White Destiny #2 (rev 4)


The wagon carrying Leo stopped at the marketplace. In front of him an obsidian pillar stood in the central square where the market streets converged. The polished jet-black beauty absorbed his conscious mind in manners no word could describe.

A horn flared from atop the south-facing stone wall of the Ruby Garden castle, bringing his attention to the sixth moon as its passage over the night sky began.

The guards ceased all patrols and returned to barracks until moonset. Shoppers flocked to the market streets. Eye-catching signs propped up along the gravel pavement, tiptoeing as close as to the busy market street as the law permitted. Bells rang atop the Church of the Spirit calling its most faithful followers for a routine prayer.

In a few more hours, the first Silverflow Council’s daily meeting would begin.

The city’s constitutional body, the Silverflow Council, held these daily meetings to deliberate contemporary issues. A councilor would raise two issues in front of the council. The council would then debate and vote to accept or reject proposed solutions.

Of the thirty-two votes in the council, they needed twenty-two abstains and approves to pass any motion.

There were sixteen masters holding one vote each. These masters were highly regarded scholars and artisans of sixteen professions in Ironheart. They were chosen in a weekly competition held at Silverflow Academy. While the masters were supposed to represent the common people, there was no restriction against nobles or clerics, nor was there any restriction on how many disciplines one could master.

The inventor who held four masters in Medicine, Linguistic, Architecture and Philosophy knew not all men were born equal. Among eighteen councilors of the current term, some held more powers than the others.

One such a person had just walked into the bar as he was deciding on his order. Entered, Lilia Silverflow, the monster who guarded eight votes in the Silverflow council and the throne of the Ruby Garden.

“Geez, I thought a slut wandered in. Such a turn off…”

“Said the loser who has no woman, pet, or even a horse,” she retorted.

“I’m sorry, but do you need money to buy proper clothes? That skimpy outfit of yours makes ragtag looks like a king’s robe.”

“Please ignore him, Yo—uh…Yer Highness. How may I be of assistance tonight?”

The bartender sighed and cut in. His thick West Rufus’s accent prevented him from pronouncing “Your” properly; it came out as something akin to “Yer” instead.

Princess Lilia, albeit visibly agitated, tightened her priestess cassock to hide the revealing white-and-orange court wizard robe underneath and sat down.

It must have been awkward to wear that robe in a room full of male priests. Whoever came up with the robe design for sorceresses in this city must have been a huge pervert.

“I need to see Count D’Amore, is he here?”

So she was looking for Alexander D’Amore, a notorious philander in this city.

The guy had a knack for scandals. His very birth was an unfathomable scandal; the union of Lady D’Amore, a noblewoman in the time the queens of Silverflow still ruled over Ironheart, and a centaur. Centaurs were not real but fact had never stopped D’Amore from bragging the size of his male junk in bars everywhere.

“I beg yer pardon. What make ye think I would know his whereabouts when twice a dozen men didn’t?” the bartender shrugged.

“That sounds like a terri-lot of enraged husbands. It must have been good for business.”

“Ye say, Leo. He had an orgy in my stable yesterday. Since then, my bar has turned into a second guild of a sort for people whose wives, sisters and…hell, mothers and grannies, he fornicated.”

A small bell chimed from a kitchen behind the counter. The bartender took a short pause to deliver Leo’s order and turned to the princess.

She only ordered a glass of water, citing the fact that she had had breakfast in the castle.

“So do you know who else I can talk to? I need…”she gestured Brown to the other end of the counter and whispered something into his ear.

Wide chin lifted up in a grin, the bartender walked to where Leo was.

“Hey, Leo, she wants yer help.”

“She wants what?—”

The inventor almost choked on white bread.

“—back channel sources, that means ye.”

The princess frowned. Leo could tell she too was not keen on the idea.

“You want me to go after the count on the back channels he runs? Sorry, can’t do. I have enough impossible on my list, I don’t need one more.”

“Father Felacia told me you’re missing an ingredient for the cure. I can help you with that.”

“I’m listening…”

She talked about transmutation, a branch of Wizardry and Alchemy. Her assistants at the Observatory discovered a memo on transmutation from the archbishop while they cleaned up the library for her arrival last week.

