Boy, April ended faster than I thought.
Instead of sending a story out through the mailing list, I'll be copying-and-pasting a scene from Ghostwater here on the blog! Both so that people who haven't signed up for the mailing list can enjoy it and so that I don't have to think of something else to blog today.
It's a win-win.
Next, I'd like to write a slice-of-life story with Lindon and Yerin dealing with some everyday chore that's not at all life-threatening. Like groceries or laundry.
But that depends on me not getting devoured by a sea of unwritten words.
(Scene after the jump.)
P.S. Disclaimer: this excerpt is unedited, and no scenes are final until they are published. I reserve the right to change any or all of this content during the editing process. Or if I just want to mess with you.
Ekerinatoth snapped another whip at the retreating dragon-turtle. It cut a satisfying chunk out of his shell, but her opponent didn't turn. Instead, he used that Enforcer technique of his to dash away and follow his human through the bubble of water aura containing the vast ocean of Ghostwater.
She lashed her golden tail in irritation. A black dragon's Remnant could fetch a pile of high-quality scales if you knew the right buyer, and she did. Its shell would have made a decent decoration, or the foundation for a seventh-grade refinery. That was at least a hundred medium-grade scales. And who knew what was left in that box the human was carrying?
He at least had that sapphire construct, which she suspected was connected to Ghostwater. If that were true, the Heralds would pay her in top-quality scales. Her tongue flickered out involuntarily.
She would have had them already, if not for Harmony.
Ekeri glanced back at the young Akura on the boulder. It singed her pride that she had to restrict her techniques to avoid disturbing a human, but pride was nothing before the reality of strength. She had to admit, she'd never personally seen a Truegold sacred artist with as much skill as this Akura elite. She'd known Underlord-level dragons who didn't put as much pressure on her spirit.
She almost drooled at the thought of what treasures he must be carrying on him. He'd have a void key on him somewhere, which might even contain treasures from Akura Malice herself. Her master would be pleased with her if she could turn over something that embarrassed the Akura clan. He may even bestow his smile upon her in person.
Ekeri brought herself back to reality. She'd gotten lost in daydreams again, which was a long habit of hers.
Drawing one claw down the wall of dark water, she snapped her tail. Immediately, her two attendants--in their plain white robes--appeared behind her. They were only Lowgold, but their Path was designed specifically to serve leaders like her.
"Contact the Herald," she ordered. "Describe to her the situation, and tell her that the others won't be arriving. The portal has been destroyed. I request permission to begin immediately."
The two attendants bowed, but before they could do anything, Ekeri's world softened to white.
"Ekerinatoth of the golds," a smooth, overwhelming voice echoed in her very soul.
This was not the voice of a Herald.
She fell to her knees in awe, tears hot on her face to hear her name spoken in this voice. "I see you,” he said. “I am with you. You may begin."
Ekeri took the time for one last bow, wriggling in the sand to show her obeisance, and then shot off into the water.
She did not dare to delay the orders of the Monarch of Dragons even a second longer.
The instant the portal was destroyed, Yan Shoumei was overcome with anger. Her Blood Shadow picked up on her agitation and started to flow toward the Lowgold.
She remembered herself just in time and pulled it back. Ziel, the horned boy from the Wasteland, was nearby, and she knew him by reputation. He was known to wait on the sidelines for an advantage. The second she struck at the Lowgold, he would take advantage of her distraction and hit her while she was distracted.
There was no love lost between Redmoon Hall and the sacred artists of the Wasteland. Especially not now, after the Mother's rampage.
Instead, keeping an eye on Ziel, she drew her Shadow back into a cloak around herself and began backing away. Contrary to her expectations, he wasn't looking at her at all. He was staring at the broken portal frame with a dead look on his face.
Maybe he didn't have a gatestone. Shoumei had no doubt that the gold dragon and the Akura did, so if Ziel did not, he might end up as the only one trapped here in this pocket world. If so, she might owe that Lowgold thanks.
...though her anger returned when she thought of having to crack her gatestone. Each of those represented days of work from a Sage or better; they were not handed out frivolously.
It was meant to save her life from a situation of certain death. Breaking it to replace what should have been a free trip home was frustrating at best.
She backed up until she felt the cool air coming off the wall of water behind her. Ziel was staring at the portal, either lost in despair or in contact with his master. Harmony was cycling still, and thank the Mother for that. He even made her Blood Shadow shiver. Ekerinatoth and the turtle were engaged in battle, while the Lowgold scrambled around to recover something in the sand.
