Saturday, April 30, 2016

May Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Ascent
Time Setting: 9987, Sixth Age of Kysnim
Genre: Fantasy
Minimum Word Goal: 90,000
Timespan: 9987-9994
Locations: Ikulonsar Cetards and Kodulez Lemyazhmok, Qikatalukiq, Kysnim
Main Character: Ilyé Nikadenaer (Redekmaaz)
Background Information:
Kysnim is a world inhabited by many mythical creatures, each living on their own continent . . . or at least that was the case before Anaty Ném died.
Anaty Ném was a great dragon who lived the longest of any dragon in history, 40,695 years. He could've even lived longer, except that his own daughter brought about his end.
Neya Rillo was her name, and she engaged in battle with her father because he wouldn't tell her all of his magical knowledge — which was particularly great due to his age — and after sixty months of battling, she thrust her father through with a pine tree at a weak point in his scales.
Being as they'd been battling in the air, Anaty Ném plummeted to the ground, then exploded just before landing. Many dragons were killed in the blast and the dragons' continent, Syruolabé, was destroyed, with even the ocean boiling from the heat.
The nearest continent was the centaurs' continent, Anechyzdalam in the dragons' tongue, Qikatalukiq in the centaurs' tongue. After many battles, being as the centaurs, naturally, thought they were being invaded, the continent has come to be divided in two: the dragons' North, and the centaurs' South.
Shortly after peace was finally achieved the dragons introduced their specialty, magic, to the centaurs, and chose one of the most magically skilled centaurs as their liaison, called the Lemyazhmok.
For nearly 60,000 years peace has lasted, although the dragons have heard a prophecy that they will one day return to Syruolabé and are in great anticipation of that day.

Ilyé is the second son and youngest child of three children born to Níléts Ajuné and his wife, Yanéla Récédolba, although many suspect that he is somehow a crossing of a centaur and a dragon because, unlike all other Qikatamenj, or winged centaurs, his wings aren't feathered, but are dragon wings.
Like many centaurs since the introduction of magic, Níléts is a magician, and is also among the ever-present minority who seek to overthrow the Lemyazhmok and somehow achieve his great power.
In fact, Níléts has such great oratorial skills he's convinced the deposing faction that he should become the Lemyazhmok once Zharíka Lyarí, the current one, is deposed.
Unfortunately for Níléts, though, he would be forbidden to take the position of Lemyazhmok because he is married. The Lemyazhmok is forbidden to be married, mainly because marriage is a foreign concept to the dragons, and on top of that centaurs who are married can only create their magic with elixirs.
Ilyé, however, has no interest whatsoever in magic, mainly because his father and brother regularly test new spells on him, or even work spells on him with the intent to deliberately torture him for their own pleasure, and all centaurs — whether or not they like, use, or are able to make magic — seem to shun him for his uncommon appearance.

Kysnim: keysnihm
Ikulonsar Cetards: ickyoulawnsahr sehtahrs
Kodulez Lemyazhmok: kohdyouleh lemyahzhmock
Qikatalukiq: keycattahlukeick
Ilyé Nikadenaer: eelyay nickahdehneigher
Redekmaaz: redeckmahz
Anaty Ném: ahnahtee nehm
Neya Rillo: neighah rihlow
Syruolabé: seerooowelahbay
Anechyzdalam: ahnehcheezdahlahm
Níléts Ajuné: kneelets ahzhooneigh
Yanéla Récédolba: yahnehlah rehsehdohlbah
Qikatamenj: keycattahmehnee
Zharíka Lyarí: zhahreekah leeahree

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tormented: Day 20

Word Total: 120,004

Year to Date: 420,030

Summary of Events:
Esperanza was visited — and beaten — by an angry Hercules. Riel went to the rendezvous location and waited for Patricia and Xavier to show up. Esperanza got ready for the party and watched as Zeus arrived. Riel successfully prevented Xavier and his friends from taking Patricia before being chased by a machine-gunner and escaping in a taxi. Esperanza, Catalina, and Ana-Maria successfully snuck into one of the guests' trunks thanks to a lost key fob with an unlock button on it. Riel prepared to return to Buenos Aires, stopping at the police station to give a witness statement to Roberto, as the machine-gunner who'd chased Riel had wrongfully massacred a family. Esperanza, Catalina, and Ana-Maria emerged from the car in the morning and found themselves in blissful freedom.