According to her statement, Dawurry’s adventitious root, one of the key items on the cure’s recipe, was the herb His Excellency studied in the memo.

“Wait, he did a study in Ironheart?”

“Yes, he did, twenty years ago. I thought it would make an interesting topic that combined two areas I’m a master of. Long story short, I managed to transmute common reagents into a powdered form of the root at Alchemist’s Quarter three or four days ago. Testing is underway to verify its medical properties and the results are encouraging so far.”

“Scholarly rant in my tavern, I thought I’ve seen everything,” the bartender muttered and recused from the conversation.

Leo had doubts on the validity of the tale. The archbishop and Dawurry’s root sounded too good to be a mere coincidence. But, he would take whatever chances he was given to end the plague and get the city back on secession from Azeth talk.

He gave her a vial of light purple oil.

“I don’t have enough for a cure sample at the moment. This is all I have with me: Midnight Virgin’s extract; the oil of a flower that lives in the Dark Forest.”

“I never said I could transmute the cure. It would take years and it would be prohibitively expensive. This will do just fine. So, how did you get this?”

“I have a supplier who lives there and she passes away tonight. You might have heard from the news. His “Excellency” had excellently sic a dragon on her.”

She raised a skeptical eyebrow. She brought the vial closer to her eyes, shaking the vial slightly as she inspected the liquid inside.

“Are you saying the witch is the supplier?”

“She was selling these through a black market vendor in West Rufus, along with other…disturbing artifacts.”

“She was doing what? What kind of—ah, never mind, I don’t want to know.”

She packed up the vial of Midnight Virgin’s extract in a piece of cloth and put it away under her robe. After that, she washed her hand with water from her glass and disposed of the handkerchief she wiped her hand and the glass with.

“Just so you know. The witch also did divination as a service. Had she been alive, she would have been able to find the count in half an hour for eighty pris with membership discount. That costs about the handkerchief you’ve just thrown away.”

“Membership discount…what in the name of the angels…”

“You think it’s shocking. Wait until you hear about thousands of pris bids on a handkerchief drenched in your bodily fluids. Wonder not, Your Highness, they have the means to tell if the fluid is yours truly or not.”

No matter whom he told this to, he would receive the same reaction: speechless and disgusted. For the princess, she was so disturbed that she drew a decorated rosary from under her white cassock and—in a motion as though kissing the metal object—set the trash bin on fire with magic:

Inflammable,” she whispered.

And then, a second spell “Cryophilic” to put out the fire.

“A little overreacting, don’t you think? Why does it matter to you if someone out there was jerking off with your handkerchief?”

“You have to ask? This is sexual harassment, plain and simple.”

“Feisty aren’t you now? That makes wonder, what exactly did the count do to you this time? Did he pop your cherry?”

“Vulgar lowlife! That’s none of your business.”

Books, more books!

I’m late to the party this time, but well; better be late than never. I admit, I’m a big spender on fiction books and once again, I’m buying another book bundle that I might never have time to read and then writing a blog post to advertise it. Heck $1 for four books, why not?

It’s science fiction and fantasy bundle written by female authors and female protagonists this time. Yes, female protagonists, strong and daring heroines; the kind I like in a story! This is going to be great. Get your book bundles here:


So, for the first four books in the bundle, only one of them is in third person narrative (Path of Fate).

It’s okay. Two-third of the Down and Out in Purgatory from the last bundle and I’m already bored out of my mind. I suppose it was the case of fictional world going too far, getting too bizarre and too out of touch with reality that I can hardly conceptualize the descriptions of Purgatory in my mind. I’m learning something for my writing so it’s all good.

Finally, I’m stuck on volume 6 of Bungaku Shoujo. Somebody help, it’s too damn boring!

DIY Memo: ESP8266 v7 hookup

Same story as the last time, but with ESP8266 v7 this time.

This is the hook-up instruction for ESP-07 and how to capitalize on its GPIO pins.


