Coulda Been a TPK

First, I would be remiss if I did not start this post by saying, “The Seattle Sounders are CONCACAF Champions League Champions.” Wednesday night, I joined nearly 70k others at Lumen Field for the game.

It was amazing! Suspenseful until the very end. Full of heartache and drama. Filled with career performances. The opposing fans were energetic and awesome as well. Great food, great friends, and a great game!

Go Sounders!

Back to Undermountain

The day after the Sounders game was my monthly D&D session. We busted out the tacos, margaritas, and dice bags for a rousing game of role-playing!

Not Everyone Makes It

In a prior session, the group snuck past a Xanathar’s Guild (XG) outpost to do more exploring of level 2. They ended up finding barrels of dwarven ale and rescuing a young man. Those two events kicked off another round of creative strategizing.

XG knows the groups’ faces and will attack them on sight, but they—hopefully—did not also have a kill-order out on the stranger the party saved. If they dressed him like an XG member, he might be able to, safely, get in for a delivery and get out again.

While some of the party patched up a few cuts and bruises, Ashe snuck back to a potential ally they affectionately gave the code name “Invisidrow.” At the same time, Hudson went to retrieve the keg of beer they opened earlier in the day and doctored it with some poison they had on hand.

The plan was to deliver the ale, referencing the other XG captain on the level, whose name Invisidrow previously gave them. This time, he also agreed to lend them five of his wererat minions for the fight. After enough time passed for those in the XG camp to drink the ale, they would bypass the two beholder zombie watchdogs, charge forward, and open up on them.

It worked brilliantly!

A few of the humans stumbled around, a little drunk, and the wererats kept the bugbears occupied. Urg ran to the middle of the room and cast an area of effect, war cleric, damage spell. Rose and Valorik fought to keep everyone off Urg so his spell would remain up as long as possible.

Something alerted the zombies, and they started floating down to join the fight. Hudson called out a warning, and they doubled their efforts to eliminate the humanoid opponents.

Turn Undead sent one of the zombies fleeing, but the second shot a discintigration ray right at Valorik. He staggered against the blow but remained on his feet to keep fighting. Soon enough, only the zombies remained. They took them out, one at a time, dodging multiple rays.

As another blast came his way, Valorik said, “I am at peace with this.”

The ray hit, but instead of turning to dust, he ran in fear.

Finally, it was over.

They searched the room before continuing to explore to the south.

A little later, Ashe listened for movement beyond a closed door.

“Sounds like animals,” he said.

“Let’s find out what kind,” Urg said as he opened the door wide.

Three ravenous owlbears picked up their heads and charged.

The sight freezes the group in place, and Ashe barely got off a couple of arrows before the beasts barged through the doorway, biting and clawing.

Valork went down.

Ung went down.

Rose took another round before she, too, fell.

As they lay bleeding on the floor, Ashe and Anakis tried desperately to kill the creatures and keep their friends alive. Hudson flashed forward with a sword of shadow and flame even as one of the owlbears started to drag Urg off into the other room.

One down.

Another.

As the fallen gasped for breath upon the ground, the three combatants charged forward and eliminated the threat. They scattered, rushing to stabilize their comrades, only to find Urg had already breathed his last.

With tears in their eyes, they carried their fallen, dead and unconscious, to a secure location. All thoughts of exploring further faded; they are headed back to Waterdeep.

What a Week

Last weekend, I polished three more chapters of book three to send to my alpha readers. It kicked off a busy bunch of days for me, most of which subsequently had little to do with my writing. Work has been long hours packed with deliverables and meetings. 

If you don’t know much about working in finance, the first two weeks of the month are usually busy. In the first week, accounting is closing out the books with all the final transactions coming in. This week, week two, is when the data makes its way to us finance analysts for performance analysis.

I spent much of the week working through variances and presenting performance to various people in the organization. The rest of the week, and my long workdays, were driven by some capstone project presentations. These are fun because I get a chance to work with new company leaders kicking off a new role, but they are also draining.

Each one lasts one and a half to two hours, and I attended four this week. 

That all adds up to a lot of people. I am exhausted, and it is shaping up to be another busy weekend. Tonight is a Sounders game, and tomorrow a Reign game. I will be having fun watching soccer this Easter, and I will have to take my mom out later for missing lunch. 

The Sounders won their game on Wednesday evening, which means they are heading to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. The second of the two-game series will be played in Seattle, and I’m excited to attend with some friends in early May. It should be a great game. 

With all of this going on, I have two updates for you before I sign off for the weekend:  

  1. The book cover for Hidden Sanctuary is done! I will be sharing it with my newsletter first (probably tomorrow or Monday), so sign up on my homepage today if you don’t want to wait a month to see it on the rest of my accounts!
  2. The Hidden Sanctuary manuscript is with my beta readers, and my editor is lined up. If my current progress holds, I will release the paperback around the same time as the ebook. Fingers crossed!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Busy Week

I started the new job this last week. With all of the training, access requests, and new names and acronyms, it kept my brain busy enough that I stayed off of the computer most evenings rather than working on the book edits. Trying to push past a certain threshold for computer usage means sloppy or slow work for me, so I listen to my brain fatigue. 

I did complete one more chapter on Friday, and that only leaves two or three more before the book goes off to beta readers again. I plan on reaching out to copy editors at that same time to coordinate the schedule on that. I think I have a fair idea of how long the final revisions would take me. 

Saturday was a fun day with my D&D group playing Mad Mage. I was not pulling my punches, someone even took the bane of an elder rune – that is 20 six-sided dice worth of damage – to the face, and no one even dropped unconscious. This obviously means I need to up my game or they will start to think the dungeon is no challenge at all! 

With the one cursed sword picked up in the last game, they were a little more careful of additional magic item finds this time…well, some of them were more cautious. I’m pretty sure the rogue swore off caution for the day. He now has a ticking clock in his chest due to a beating heart in a box that is bound to something still in the dungeon. I hope they discover what that something is in time. Mwahaha!

That is for another week. Right now I’m getting ready to watch the Sounders play this evening. I hope they can have another amazing showing as they did on Thursday when half the starting lineup was about half my age. Kids these days are so impressive!

Go Sounders!

Soccer, Heatwaves, and Editor’s Block

I will keep this week’s post short as we are going through a heatwave in the Puget Sound area right now. To help our AC out a bit, I am trying to keep as many electronics turned off as possible. We are supposed to hit record temps today and tomorrow. This will likely be the hottest we have ever reached here on record.

Even with the heat, I managed to go to two soccer games in Seattle this week with the Sounders back in action after the international break. We stayed hydrated and braved the heat to watch the Sounders win four of six points between the two games. It is exciting to spend time in Seattle again and support local businesses before spending the time in the stands with our fellow supporters.

My niece toughed out a COVID test to make sure she was eligible to join Grandpa and me for the game!

These things are not helping my editor’s block. As far as my book goes, I’m working through the final major edit before it will go to a copy editor and back out to betas. Even before these convenient – but probably not helpful – distractions, I was slogging through it rather ponderously. I have more distractions in store for this week, but I should make some progress in between. If I don’t make progress in that time, I’m promising myself I will dedicate time on the fifth of July to knock out a couple of chapters at least. Maybe that will shake off the dust and regain momentum.

Stay cool out there!