuffiest in the house, and a fire roared in the fireplace. If it hadn’t been the hottest weeks of summer, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but this heat was almost enough to suck the breath from Géta’s lungs and he panted a little.

“Well.” His father coughed a few times, a dry hack which made Géta wince a bit in reaction. It had come with the rest of his father’s illness: A weakening of the muscles, a lack of appetite with stomachache, and a general fading into sleep, accompanied by headache and an intermittent fever. It wasn’t far progressed yet, but death was guaranteed within the next two months. No one who got Wasting ever lasted a year once it struck, and his father had been fighting the illness for weeks already. “We’ve decided to send you on.”

“On?” It was almost a breathless word, a whisper, and Géta cleared his throat. “On to where, Father?”

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