Things to know:

– 3.3V power source

– Default baud rate: 115200 (programmable at 9600)

– R1, R2, R3, R4 are all 10K

– C1 is 0.1 uF (ceramic capacitor 104)

– The solder pads are slightly smaller than the standard Arduino pin’s dimension. Use a small drill, purchase specialized pins or solder wires directly.

– GPIO2 -> HIGH during startup

– GPIO0 -> HIGH (standard) or GPIO0 -> LOW (flash) during startup

– GPIO15 -> LOW (standard) or GPIO15 -> HIGH (boot from SD card) during startup

– RXD is GPIO3 and can only be used as input. Similarly, TXD is GPIO1 and can only be used as output

– Deep sleep requires connecting GPIO16 -> RST to wake up.

– A diode from RST -> GPIO16 is necessary to use wake up and reset switch at the same time. The cause is GPIO16 producing HIGH current in deep sleep and it prevents reset switch from working. A diode blocking this current solves the issue.

– ADC is the only analog pin available. It is GPIO6 or A0 (alias) in Arduino language.

ESP8266 pin I/O support
GPIO0 INPUT with pull-up, jumper and delayed hook-up via a sacrificial GPIO pin which is only grounded after boot
OUTPUT with external device between VCC and GPIO0 (GPIO0 -> HIGH, device -> LOW)
GPIO2 INPUT with pull-up and delayed hook-up via the same sacrificial GPIO pin as GPIO0
OUTPUT with external device between VCC and GPIO2 (GPIO2 -> HIGH, device -> LOW)
GPIO15 OUTPUT with external device between GND and GPIO15 (GPIO0 -> HIGH, device -> HIGH)
RST or DTR to wake up from Deep Sleep mode. Include a diode from RST -> GPIO16 if reset switch is used
GPIO6 (ADC, A0) Analog INPUT

Read more:








News from Ashlora – Mar/2017 #2

The 4th revision is now underway and I’m now posting the story by scenes instead of chapters.

For example, the first chapter “She is a pet hydra” has three scenes in total and they make up around 3000 words; slightly greater than the usual 2500 words / chapter goal. I have only posted the first scene here, two more to go later.


Blogging the book in smaller chunks helps fight the urge to edit old parts. I’m, for the most part, hesitant when it comes to editing published chapters so I tend to hold on to them for as long as possible and editing the heck out of them. This sometimes leads me into an endless rewriting loop and prevents releases for extended period of time.

It is also easier to read and much less scrolling as well so why the heck not?

This time, I’ll try to post the scenes as frequent as possible and I’ll follow a one-week release schedule. Every Thursday starting this week (plus or minus one day), I’ll be releasing a scene from the book. A commentary post will be done after every chapter and/or every new month, whichever comes first.

At the average rate of 3-4 scenes a chapter this means I’ll be releasing a chapter a month. It is going to be a huge commitment but I have three months of free time so let’s see how long I can keep this going.


In the first scene, several familiar technologies were introduced to the world of Ashlora. We have the ice box aka refrigerator; widely adopted and publicly employed; and zeppelins equipped with cannons. The cannons are better known by the public, the zeppelins remain in the dark at this point. Other technologies such as machine press and chemical synthesis are also revealed in the first chapter. Everything is likely to be steampunk, magic-powered or hydraulic. The development rate might differ from our world due to cultural and planetary factors.

Considering the city is based on mining, smithing and crafting, it makes senses for explosive to be developed and adopted first, then machine manufacture and refining technologies.

Breakthroughs in medicine, chemistry and food preservation are likely stemmed from the fact that the city is under attack by a plague and famine modeled after the Black Death that brought Roman empire to its knees.

Weaponry begins to see development when Ironheart sees a philosophical awareness of its own standing in the world and grows resentful of its oppressive ruler in the city of Azeth. But that, is the story for another day.

The common currency of Ashlora is called “Pris”. There exist other currencies on the rim of the world, in civilizations outside Azeth’s sphere of influence. I might mention these civilizations in passing “coffee beans” references just to spice things up every now and then but they are beyond the scope of the current narrative.

White Destiny – #1 (rev 4)


Leo gave the witch a pat on the shoulder as they watched a dragon breathe fire upon the witch’s hut. Her lips trembled. Fear, sadness, or anger, he pondered, which of these emotions she held in the flicker of her eyelash.