According to the truce, none of them were allowed to leave this habitat until all six faction representatives arrived. They were still waiting on the young prince of the Trackless Sea and the delegate from the Ninecloud Court.
However, without the portal, there was no point in waiting. The truce had been decided by the higher-ups in each faction, so Shoumei should never violate it on purely her own judgment, but...
She slipped into the dark water.
The Sage of Red Faith would applaud her decision. Even if some supervising Heralds could sense what was happening here, they wouldn't blame her when she wasn't the one to violate the truce.
No one followed her, or even noticed her leave. She was free to hunt.
Akura Harmony breathed darkness.
This habitat was bright, but endless night pressed in from all directions outside. With concentration, he could filter shadow aura from the water outside and draw it into himself, purifying and refining the shadow in his core.
He was at the peak of Truegold, only a small step from Underlord. His soulspace was filled, and a spark of soulfire waited at the heart of his soul. This sort of ordinary cycling would do very little for him until he broke through to the Lord realm.
But Harmony was not a man who skipped steps. If he had to wait, he would cycle. When he had a moment free, he would train. When he finished training, he would train some more.
There were others of his relatives that were closer to becoming Akura Malice's heir than he was, but they were generations older than Harmony. And they might decide to ascend, to wherever it was that Sages and Heralds went instead of staying and becoming Monarchs.
Harmony intended to face that choice himself one day. And to get there, he couldn't waste a single breath.
His grand-aunt's voice echoed inside him, though it sounded younger than his own.
"Begin," the Sage of the Silver Heart ordered him.
Without a second's hesitation, Harmony opened his eyes and stood, marching into the darkness. Even Ziel of the Wasteland had departed already, so he was the last to leave. That did not bother him.
He had no rivals here.
5/2/2018 04:00:51 pm
Gaaaah Will, sooo much packed into this and I want to see more!!! But also Elder Empire! And so many lore bits dropped into this!!!
5/2/2018 04:01:44 pm
So are these the main characters after Lindon dies?
5/3/2018 06:46:18 am
5/9/2018 04:31:58 pm
Power? I thought he hadn’t reach appetizer level yet.
5/2/2018 05:31:25 pm
Okay that answers a question. So that was what u meant when saying the sage of the endless sword could have left cradle if he had wanted. Also I'm pretty sure that means that to Ascend you have to tap into the way.
5/2/2018 05:58:41 pm
> Next, I'd like to write a slice-of-life story with Lindon and Yerin dealing with some everyday chore that's not at all life-threatening. Like groceries or laundry.
5/4/2018 10:11:42 am
You are so lucky because you already got the chance to watch Ghostwater. There are fans who are still craving to have a glance of it since the reviews posted online kept on saying that it's a must watch. Though I am not really a fan of fictional stories, my curiosity tickles me to the highest level. It pushes me to watch the film version. If I will be having a free time, there's a huge chance that I might watch it, of course I will invite my friends to join me!
5/4/2018 12:08:02 pm
Huh. Not a bad blog-spamming-bot. Still needs some work though. It thinks Ghostwater is a movie.
5/20/2018 07:35:06 pm
But why is it here? What's it's purpose?
5/2/2018 06:07:20 pm
I like it! Thanks!
5/4/2018 12:09:46 pm
Will should just steal some more ideas that are popular as web-novels or light-novels. AKA, dungeon stories, reincarnated as some sort of creature stories, ect. Turn badly written free internet stories into well-written novels!
5/7/2018 06:51:47 pm
5/20/2018 04:20:01 am
I have to agree with Nate. Your writing style is excellent and I think if you tried your hand at one of those genres you would be very successful. There are very few well written stories out in English, I that is because it’s just started to become really popular for western audiences in the last year or two. Your take on wuxia/ cultivation is already my favorite cultivation story and i think we can all agree that you must have made some sort of deal with the devil to be so good. Just hoping you keep up your insane realease rate! Oh, and thanks for all of your kick ass books.
5/2/2018 06:23:52 pm
I thought that a Ghostwater excerpt would help, sort of tide over the cravings until the release.
5/2/2018 08:58:03 pm
Oh man, a short where Lindon and Yerin kill some time exploring a city and competing on a recipe for sone sort of foodstuff would be great. A my family makes the best [foodstuff] sort of episode. Or they could work together getting items unknowing that its ingredients for a simple stew or something.
Sage of The Endless Tower
5/2/2018 09:19:48 pm
Whaaaattttttttttt a pocket realm arc ?!!!! SO wuxia!