Excerpt of the Day:
"As Riel walked around the front of his SUV, he spied a piece of paper pinned under his wiper blade.
Reaching over, he pulled it out and then climbed into his SUV. Unfolding it, he found a typed message.
Slicky Suave,
Be warned that we know who you are, what you look like, and that you are an unwelcome meddler who will be eliminated at our first opportunity. Going to the police won't help you; they're a bunch of chumps, after all.
Enjoy your final breaths,
X, C, M, & T
Riel refolded the message and pocketed it. Starting his SUV, he pulled out of the parking lot toward the Buenos Aires route. He wasn't going to be home for long, he had a gang to join, and hopefully take down from the inside.
And maybe, along the way, he'd succeed in getting relief from the nightmares which had tormented him for far too long and would be able to bring Esperanza — if not Estefanía — home. . . .
. . . "You two look for some food and anything else you think might be a good idea to have, I'll get us a map," Esperanza said.
Catalina and Ana-Maria nodded as they walked inside.
Esperanza went over to the maps and looked. All of them had to do with different cities or states, but finally she found a map of America as a whole. That would show them how they should go about getting to Mexico, but now she had to find out what town they were in.
Once Catalina and Ana-Maria returned with food, drinks, and a first-aid kit, Esperanza paid.
"What do you do for fun around here?" Esperanza asked, gazing at the young man behind the counter from under low lids.
He looked at her, surprised. "You don't know what to do for fun in Charleston, South Carolina?"
"I've never been here before," Esperanza replied.
He gave her a list of events and places she never intended to go see. She knew where they were, now all they needed to do was find a place to have a look at the map and figure out their route to Mexico.
Once he'd finally finished listing things she bade him farewell and the three of them left.
"So we know where we are now," Esperanza said. "Let's go find a place to eat, and then we can have a look at the map and decide where we're doing to go from here."
Catalina and Ana-Maria nodded and the three of them set off again. Esperanza still felt rather excited. She couldn't believe she'd succeeded in escaping. She'd succeeded in finally getting free. Free from Zeus, free from Hercules, and Apollo, and all of the other Argonauts, free from that heavenly-veiled prison, and above all free from being tormented."

With the completion of this project, I am once again pleased to announce that I am a:
The next post will be on April 30.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tormented: Day 19

Word Count: 114,006

Summary of Events: 
Esperanza watched the sunrise because Hercules' snoring kept her awake and worried that his frequent nights in her bedroom might cause the escape to be found out sooner. Riel officially gave up on Esperanza's case and was staying in Mar del Plata only to keep an eye on Patricia, from whom he received an odd call. Zeus came to visit and discovered Esperanza's shins were bruised as a result of Hercules also thrashing in his sleep, which Hercules denied, prompting Zeus to plan a test. Riel was surprised to receive a phone call from the restaurant Patricia, and Xavier, worked at confirming a reservation he'd never made; he guessed either Patricia or Xavier had set it up. Zeus' test confirmed Esperanza had been telling the truth, Hercules looked displeased with her, causing Esperanza to be worried she'd face retribution. Riel got ready and went to the restaurant for his reservation where he was served his apparent usual of lobster — which he didn't actually like — and discovered a piece of paper in the claw . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Quickly he looked up to see if anyone was watching him before he opened the note, and he saw Patricia standing in the patio doorway, looking directly at him and shaking her head.
He raised the note and put it toward his pocket. Patricia nodded.
Riel pocketed the note and turned to finish his meal. As soon as he was done he headed back to his apartment, he wanted to see what was in the note.
He was grateful that it'd been Patricia's setup and not Xavier's — or at least he was pretty sure it had been because she'd been the one he'd seen — and that his sidearm had been an unnecessary precaution.
When he got back to his apartment he locked the door and decided to open the note in the bathroom, there were no windows there, so he wouldn't have anyone readying over his shoulder — much less knowing that he was back from where he'd been.
Only after he closed the bathroom door did he turn on the light. He also locked the bathroom door, and stood in front of it.
Slipping the note out of his pocket, he found it was written on a pieces of paper like that which was used by waitresses to take orders.
Tomorrow night, at the beach, there's a large cluster of trees not far from where I kissed you. As soon as it's dark, Xavier wants to meet me there without anyone knowing. He looked at me differently than usual otherwise I wouldn't have thought anything of it. I don't think it's a tryst, I don't know what I think it is, but I'm worried, and I'm starting to think you were right.
Riel shifted his jaw. He wasn't sure if he was pleased at the fact that Patricia was finally coming to the realisation that he was right, or not, as the way things were worded, and the way things had been carried out, made him worry that there was danger about.
Refolding the note, he was going to pocket it, but the had a better idea.
He turned out the bathroom light and slipped out of the room. All he had to remember was where she'd kissed him, and find a cluster of trees not far from there, and then wait until it was dark.
Going into the kitchen, he felt around for the stove and then found the knob he was pretty sure was for the left front burner.
The igniter clicked several times before a ring of flame lit up. Riel pinched the note between his fingernails and held it over the flames until it caught.
He dropped it and watched as it was quickly consumed before he turned off the burner. That way it wouldn't be found, just in case there were other men, friends of Xavier, who might be keeping an eye on him."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tormented: Day 18

