I'm trying another new thing!
In the spirit of relentless and bold experimentation, I've started up a Patreon. "Wait, what?" you ask. "What's that? And why do I care?" I will tell you!
I'm posting my very first story to Patreon late this evening on April 1; likely around 8pm Eastern time, child obligations permitting. (I know, I know, but no foolin'). If you'd like to read that first story, chip in your dollar while the gettin' is good. Not so sure? Let me give you a piece of the first story. A taste test, if you will, so you know if you're getting broccoli or pie.
For one shining moment on her two hundred seventy eighth birthday, Neria Ciao was the most important person in the world. That was the day her level-500 Seelie Huntress ascended into the Keep of Eternal Silence to do battle with Zirnitra, the Black Dragon of Sorcery.
It was a difficult fight; she used every hard-won trick and trophy she'd ever earned, spent all her potions and salves, used up her last precious Wish and cracked her lone Egg of Eritanus. Her heart beat faster; her muscles burned; sweat trickled down her ribs from beneath her breasts. She nearly died four times, saved only by luck, timing, and an incredibly rich supply of Sacred Essence of Golden Lotus.
In the end, it was all worth it. Zirnitra went down thrashing and wailing. It fluttered its wings once, twice, struggled back onto its hind legs. It collapsed again. Spears of light pierced through the spaces between its scales and then consumed its husk from the inside out.
Neria Ciao was the first to ever defeat it.
She posted the video of the fight before the dragon could even respawn. Predictably, her views and comments went wild. "Incredible!" "Great work!" "Never thought I'd see someone take down old Zirny!"
She even got a personal congratulations from The Vanished Lands dev team in Finland, who, it turned out, had checked in to watch her battle as soon as Zirnitra's health dropped below thirty percent. That had only happened twice before.
By the time she went out to treat herself to birthday cake, she'd received three hundred million views, forty thousand messages and comments, nine hundred interview requests, and alerts that her name had appeared in four hundred news articles.
Not all of this feedback was positive, of course. Usually her systems would filter out the worst of it — the vitriol for its own sake, the jealous rage, the troublemakers looking for any soft target.
One, from a stranger, slipped through her filters because it wasn't offensive. Not… exactly. It troubled her all the same. "You have all eternity before you," it said, "and this is how you choose to spend it?"
I'd be super thrilled if you decided to support my Patreon. Thanks so much for your time!