The man behind the dragon’s fury was Sal Germini and he had an issue with temper.

Leo had only heard about the archbishop from the words of his enemies. The depiction of the most revered man in Ashlora as a greedy, psychopathological, war-mongrel was without a doubt biased. The only verifiable truth was the monstrous power Sal Germini wielded and that he had a bone to pick with the witch.

Her name was Eliot Gradren Alse Forse, or “the witch”. Formerly one of many witches of Ironheart, her profession became a unique title when she incurred a seven-hundred-thousand-pris bounty on her head for somehow offending the archbishop who lived half the world away—in the city of Azeth.

She did not remember what she had done to earn his wrath in the first place. But, given the temperance of the Archbishop, she claimed it must have been something incredibly trivial. Perhaps, even more trivial than the time someone stole his horse and the entire kingdom of Fa’el was razed to the ground.

Leo acknowledged half of the story. The destruction of Fa’el did happen overnight but no one survived the catastrophe to answer the question of how and why. And as a scholar himself, Leo wouldn’t put his finger on a cause as silly as a stolen horse.

“I want to cry…”

Eliot placed her deflated cheek on a pile of papers on a long table. Her arms limbed beneath the table. She groaned long and low pitches. And she stayed this way for a while before short hicks started coming out from under the white-ribbon witch’s hat.

“Don’t weep on my sketches. Get your face off my workbench!”

“Shut up, inventor! If you can’t say anything nice, shut up!”

Women, attention-hogging creatures that lived to drag other people into their own drama; to men who wanted to focus on the important things, women were worse than a pet hydra and Leo knew what became of the guy who had a pet hydra. He became its dessert.

“Your wailing is heard. I’ll lend you some pris for a room at Brown’s Boulder tavern tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? Can’t it be tonight? Where am I supposed to stay for fourteen moons? Also, “lend”? I think you mean “give”, right?”

“Stop it! When I came to you for answers, you charged me a pris for everything, including “how are you today?” Don’t just talk transactional fairness when it’s convenient!”

“What a gentleman you are then!”

“You may stay here until dawn break. I know this workshop is infinitesimally better than your old shack but please don’t make yourself home.”

“Delusional! This is a shack too. You even have weeds and…what’s with those lumber logs all over the lawn?”

“It’s called a “disguise”, mind you! Some of us don’t have the luxury of cloaking magic. Judging from the fact that your shack is on fire and mine isn’t, I dare say your case is weak.”

“Isn’t it because there’s nothing of value here to burn?”

The Witch picked up a sketch on the workbench and read:

“Gas fire flying machine?”

“Enough of those and our red-helm knights can fly to the moon and back.”

She let out a chuckle.

“So, what is this…torture device?”

“That so-called torture device is a cannon. It does worse things than a spiked steel cage. It is how we normal humans cast Crumble.”

“And what is this?”

“It’s an ice box. It makes ice. Stop rummaging through my stuffs! What are you trying to say?”

“I forgot. What were we talking about again?”

Leo cringed and pointed at the fireplace.

“Forget it! Go watch the pan and tell me when it smells.”

“What is this black thing you are roasting?”

“Coffee beans. Please don’t turn them into charcoal.”

The night went on and eventually the dragon’s rampage was over. But, the flame of destruction raged on and it painted the night sky orange. Even the great blue moon was shrouded in a tower of smoke stretching for miles.

None of this happening changed the schedule Leo had for that night.

His appointment was the bishop of Ironheart who had been backing the rebels behind prying eyes of the first church.

“Father Felacia? Aren’t you supposed to be here at four?”

“It is the fourth moon, Leo.”

“Is that so? Blasted! I missed a horn; should have kept a clock.”

“The dragon, wasn’t it?”

“Indeed it was. Damn thing was so loud, I couldn’t hear myself thinking!”

Leo returned to his workshop and boiled some coffee beans in a mug. The water turned muddy and a strong aroma emanated into the atmosphere.

“What’s with the giant pot?”

The bishop tapped on a large clay pot by the fireplace.