Word Count: 108,011

Summary of Events:
Esperanza planned to tell Ana-Maria and Catalina why she hadn't turned up to carry out the escape, but Catalina had just suffered a forced abortion so she told them separately; she and Ana-Maria were then startled by Hercules, who made Esperanza suspicious that he may've heard escape talk. Riel was feeling frustrated, along with being disappointed by Patricia's seeming to have deserted him, then he got a phone call from his Father that left him sad and furious at the same time. Esperanza and Ana-Maria discussed their hopes for escape the next time around, and even thought a little about the bad things that could happen, but quickly banished those thoughts. Riel was bored and not really hungry for anything he had, so he went out to eat and saw Patricia with another man; he intercepted Patricia after she'd parted ways with the other man and offered her a ride to work and told her he was suspicious of the man, Xavier.

Excerpt of the Day:
""Because you're beautiful, innocent, and young, and if you don't take care, you could be ruined in the blink of an eye," Riel said.
"How would I be ruined?" Patricia asked, mostly looking irritated, but a measure of concern and curiosity coming into her expression.
"He could use you merely as a means to an end, without loving you, casting you aside like a worn out garment," Riel replied. "He could lie to you and take you somewhere you don't want to go and hold you captive there. He could even cause you to conceive a child and then abandon you to raise the child on your own."
Patricia looked at Riel worriedly.
"I'm not saying that this Xavier necessarily will," Riel said. "But I don't want you to think that he can't possibly do it. I have very strong suspicions that he might be able to, and I don't want to see you come to any harm because of it. I would hate to have been able to protect you and not actually have done so."
"It's not your job to protect me," Patricia said.
"I feel it is," Riel replied. "And besides, I already lost someone I should've been able to protect, but didn't succeed in doing so."
Patricia looked at Riel with a somewhat fearful and sad expression, all of her resentment and indignation had faded.
"I don't want to lose you too," Riel said.
"Oh I'm sorry," Patricia said quietly. "I promise I'll tell you everything, at least until you're reassured."
"Thank you," Riel said, unlocking the doors.
"And maybe we can hang out again soon," Patricia said.
"I'd like that," Riel said quietly.
Patricia leaned across the seat and touched her lips to his lightly. Riel took hold of her head and pressed his lips passionately into hers. He couldn't put words to the relief that he felt, so he hoped that his kiss would translate that to her.
She looked a little breathless after he released her, but smiled softly before slipping out of the SUV and sauntering toward the staff entrance.
Riel turned to look out the windshield and drive off when he saw Xavier staring after Patricia, a smouldering cigarette between his fingers.
Xavier turned and looked at Riel with a dark look before throwing the cigarette to the ground and grinding it out pronouncedly.
He held Riel's gaze for several seconds before stalking off toward the staff entrance angrily.
Riel felt like he'd just been warned. He felt his suspicions about Xavier were justified, and that Xavier had just warned him to tread carefully, or he might be ground out as firmly as the cigarette had been.
Looking toward the closed door of the staff entrance again, Riel shifted his jaw. He would've just sent a message to Father, but he didn't know that he liked the idea of sending weapons through the mail.
It looked like he'd have ten hours of driving ahead of him; that way he'd be prepared if his suspicions were founded, and not allayed, by Patricia's reports."

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tormented: Day 17

Word Count: 102,002

Summary of Events:
Riel picked up the waitress, Patricia, from her work after her shift was over again and they went to the beach and talked; unfortunately she didn't know Esperanza. Esperanza got ready and participated in Zeus' September party purely for formality's sake; she then managed to sneak off to her room to begin the escape, but Hercules came after her, wanting to spend time with her quietly, preventing her from getting away. Riel was getting frustrated over the repetitive nature of what he was finding regarding Esperanza's disappearance and welcomed Patricia as a distraction, although she wanted to go swimming, and his swimsuit was five hours away in Buenos Aires . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""You wouldn't want a ten hour drive just to go swimming, would you?" Riel asked.
"No," Patricia replied. "But can't we buy you some because you forgot to bring them?"
Riel shifted his jaw. They could, but honestly he felt like it was a bit of a waste of money, and what was he going to do with two pairs? He barely did enough swimming to warrant the ownership of one pair!
"Or do you want your dad to wrap them up in a parcel and send them to you?" Patricia asked.
"It'd probably be cheaper that way," Riel said. And it was a good idea too . . . except that they wouldn't get there until next week because mail wasn't running until Monday.
Patricia looked out the window despondently.
"You should've told me you wanted to do this and I would've gotten them sent down here," Riel said.
Patricia sighed.
"Is there anything else you want to do with me other than go swimming?" Riel asked.
"You already told me you don't want to do that," Patricia replied.
"And there's nothing else you want to do?" Riel asked.
"No," Patricia replied.
Riel sighed. He could technically do both of the things she wanted to do with him, but he thought he might as well just save money and get Father to send his swimwear down for the swimming, and the other one he didn't really want to, mainly because of the fact that she was just sixteen. He felt like it wasn't appropriate for him to do that sort of thing, especially being ten years her senior.
Pulling away from the curb, Riel drove. He wasn't exactly sure where he was going to take her, but he didn't want to take her home if she'd wanted to spend the entire day with him. They had to do something together.
Soon he pulled in at the local shopping mall. Patricia hadn't looked at him or said anything to him the whole drive, and she still didn't even as they pulled in.
Riel shut off his SUV and went around to her door. Opening it, he reached over and undid her seatbelt.
"Come on, let's go," he said.
"I don't want to," Patricia replied.
"You wanted to spend the day with me," he said. "And I know we're not going to spend it the way you wanted, but we can still spend it together."
He gently lifted her out of her seat and kissed her lips lightly before settling his hand around her back and guiding her first out of the way of the door so he could close it, and then toward the mall.
Patricia followed him without protest, but said nothing and remained generally despondent as they crossed the parking lot and entered the mall.
Riel felt guilty, but he hoped that some way, somehow, he'd find a way to make her happy without doing what she wanted him to. There were more ways to have fun, and maybe he'd be able to prove it to her."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tormented: Day 16

