A Reluctant ReturnIan McTaggart was a magician by trade. Quite a good one too, though not very well known. He knew all the standards; pulling a rabbit from a hat, guessing which card an audience member had pulled from a full deck or how to make a coin vanish and reappear across the room, but his favorite was the cups and balls. It was such a simple trick, even with all its variations; you pick up a cup, show that there’s nothing underneath it, then put it back down. When you pick it up again, a ball has miraculously appeared. More than any other effect Ian performed, the cups and balls wasn’t about the trick, it was about how you manipulated the audience’s expectations and drew their attention away from events that were happening right in front of them, artificially creating what amounted to a miracle so minor it hardly deserved the name, yet still leaving the shocked onlookers with an incredulous sense of awe and wonder.A Reluctant Return by b4k4-san
In recent years he’d performed his own version of the worl
First EncounterYou've certainly made a name for yourself, this past year. Most of the heavy hitters have left town, they're calling this city a "Dead Zone" for organized crime. For the past month the worst you've had to deal with is the occasional stick-up artist or purse snatcher...At least until a few days ago, then it seemed like everything was worse than ever. Where before you had bank robberies, now you had bomb threats. Muggers prowling the streets at night were replaced by murderers acting in broad day light. And there were just so many! You couldn't save everyone. This had to be the work of one of the families come back with a vengeance. The Russians? The Irish? Both, working together? I can only imagine the look on your face when you found out it was just little old me.First Encounter by b4k4-san
You weren't bad, as far as would-be heroes go, but despite your success, you were still untested. Yes you could frighten the petty thugs enough to keep them hiding in their holes, and irritate the various crime lords enough t
Autobiography of an AssassinProbably the most commonly asked question when people find out what I do for a living is, "Is it hard to take someone's life?" The simple answer is no. Human beings are so fragile, there are a million ways to end them, some methods may be more difficult than others, but once you've learned as much about killing as I have you'd be shocked not to see someone die at the hands of a stiff breeze. No, killing someone is just about the easiest possible thing to do. I could give you a gun right now, point you to an alley where a group of thugs like to lurk on dark nights, and tell you to pull the trigger, and you'd do it. I could even pay you for it and you'd be an assassin like me, in a manner of speaking. The difference between you and I, dear reader, is what happens after the smoke clears, when you go home to your family and your warm bed. You would almost certainly feel remorse for your actions. Oh you'd hide it quite well, in this situation, telling yourself they were criminals, that by dAutobiography of an Assassin by b4k4-san
Intelligence Theft ch. 1Johnny blinked as his blindfold was removed. He caught only a brief glance of an empty hallway before he was shoved through a door that clicked shut behind him. The room was small, with a wide mirror recessed into one of the walls and a lone chair pulled up to the table facing it. Opting to take a seat, Johnny noticed a speaker hanging above the mirror, and leaned onto the table, cradling his throbbing head in one hand. “I don’t suppose you considered simply requesting the pleasure of my company?” He asked the observers he assumed were on the other side of the mirror.Intelligence Theft ch. 1 by b4k4-san
When the statement was met with silence Johnny began to wonder whether the mirror was just a mirror after all, and whoever wanted to talk to him would do so in person, but then the speaker crackled to life. “You are John Walsh.” Surprisingly, given the other measures these people seemed to have gone through to maintain secrecy, the voice lacked any sort of masking filter instead relying on th
In 2013 I set out with the goal to post at least one story every month, and I almost hit that mark. That may not sound like any great aspiration, but before that I was posting once every four to six months, so my near-success was definitely a step forward. While I’m glad I met my goal, I’m a pretty firm believer in Quality over Quantity, so I thought I’d look back over the past year and examine what I think about the 11 stories I managed to post.
January: The Decision (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th…) This was a pretty obvious take off from The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks, but I think I did the situation justice. If I have any regrets, though, it’s that last section after the break. I’m not at all happy with how it turned out and I think it would’ve been better to just cut it all, even if wouldn’t have made Gibbs look quite how I wanted him to.
