Friday content update

I have another defense-affairs-oriented blog post up at the Fish Bowl.

I’m thirteen notebook pages into the next story, and so far, so good. It’s flowing nicely. I have a feel for the characters, and the nature of the action lends itself to your getting to know them. I’m excited to start posting for, uh, next Tuesday? Man. That break really flew by.

Posted in Blather | Leave a comment

Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 87

“That just about wraps up our business, doesn’t it?” said Cannon. “Except for one thing. What are you, really? I’ve had about enough of the monk act.”

The abbot glanced sharply at Masaracchia, who shook his head. “It was not my secret to tell.”

Lasalvatore mulled that over before he made his answer. “We are humble men of God, ministering here to the poor and the lost. We are also more. There are those who would see us destroyed—not persecuted or driven away, but stamped out forever. We, among others, are Rome’s answer.”

“Warrior monks?” Cannon said, eyebrows raised. “Never thought I’d see the day.” The abbot smiled tightly, saying no more, and Cannon shrugged. “No further questions.”

The abbot nodded, and seemed about to speak, but Masaracchia interrupted. “There is one more thing.” He took a small, paper-stuffed, leather-bound notebook, yellowed with age, from his pocket, then passed it to Cannon. “I found it in the tomb, after the lights went out. Only after I read through some of it did I realize its significance.”

“Van der Hoek’s journal,” Cannon breathed, turning the first few pages. Reverently, he folded the notebook closed and tucked it carefully into a pocket, hand hovering nearby as though to reassure himself it was still there.

“That does conclude our business,” said Lasalvatore. “It is possible, at some later time, that we may have need of a man of your resources again. May we contact you by the same means if we do?”

“You pay what you promise,” said the captain. “Make me an offer, I’ll listen. It’s been a pleasure dealing with you.”

di Giacomo and Lecocq lifted the last chest into the Albatross and climbed the ladder. Cannon followed them a moment later, and all three of them hauled the ladder inside and slammed the loading door closed.

 

Masaracchia joined the abbot, watching the Albatross claw into the sky from the ramparts. As the buzz of its engines faded, Lasalvatore spoke in Latin. “We would have preferred you kept the journal.”

The set of Masaracchia’s shoulders changed, and he drew his feet together. “I took notes, sir. The captain is a formidable personality, and I judged the goodwill worth the price.”

“A formidable personality indeed.” The abbot watched the Albatross for a moment more, as it faded to a speck nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding sky, then turned to face Masaracchia. “As you have shown yourself to be. For that reason—the ceremony will come later, of course—it is my honor to be the first to call you Brother-Knight.”

Posted in Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross, Writing | Leave a comment

Commentary, Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 87

The end!

Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross began posting on May 7th, 2013, and ended a full seventeen months later. It totals 28,300 words, just about.

I’m glad to finally see it finished, and I hope you enjoyed the ride. As I mentioned in another post, I’ll be taking a two-week break to get further ahead on my next story. Hopefully I can maintain a better pace into that one.

I’ll be around between now and then with updates on the writing process, and possibly some further gaming and livestreaming content. (Follow me at hitbox.tv/fishbreath.)

Posted in Commentary, Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross Commentary | Leave a comment

Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 86

A minute passed, and a small procession of monks shuffled out of the gate, which closed behind them. More appeared on the ruined ramparts, watching the surrounding hills and the town below.

The Albatross’ cargo door opened, and a ladder appeared from within. Cannon, Lecocq, Masaracchia, and di Giacomo clambered down.

“Brother Masaracchia, Captain Cannon,” said the first monk in line—Lasalvatore, the abbot, Cannon recognized. “I am glad to see your safe return.”

“More or less safe.” Cannon limped up beside Masaracchia. “Why the welcome party?”

“So that we may finish our exchange in safety.”

Cannon looked between di Giacomo and Lecocq, and the dozen monks he could see. Wryly, he said, “I thought we were better friends than that.”

One of the monks chuckled, and the abbot smiled. “You are not my only iron in the fire. Do you have the cross?” Masaracchia nodded. “What did you find?”

“Cultists,” Cannon said. “They attacked us in the tomb.” A look passed between Lasalvatore and Masaracchia, which Cannon chose to ignore. “Do you have our payment?”

The abbot spoke in Latin, and the castle gates creaked open again. Four monks pushed out two carts between them, each cart carrying four small chests. Cannon nodded, and di Giacomo and Lecocq began to heave the chests up into the Albatross.

Posted in Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross, Writing | Leave a comment

Commentary, Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 86

I’m delighted to announce that the final entry in Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross will be No. 87. Following that, I’ll be taking a break of a week or two, in part to get further ahead on the first of what will likely be several tales comprising The Long Retreat, and in part to produce some content of other flavors. (Expect some more blog posts at the Fish Bowl, is what I’m saying.) I’ll probably return to story content on the 21st.

Posted in Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross Commentary, Writing | Leave a comment

Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 85

Fifty-seven minutes later, Inconstant bore away northwest, leaving her crippled adversary far behind.

 

The next sunrise saw the pirate zep just crossing over the Mediterranean shoreline, a hundred miles east of Tobruk. She flew low, a few hundred feet above the dazzling azure sea, taking the horizon away from any would-be pursuers. Midday brought them to the Anatolian coast, and late in the afternoon, she climbed two thousand feet and launched her undamaged Albatross.

It passed west of the city of Izmit, circled once over the rundown remains of a Crusader citadel, then set down on the road the south and taxiied up to the gate.

Posted in Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross, Writing | Leave a comment

Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman’s Cross No. 84

“X-Ray Three is first on the hook, then Ace flight’s damaged planes.” Joe searched the sky for the British fighters which had survived the aerial minefield, and caught the sun glinting off of them as they winged their way back toward the ailing British airship. “Yankee flight will fly rear guard. Everyone else lands in takeoff order. Yankee One, out.”

Joe led Emma mile behind Inconstant, then banked into a lazy turn. After a few minutes, Emma’s voice came over the radio. “I’m gonna be right miffed if I have to land in the dark again.”

As much as his harness would let him, Joe shrugged. “Don’t want to write off another Kestrel. Can’t always get what you want, though.”

 

Emma did, at least—the rest of the air wing got aboard in good order, and Emma and Joe hit the skyhooks just as the sun dipped below the horizon. Sparrow fell further back with each passing minute. Already, between the dark and the haze, she was hard to spot. As the winches pulled Joe’s Falcon into the hangar, he felt the zep turn. If he knew Cannon, they’d be turning again after an hour or so, once full dark settled in, to put the last touches on their escape.

The deck crew moved Joe’s fighter toward its parking spot, and Joe felt the tension going out of his shoulders. Even in this line of work, wilder weeks were few and far between. The Long Nines hadn’t lost a single one of their number, and the payday would do to replace the planes too far gone to save.

Joe cranked his canopy open and waited for the deck crew to put his ladder up. Unstrapping and climbing down, he headed forward amid the lively bustle of the hangar. First, he had a report to deliver to the boss. After that, he had an appointment with some down time.

Posted in Nathaniel Cannon and the Secret of the Dutchman's Cross, Writing | Leave a comment