Word Count: 96,002

Summary of Events:
Esperanza watched the rain while letting the bruises Zeus had inflicted on her heal and thought about his last visit and plans of escape — hoping he didn't suspect them. Riel inspected the rather worn apartment he'd agreed to rent in Mar del Plata so that he wasn't driving ten hours every day to investigate Esperanza's disappearance and decided it was at least good enough for sleeping in. Esperanza was visited by Ana-Maria and Selene, and they discussed how they should reconnect once they were all back home — and Esperanza and Ana-Maria learned that Selene's real name was Catalina. Riel went to dinner at the restaurant which was part of the resort Esperanza had worked at and a waitress caught his eye that he decided he needed to talk to, not that he was sure why. Esperanza decided to practise sneaking around the house to help with their plans of escape and even tried to sneak into the computer room . . . where she discovered Hercules.

Excerpt of the Day:
""What are you doing here Aphrodite?" he asked.
Esperanza said nothing, she had no reason, she wanted to run away, but she didn't want to arouse his suspicions or make him angry.
"Come in," he said, a softness and gentleness to his expression that made Esperanza feel somewhat dubious.
Being as she didn't want to upset him she stepped forward to enter the room, releasing the knob without worrying about how much noise it made.
"Close the door," Hercules said, gesturing with his chin.
Esperanza did as she was told, again not bothering to be quiet.
Hercules rose from his seat, the sight of him full making Esperanza wish she would've slipped away before he'd noticed her. It was exactly as she'd feared.
"I am sure the original Aphrodite must've looked like you," Hercules whispered. "And it's a shame that she wasn't actually Hercules' love interested. He was too busy being manipulated, I'm pretty sure."
Esperanza didn't really know what he meant, but she stayed where she was and let Hercules approach her. She didn't dare run.
He settled his hands on her shoulders gently and looked into her eyes with a longing and a hunger that Esperanza couldn't call malicious. He wasn't hungry. It almost looked like Sebastian, when he'd gazed at her so tenderly and convinced her to believe that he actually loved her. She wondered if Hercules was trying to do the same thing, or if it was the real thing this time instead.
"From the moment I first saw you I thought you were something special," Hercules said quietly. "The boss did too, but I was the one who asked to see you first. I've never seen a more beautiful woman in my life. I still remember the way you walked toward me; spirited, saucy, virile, the fulfillment of my deepest dreams."
Esperanza thought his words sounded pretty genuine, but she wasn't sure. Sebastian had seemed pretty genuine too.
"I have to admit, I would actually have preferred to have given you a ring that cost as much as I paid for you, and given you a white dress, and made you mine and mine alone, instead of having to let you be shared," Hercules whispered, sliding his hands up her neck softly. "Even though you've beaten me up, I still can't shake it. And it doesn't seem that you can either, if you've come to me like this."
Esperanza wasn't sure she would've wanted to have married him. It would've been a way out of the Compound, but she wasn't entirely sure.
His hands cradled either side of the base of her head gently and slowly he lowered his face, his nose softly sliding alongside hers until his lips made contact.
The passion in his kiss left Esperanza breathless. She felt her heart rate take off. She may well have actually decided to let him marry her if he would've put up the offer. She had a feeling this was the real thing, and it was absolutely incredible beyond belief."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tormented: Day 15

Word Count: 90,027

Summary of Events:
Esperanza went outside for the first time since her forced abortion and talked with Ana-Maria about trying to speed up their escape plans. Riel returned to court for the first time since his hospitalisation and was greeted by applause from the crowd outside the courthouse and the audience within. Zeus came to visit again and Esperanza asked him to throw another party, but he adamantly refused to do so before September, saying there was noting to celebrate in August. Riel was exhausted by the seemingly repetitive arguments that had come to be the majority of what the trial was made of and finally decided to bring the trial to an end . . . 