“Pot? Oh, that’s my crucible. Eliot is in there. Don’t wake her up.”

“Why is she in your crucible?”

“I don’t know. It’s a witch’s thing I guess?”

Leo removed the boiled coffee from the fireplace with a tongs and put the mug aside to let it cool. He then returned to the workbench and began flipping through a notebook.

“Oh that smells nice. Is it the cure?”

“No, this is coffee, a recreational drink I shipped from the rim of the world. I’ll send your monastery a box of these beans as sale promotion but on that later—”

He ripped a page from the notebook and gave it to the bishop.

“—this is the cure.”

“Dawurry’s adventitious root, Midnight Virgin’s stem. What is Midnight Virgin?”

“Midnight Virgin is grass-like plant that can be found in the Dark Forest. It is characterized by a white, glass-like stem and dark red flowers. Eliot has been cultivating them in her garden, which is most unfortunate, because the said garden is on fire.”

Father Felacia turned his downcast eyes towards the fireplace.

“Does the Lord have any mercy on our city?”

“No comment on what God has in mind but I do have spare Midnight Virgin seeds in the ice box at Brown’s.”

“This is great news, Leo. So there is hope after all.”

Leo pinched his forehead and sighed.

“In all seriousness though, I have little success planting Midnight Virgin anywhere outside the Dark Forest. There is something in the Dark Forest that is absolutely necessary for these seeds to sprout and I don’t mean the soils.”

“No problem. We’ll just drive away the dragon, put out the fire, and cultivate Midnight Virgin in the Dark Forest. It’s that simple.”

“Oh, it is that simple huh?”

“Yes, it is. This city is dying. What are there to lose?”

Leo applauded, cheering to the bitter sarcasm on the bishop’s face. Well said, Father Felacia! There was no hope after all.

“Damn son! I’m out of ideas, even the crazy ones!”

“I still have one: revealing Eliot’s involvement and praying nobody in Ironheart would sell her out for seven hundred thousand pris.”

The bishop began to contemplate.

“I don’t have that kind of faith in man, Leo.”

“Me neither.”

News from Ashlora – Mar/2017 #1

It’s great to be back.

It’s been four months since the last News from Ashlora issue. Progress has been glacial as usual, I’m starting to think this project might not work out after all. But, I’m not giving up just yet. There’s still one more central character plot I can explore: the Inventor.


There’s a whole different cast of characters surrounding the Inventor and his story focused on very mundane problems different from the Witch and the Priestess’s plot driver. The main driver of the previous two narrators is external and these characters are set up by circumstances for internal changes.

Unlike the other two narrators who derived their internal goal from the circumstances, the Inventor starts off with an agenda and he’ll use the circumstances to drive his own goal. In fact, almost everything that happened in the Witch and the Priestess’s narrative was a part of his grand scheme to alter the political landscape of Ashlora.

The list of characters who will be deeply involved in his plotline are:

– Sir Richard, the Baron

– Steve, the Ironsmith

– Felacia, the Bishop

– Alex, the Informat

– Katherine, the Knight

Turn out, Princess Lilia and Eliot the Witch won’t be key actors in this narrative. They are, instead, the goals, the antagonistic forces to overcome. I’m omitting Morgan the Scholar character for now as his story started after the Inventor’s great scheme had ended.

One more new development in this iteration, four characters are now revealed to have fancy full names to reflect their culture: Eliot Gradren Alse Forse, Leonardo de Price, Alexander D’Amore, and Richard Gregory.

I’m just jotting these names down here to finalize them, I plan to come up with a full name for Katherine and Felacia as well but nothing solid came to mind yet.


When I explored the idea of a torus (doughnut-shaped) world, I discovered a few key implications that conveninently explain parts of Ashlora’s lore.

In a torus world, the moon can oscillate up and down through the center hole of the planet many times in the same solar day, most suitably in a vase orbit that will result in varying moon sizes depending on the season. This matches the “Prism cycle” and “great blue moon” concept observed by the Witch in chapter 4 of her narrative.