5/3/2018 05:54:17 am
So it sounds like a competition had been set up between six factions:
5/3/2018 08:40:58 am
Does GhostWater burn? because I burn! I love this and I want to read more! MORE!
5/3/2018 09:04:40 am
Zomg that is awesome!! Truley cant wait to hear more!!!
5/3/2018 10:03:02 am
Oh hey short story. I just visited your blog to complain that we hadn't gotten our Ghostwater excerpt too. Pleasant surprise.
5/3/2018 11:03:52 am
This was confusing, I was really hoping for a stand alone story but instead we got a excerpt from ghostwater with not a single character we previously knew. Sure it sounds like Lindon and Orthos were there but they weren't referenced by name. I would rather of had nothing because I got super excited about this short story and instead got mostly gibberish. All that I think we really got is it sounds like ghostwater is a ocean in some form of pocket dimension. Maybe we could get that story about laundry, I'd really enjoy that. I'd also as a suggestion enjoy if we got more of the sword sages memories that Yerin got from his remnant. This won't stop me from reading your stuff will but I had hoped for more.
5/3/2018 01:38:47 pm
Good Lord, that was an awemsome scene and I Can't wait for more of your work. I believe you mentionedthat you had worked on a timeline for your upcoming releases of 2018/2019. When will you be able to share that?
garbagiel the raccoon
5/3/2018 01:47:25 pm
And now we know the required rank to ascend.
Sage of Tequila
5/3/2018 03:26:28 pm
Awesome! Thanks Will! Super excited for the return to Cradle whenever that may be! Really hope this contest makes it into the final version. I hope Lindon cheats brilliantly.
5/3/2018 05:47:22 pm
Like Linden would do anything other than cheat his way out of any problem... your cute🙄
5/5/2018 03:37:49 am
From what I can tell it seems there is a massive competition that highly interests the Monarchs, and it seems Lindon and Orthos are right in the middle of it. What is this ghostwater? Why did they destroy the easiest way out of this pocket dimension? Do they have a plan to get out or was it a move of desperation to prevent further enemies from joining the fight?
5/5/2018 06:07:39 am
Man I can't wait for Elder Empire to tide me over until Ghostwater comes out.
5/5/2018 04:04:15 pm
I'm going to guess it's the silvan riverseed
I'm just curious. It seems like Lindon's goal is to get all the way to monarch in 3 years, tops. The only way I can realistically see that happening is if he gets a super mega power boost like Alin did for Simon, or if he combines his powers with yerin and eithn and maybe fisher Gesha or maybe makes a trade for his soul with Red moon hall to make a super mega alliance against the forces of evil. This is very sad, because the more Lindon cheats, the less books you have to write! How many books are you planning for this series?
5/5/2018 11:02:18 pm
Hi Will. Nice snippet. There is a new podcast called the Immortal Index all about translated Xanxia and Wuxia genre stories. You might want to advertise your cradle series on it.
5/7/2018 03:27:34 pm
Ummm, What just happened?
5/8/2018 08:21:55 pm
Like what does going i to the water represent?
Pretentious Literary Snob
5/8/2018 09:25:25 pm
Clearly this snippet is a metaphor for how we are shaped by daily experience, passing through the "Dream" that is symbolized by Ghostwater. This journey of Lindon's is a struggle that's actually about class strife. Will is creating a social commentary about society and what it is to be human, which is contrasted to various nonhuman entities with exaggerated characteristics that represent different life philosophies.
5/13/2018 08:55:16 pm
Thank you for enlightening me tp the inner secrets pf what truly happened
5/9/2018 01:07:02 pm
This excerpt is killing my hopes. Looks like a lot of POVs and a couple of them (I couldn't tell who's who) seem like they are there to explain how awesome Akura Harmony is. Hope that's not the case and that I'm blown away by how outstanding the book ends up being.
5/10/2018 06:02:12 pm
Will probably cherry-picked this excerpt specifically because it doesn't involve Lindon directly, so as to avoid spoilers. I am confident that Lindon will continue to be the focus of the books.
5/9/2018 01:57:35 pm
I think there must be an error on the site or something.
5/12/2018 12:03:13 pm
When is the planned publish date of Ghostwater? Just burned through the first 4 books in the last 2 days.
5/13/2018 03:29:31 pm
5/15/2018 07:18:31 am
This is truly awesome, I seriously cannot get enough of the Cradle series, and buy everything you write because of it. Thank you for the rapid progression, funny interludes, and including enough mystery to make me reread the previous stories.
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Hey, what about those short stories you claim to have already written?
Apparently they're kept here!