Excerpt of the Day:
""As much as I would like to, I cannot force them to do what they will not do, and so with great reluctance, mourning, and difficulty, I must say that I have no further arguments," Riel said, his voice trembling. "I hate to fail the Bello Arechovaletos like this, I hate to fail myself like this, but this is a hill that is futile to be died on. I wish they would try to find Miss Bello Arechovaleto with better effort, but as they will not, I cannot force them to do so."
"If you're so bound and determined to find her why don't you find her yourself?!" the head of the legal team shouted.
Riel startled. Had he not been listening? Why wasn't he rejoicing that he and his team had won victory because he'd just heard the prosecution concede defeat?
"I have been doing what I can to do as much," Riel said, deciding to run with it and not flaunt the fact that he was giving up. "However, if I do not have the case file I do not know what has already been determined by the Mar del Plata police department, and how to best set my course of action."
"Fine then," the head of the legal team said, not quite so loudly. "I move that the trial be adjourned so arrangements can be made for the case file to be transferred and we be rid of this burden."
Riel looked up at the judge. His expression showed puzzlement. He looked at Riel.
"Do you agree with the motion?"
"I see no need for it," Riel replied.
"And why not?!" the head of the legal team demanded.
Riel turned to face him. "If you would've been listening to my closing arguments, you would know why," Riel replied. "However, if it is legally permissible for me to come into possession of the case files, then I would be more than willing to take on the case and see if I can succeed where the defendant has failed, and may not fail the Bello Arechovaletos and myself as badly as I was initially thinking I would."
"So then you will see the trial adjourned?" the judge asked.
"No," Riel replied, looking at the head of the legal team. "I will see the charges dropped, whether or not I receive the case file, and being as the Mar del Plata police department whose unfortunate incompetency has been hereby unequivocally proved has declined to try and regain competency and credibility, will myself, should it even take until the day my last breath is taken, pursue the recovery and restoration of Esperanza Bello Arechovaleto to her family on my own with the same dedication which I've directed toward this trial."
The head of the legal team smiled a smile that Riel couldn't help but feel unsettled by, as it looked rather sinisterly and maliciously pleased. It almost made Riel question whether or not the Mar del Plata police department had chosen corrupt legal counsel that may well itself have been hiding things."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tormented: Day 14

Word Count: 84,009

Summary of Events:
After barely eating any breakfast, Riel went to leave for the courthouse, but his father stopped him and confronted him with some hypotheses as to why he thought Riel was doing what he was. Esperanza was feeling ill, so six Argonauts came to apparently help her, but they only hurt her and made the sickness worse as far as she was concerned. Riel was trying to pay attention to the court proceedings, but he was getting too tired; the judge grew alarmed and had an ambulance summoned which took Riel to the hospital, where he lapsed into remembering the evening before his mother killed herself, and finding her body in the morning. Esperanza woke from a nightmare and came to the realisation that the Argonauts had given her a forced abortion. Riel woke up in the hospital after several days of sleeping; his father was by his side talked with him about matters Riel found rather distressing.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Riel turned away from his father. Surely they couldn't be that unreasonable, Roberto had been one of the most adamantly logical of Riel's few friends in law school — or at least he'd thought he'd been.
"Once you're better I think it would be best for you to go back there and say that you are trying to do this for their benefit, and not their detriment, and concede defeat if it is that they will not listen to you," Father said. "Like the prophets who called on Israel to repent. They were wanting to help Israel, but Israel would not listen, and so the prophets could do nothing but admit they wouldn't be able to get through to the Israelites and watch as God enacted His judgement on them. You'll have to do the same."
Riel turned back to his father. "I can't give up, her family . . . Argentina . . ."
"I know Gabriel, but sometimes that is just the way it has to be," Father said, gently rubbing Riel's arm. "You've put in a good and valiant effort, but there is no more you can do unless the President were suddenly to get behind you and order them to reopen the case or admit their failure in handling it, but I highly doubt that would happen."
"It could," Riel said.
"Yes, but you shouldn't bank on it," Father said. "This trial has been going on for two months and it has been a media sensation so epic I'm sure the penguins in Antarctica know all about it. If the President hasn't gotten involved yet, then there is absolutely no way it's going to happen now."
Riel sighed. He didn't want to give up. He had to find her. He wouldn't find rest if he didn't find her.
More tears were trailing down Father's cheeks as his dark blue eyes bored their gaze deep into Riel's eyes.
"Sometimes there is just no more that can be done," Father said quietly. "It hurts, but sometimes one must give up with reluctance, like the officers who managed Estefanía's case: they didn't want to let it go, but they had to because there was simply no more they could do to find her."
Riel felt tears warming his own eyes, and his vision blurred as he gazed at his father.
"They were teary-eyed when they told me they were closing the case, and they apologised profusely," Father said. "But when there is no more that can be done, there is no more that can be done. Please understand that I know why you've tried so hard, but to put in any more efforts is to die in vain Gabriel."
But then who was going to find Esperanza? Who was going to find Estefanía? How was he going to find the peace and rest he so desperately craved?"