February: The Hero (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th…) One of the coolest things that happened in early 2013 was the release of A Memory of Light, the conclusion to Robert Jordan’s amazing Wheel of Time series. There were a lot of traps the series could’ve fallen into with the ending, but every one of them was avoided pretty marvelously. I did my own spin on things, taking a brief look at the celebration after the final victory in the battle against evil, and I genuinely like how it turned out. The only thing missing is that I couldn’t work in the line for the hero “I just want everything to go back to normal, that’s what I was fighting for, after all.”
March: The Warmaster (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th…) Another Wheel of Time-inspired one, this one breaks even farther away from the concepts that inspired it. I actually don’t have anything negative to say about this one. The highest praise I feel I can get is when someone sees my work and is inspired by it to make something else, and a friend of mine who makes flashgames came up with an interesting set of game mechanics based on Aiden and his affinity for the chaos of battle. Even though he never used those ideas in one of his games, I still call that a win.
April: Retribution (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Re…) Things took a dark turn in April, didn’t they? This one was pure catharsis for me; I read a story about a girl who got raped then eventually recovered from the terrible ordeal and whose newfound friends tracked down and MURDERED the bastard who did it to her, and I thought “I’d like to have a go at that as well,” and so I did.
May, June, July: Thicker Than Water (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th… b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th… b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th…) This 3-parter was my chance to FINALLY use a couple ideas. I wanted to use cryptic, back-and-forth conversations as chapter openers like in Ender’s Game, and I wanted to have a magical mind link between people like in the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce. This accomplished both of them, and even if it didn’t go quite how I wanted, it did bring back the confidence I needed to do a multi-part serial again.
August: The Tutorial (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Th…) If you’ve been following b4k4lit since the start, you may know there have been 2 previous attempts to do a vampire story, and I abandoned each one. But I still had a lot of exposition regarding the rules of vampires that I wanted to get out of my head, so this is how I did it. FunFact: It’s Castle Sherwood because simultaneously I was toying with the idea of writing something that would serve as a spiritual successor to Robin Hood.
September: I missed this one, and didn’t realize it until about five minutes ago, because I posted The Tutorial on August 31st, apparently making it blend over in my mind between the two months, covering both of them.
October: Freewrite--Recording (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Fr…) Because there’s no way I could’ve done a year without something MegaTokyo-inspired, I wrote this based around the idea of the character Nanasawa Kimiko suddenly having it sprung on her that the producer for the game she was voice acting in wanted her to sing one of the the ending themes as well. I’m actually decently happy with how this turned out as well, mostly because it doesn’t hit you over the head with a hammer that says “MEGATOKYO IS AWESOME AND YOU SHOULD ALL GO READ IT,” (it is and you should) but the similarities are there for anyone who cares to look for it.
November: Intelligence Theft ch. 1 (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/In…) IT is my new baby right now. The first chapter didn’t really do much beyond establishing a framing device, which bears a passing similarity to the ones used in Dragon Age II and Splinter Cell: Conviction, but Chapter 2 will be out….when it’s done, and we’ll start getting to the real content, so look forward to it.
December: Autobiography of an Assassin (b4k4-san.deviantart.com/art/Au…) This was a super-quick freewrite I used to clear out the year because IT ch 2 was taking longer than anticipated. On the bright side, it was an idea I’ve had FOREVER, and I’m finally glad I got to share it in one form or another.
So that was 2013. A good year, all things considered, but I’m hoping 2014 will be even better. I’m doing more serials again, finally returning to the world of Family and Starblind, and another idea that I think is actually pretty interesting. I won’t be pushing myself to hit a monthly deadline, but do feel free to yell at me on whatever channel you use to reach me if you think I’m taking too long between posts.
Vivi La Tua Storia || Live Your Story
Current Residence: Michigan|
Favourite genre of music: Almost anything
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: Zune HD
Favourite cartoon character: Gambit from X-Men,or Matt or TK from Digimon
Personal Quote: Damn, I'm Good