In addition, it might be possible to observe the other side of the world through the center hole. It would be day in Azeth when it was night in Ironheart. Someone with a giant telescope would be able to observe the stretch of lit up land at the far end of the night sky. This justifies the existence of the Solaris Observatory as an espionage instrument.

This also implies the sky city of Fa’el might actually be…on the moon (or a piece of land stuck between the moon’s and the earth’s gravitational field). There are other military applications of a vase orbit moon, an aerial attack from Azeth to Ironheart can be prepared half lunar-cycle ahead of time and launched from the moon when it is closest to the target city.

Or, in the case of the Archbishop’s dragon, it can just use the moon’s gravitation field to slingshot itself to Ironheart. This makes the concept “Light of Azeth” in the very first draft of this novel (and on the goddamn cover!) essentially a space elevator; an extremely powerful asset in a world where people still ride horses.


With these special characteristics of a torus world, it is inevitable that the perception of time in Ashlora would be different from ours.

In our world, day and night are marked by the rise and set of the sun. This idea remains the same in Ashlora, except in a Torus world, a solar day would last a lot longer; so much so that a “day” in Ashlora is essentially the equivalence of a month in our world!

So what is the equivalence of our day in Ashlora? A “moon”, is the closest equivalence. In Ashlora, the moon tranverses the sky thirty-two times in a solar day. The first moon starts at sunset and the sixteen moon marks sunrise.

Assuming the solar orbit remains the same as our world, a “season” in Ashlora would consist of only three “solar days” and when they say “week”, they mean “6 days” or “half a year”.

The concept of month is phased out completely.

The least confusing part of this entirely new time division system is “year”, which is roughly the same length as our year.

To sum it up, in Ashlora

Year = 2 weeks = 4 seasons = 12 days = 384 moons = 384 Earth’s days

“Hours”, in our world, originated from a set of 24 stars across the sky. Since stars don’t have any plot influence, I might as well just make the assumption that there were the same 24 stars in Ashlora’s night sky and the concept of hours evolved in the same manner.

Luckily, the concept of “minutes” and “seconds” are not tied to any astronomial phenomenon and I can keep them the same 60 seconds a minute and 60 minutes an hour like in our world.

A moon starts with a period of darkness, then a time of lunar daylight (when the moon goes overhead and reflects the most sunlight) and then another period of darkness as the moon goes down. Due to the moon’s deceleration towards the extremes of its orbit, a lunar day is generally very brief and lasts only a few hours, typically from 9AM to 3PM and drastically shorter in winter.

That’s it for this issue of News from Ashlora!

Expect a second commentary on White Destiny project and finally an actual excerpt from the novel on either the Silverflow Council or the character Ironsmith within the month. It’s a promise!

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Fiction book bundle for $1


HumbleBundle finally offers the kind of book bundle I would buy. I mean, RPG books are cool. Self-help books and comicbooks are not. And fiction novellas? Hell yes!

Of the five books, two books are written in third person and three books are written in first person so they are certainly useful as writing references. If anything, I highly recommend Down and Out in Purgatory by Tim Powers in this $1 bundle. The premise instantly captured my attention and it has been a great read so far. Get the bundle fast before it’s gone here:



For those who are looking for storytelling tips in other fields, Extra Credits is a game design channel I’ve been following lately. They provide excellent insights into storytelling, world building and character designs in games that might be as relevant in writing. Disclaimer: I’m promoting their channel because I love their content, I have nothing to gain from this. Below is the link to their channel:



On another note, I’m now back to writing in Microsoft Word as yWriter, as great as it first seems, is a huge distraction and an inconvenience since I cannot access the writing from OneDrive on mobile. Yes, I’m still writing White Destiny. I haven’t been writing much in recent months as I’m in the final stage of my engineering thesis.

But, I plan to resume writing as soon as it’s over. Next week, I’ll have a bit of time for a brief summary of the changes. Please look forwards to it.

The main narrator is now the Inventor instead of the Princess. Ashlora is now set in a torus world and Silverflow Council is now a mix of meritocracy, democracy and monarchy. Sounds unique and fantastic to me except I’ll have to figure out how time would be defined when there were sixteen moon rises and sixteen moon sets every night.

Still, fantastic.