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tormented: Day 13

Word Count: 78,026

Summary of Events:
Zeus brought Esperanza some new dresses just before his party began, and then intended to announce her specially, but she refused to go out because he wouldn't call her by her name — Esperanza — instead of her title — Aphrodite. Riel delivered his most subdued and heartbroken argument of the entire court proceeding, calling for the police to admit they'd messed up the investigation and go about things properly. Esperanza and Ana-Maria, the new Athena, were sitting outside when Selene came over worried that Esperanza would be getting sent to the Thanatos soon, but Esperanza was confident . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""How can you laugh?" Selene asked, looking at Esperanza like she couldn't believe what she was being told.
"Because he won't break me," Esperanza replied.
"But he's a man," Selene said. "Even if he isn't as powerfully built as Hercules and the other Argonauts, he's still stronger than you, he can still hurt you."
"Physically," Esperanza replied. "But he and I are both talking psychologically. He wants to mentally break me, like he broke Angelina, but I will not let him break me, and besides, he can't."
"How do you know he can't?" Selene asked.
"That's why I made him mad at the party," Esperanza replied. "He told me to come out when he said my name, but then proceeded to call me by my title instead. I told him he either had to call me by my name, like he'd said he would, or he had to tell me he would call me by my title. He told me he would call me by my title."
"So?" Selene asked.
"He gave in to me," Esperanza replied. "He acknowledged that Aphrodite is merely a title, and that I have a name, instead of insisting that Aphrodite is my name."
"Oh," Selene said. "And you think things will continue that way?"
"If I have anything to say about it, yes," Esperanza replied. "Of course, that would be only so long as I'm here."
"You're going to escape?" Selene asked, her eyes eager.
"Why wouldn't I?" Esperanza asked. "I've never meant to stay here until I'm sent to the Thanatos."
"You mean you have a plan?" Selene asked.
"I do," Esperanza replied. "A plan to at least get all three of us out of here, although I wouldn't mind finding a way to get everyone out of here if I could."
"What have you been thinking?" Selene asked.
"I've been thinking that the next time Zeus has a party, we should find a way to sneak outside and into the back of one of the guests' vehicles," Esperanza replied.
"Who knows how long it will be until then?" Selene asked, sagging.
"Zeus told me he plans on having a lot more parties, he bought me a significant collection of party clothes for them," Esperanza replied. "We'll just have to bide our time for an opportunity at one when it comes along."
"There are cameras out here, though, haven't you seen them?" Selene asked.
"I have," Esperanza replied.
"I don't know where the controls are for them, or I could take them out," Selene said.
"You could?" Esperanza asked, startled.
"Yes," Selene replied. "I worked with computers at school, it was my favourite class, I even once succeeded in hacking into my neighbour's security system, just because I could, and I cleared his footage history for a period of five hours, just because I could."
"Where do you think the controls would be?" Esperanza asked.
"On a computer," Selene replied. "But I've yet to run into a computer.""

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tormented: Day 12

Word Count: 72,012

Summary of Events:
Riel cross-examined Roberto at significant length, until he asked Roberto some questions that Roberto was unwilling to answer. The new Athena arrived and Esperanza decided to go and comfort her, explaining everything to her, and learning that her real name was Ana-Maria; because an Argonaut was listening, though, Esperanza told her little of escape plans. Having been woken by another nightmare, Riel stood out on his balcony in the torrential rain thinking about the court case, what it had become, and how he felt it was actually a hindrance more than a help . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Already they'd been at it for three weeks and things were getting worse for him. He wanted Esperanza found, or at least not given up on until it was assuredly ascertain that she would not ever be found, like Estefanía had been.
Really, though, he wanted to find her, and Estefanía. He had no idea how he was going to find them. Estefanía had been gone nearly nine years. Both of them had vanished to the point of bafflement: not a trace, not a sign, as if their entire existence had been a massive hallucination.
Riel gathered his lips, recalling one of the last Masses he'd been to before he hadn't had the time anymore. The priest had been speaking out against the people who believed that Jesus had been a massive hallucination. He wryly wondered if Estefanía or Esperanza had been caught up into the sky like Enoch, Elijah, or Jesus had been. Mother had always called Estefanía her angel.
But he doubted it. He knew for a fact that Estefanía hadn't been the angel Mother had believed her to be. She'd been mischievous and infuriatingly impertinent at times; but as annoying as she'd been, she'd still been his sister, and he'd still loved her.
And from what he'd heard in testimony from the Bello Arechovaletos inside and outside of the courtroom, Esperanza hadn't been saintly either. She'd been a feisty, competitive, resilient creature who fought her way through anything rather than give in — even when giving in was the better option.
They had to still be on earth somewhere, as far as Riel was concerned, and he intended to see them found, even if it came down to him having to do it himself, although he didn't see why the Mar del Plata police department couldn't keep looking until they'd solidly confirmed they absolutely could not find Esperanza — or maybe even succeeded in finding her much to their own surprise.
Riel sighed and looked down. His chest was so wet water was running down it steadily, and his jeans were quite wet too, just from the splashing of the drops, not from them directly hitting him.
Turning away from the balcony rail, Riel walked toward the French doors back into his bedroom, but stopped with his hands on the handles. Hot tears blurred his vision, agony clawed painfully at his breastbone and filled his chest cavity.
He wanted to find them. He needed to find them. Both of them. He couldn't live with himself if he didn't, and he was sure that if he failed he would haunt Buenos Aires until they were found.
Leaning his forehead against the door, he closed his eyes and let the warm tears wind their way through the cool residual rain that wet his face otherwise. His sides trembled as he took shaky breaths.
More than anything he wanted them found. He'd already failed once, he didn't want to fail again. It would surely be a death blow if he did."

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tormented: Day 11

Word Count: 66,020

Summary of Events:
Riel was called upon by a young reporter regarding the fact that he was taking the Mar del Plata police department to court. Esperanza, based on what she'd been hearing, decided to test and see if the barbed wire on the wall around the yard was electrified — and found that it was very much so — before hearing screams and discovering that Athena had taken her life by drowning. Riel got a call from Roberto, telling him the Commissioner wasn't impressed with what Riel had said in his interview; Mr. Prieto, the senior partner in the firm who didn't like him, then came in and had a rather heated discussion with him. Zeus came to visit again and Esperanza informed him that Athena was dead, while he informed her he was planning a party, which caused her to think of a new idea for escape.

Excerpt of the Day:
""You are one man, and you are taking on an entire police department and their legal team," Mr. Prieto said. "Such odds are inconceivable, and you're fool enough to think you might succeed?"
"I am," Riel replied.
"You are an absolutely brazen fool," Mr. Prieto said. "Thinking one man — albeit with enough money to stand equal — will be able to face an entire police department, and come out alive, much less win?"
"I am not fool enough to believe I will win, I know not all their arguments and explanations," Riel replied. "But I fully intend to come out alive, and to show the sort of man that I am, championing the rights of those who haven't the clout in our society to champion their own."
"Sir Gabriel of the Fool's Gauntlet," Mr. Prieto muttered.
Riel rolled his eyes. "This is Argentina, we don't have knights."
"Fine, General Gabriel of the Fool's Order," Mr. Prieto muttered. "The noble hero and patriot to be written into the annals of Argentinian history as a mockery and disgrace to all."
"I do believe it is that you underestimate me, Mr. Prieto," Riel said.
"And yet I'm quite certain that you overestimate yourself," Mr. Prieto said. "Rich though you may be, and well versed in the Spanish language to the point of insufferable eloquence and wit, it takes much more than that to succeed. You've not faced a test such as this in the courtroom before, and I do not believe you are capable of it."
"I do not see why I shouldn't be capable of it," Riel replied. "I took three gruelling degrees consecutively and graduated ahead of schedule cum laude, and I am even now pursuing my doctorate of law."
"Concurrently with your doctorate of insanity, I'm sure," Mr. Prieto said dryly.
"I do believe I shall succeed in proving to you that I am a more capable lawyer than you give me credit for," Riel replied. "In fact, in the course of this I have a feeling I'm probably going to end up cementing my name in the public knowledge of Argentina."
"As an absolute fool, for all your knowledge," Mr. Prieto muttered.
"So you think," Riel snapped.
"I've been in the law practise for longer than you've been alive," Mr. Prieto said firmly, resting his hands on Riel's desk and leaning down with an icy stare. "I know how this works, I know how difficult it is, how tasking, and I am quite certain that you are not ready for this, though you so insolently think that you are. Not to mention I think it is utterly foolhardy to try and take a police department to task on a handful of allegations."
"They are suspicions, not allegations, but more importantly is the compromise of rights," Riel replied. "And on top of that the integrity of our nation among those whose company it seeks to be allied with.""

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tormented: Day 10

Word Count: 60,016

Summary of Events:
Riel received a call from Roberto that Esperanza's case was being closed again, and made excuses for why, which prompted Riel to file another injunction against the Mar del Plata police department. Esperanza was exhausted by the Argonauts not leaving her alone and talked with Selene, one of the other girls; Selene offered to guard Esperanza while she slept on the couch so she could get some rest. Riel and his father had a rather lengthy and intellectual discourse on why Riel had filed the second injunction, with his father warning him that his stubbornness and patriotism could end up causing him trouble if he wouldn't take care. Esperanza and the other girls were all let outside and Esperanza noticed Athena sitting sadly on the edge of the pool in the backyard garden . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"I wish I would've done it while I had the chance," Athena said quietly.
"Done what?" Esperanza asked.
"Tried to escape," Athena replied.
"Who did?" Esperanza asked eagerly.
"The previous Gaia, and some others," Athena replied. "I hadn't been here too long when they tried."
"Did they succeed?" Esperanza asked.
"No," Athena replied. "They were caught and locked away in one of the bedrooms downstairs until Zeus decided they were all to be sent to Thanatos, starting with Gaia."
"How did they try to escape?" Esperanza asked.
"They tried to climb the gate," Athena replied. "They broke out in the middle of the night and climbed up on each other's shoulders, but they didn't get over the gate before they were found out."
Esperanza looked at the bottom of the pool, tiled with round white and light grey stones. It looked rather elegant, but Esperanza couldn't help but feel down. She wondered if any other girls had tried to escape before then, and how successful they were.
"The former Gaia looked a lot like you," Athena said.
Esperanza startled and looked at Athena, whose gaze remained on the pool's softly rippling waters.
"Maybe you were sisters," Athena said.
"I never had any of my siblings go missing," Esperanza said.
"Maybe a cousin then," Athena said.
"Must be a very distant cousin," Esperanza said.
"She had blue eyes," Athena said.
"Oh," Esperanza said. "But otherwise she looked like me?"
"Very much so," Athena replied. "I think she even told us she was from Argentina."
Esperanza raked her brain, but she couldn't think of anyone she might've known in Argentina with blue eyes who may've gone missing.
"She was very friendly, kind, and beautiful," Athena said. "And I think she was the one who led the escape planning. It seems all of you Argentinians want to get out of here."
"And why don't you?" Esperanza asked.
"It's impossible," Athena replied. "And their failed escape proves it."
"Not necessarily," Esperanza said. "Being as they were a large group wanting to escape all at once, that was really the best way by which they could have gotten out of here, however they probably could've spent a little more time on planning and making sure they had it all figured out a little bit better. Although there would be another option for a group escape."
"There're no other options," Athena said.
"We could all hide in trees," Esperanza said. "Not all going up at once, but one going up, and then other, in the trees closest to the gate, and then ignoring the call when we're called in because a vehicle is coming. As soon as the gate opens we start climbing down and make a break for it, maybe even holding the gate open if we can for those still coming if the Argonauts try to close it, depending on what the Argonauts' reaction is to our break.""

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tormented: Day 9

Word Count: 54,008

Summary of Events:
Riel suffered another nightmare that got him trapped in his blankets and led to him falling out of the bed and cutting his forehead open. Esperanza managed to slip away while the boss — who introduced himself as Zeus — was sleeping to have a bath, but then he woke up and she tried to get away from him, unsuccessfully. Riel got a taxi ride home from the hospital the next morning, and then set about to renew his efforts in finding Esperanza . . . until he found out that he had a paper due in about twelve hours. Zeus finally left and Esperanza was exhausted, but the Argonauts didn't seem intent to let her rest and recover.

Excerpt of the Day:
"A lengthy dark red scar, regularly marked along its length by dark coloured stitches crossed his forehead about halfway between his eyebrow and his hairline. He was going to have a tough time explaining it away without people wanting to ask more questions than he wanted to answer.
Sighing, he undressed and showered quickly, making sure to thoroughly wash the right side of his face so as to get all of the blood off and then put his jeans on when he finished, but carried his shirt, tossed it into the laundry basket, and picked a clean one from the closet.
He went back downstairs and headed toward his office, but Father beckoned to him from the living room, so he walked over and sat down on the couch beside Father's chair.
"You had a nightmare," Father said, looking at Riel analytically.
Riel said nothing. He didn't want to relive it.
"About Estefanía," Father said.
Riel remained silent, but held his father's gaze.
"It's coming as a result of this case you insist on getting your nose into," Father said.
"I'd like to know when and how you became a dream expert," Riel said.
"You're the one who's convinced yourself that case and Estefanía's are related, when they aren't," Father said. "I'm merely offering you a suggestion of what to do if you don't want to have any more scars on your forehead that you'll have difficulty explaining."
Riel said nothing. He knew what the suggestion was, but he wasn't going to take it, not after that dream. He couldn't give up now. If he did, the dreams would only get worse, not the other way around, as Father supposed.
"Give up on this case already Gabriel," Father said. "It's not doing anything but causing you trouble. You don't need to get involved in it, and you shouldn't be involved in it either."
Riel shot up from his seat. "You're wrong."
"Oh, and how am I wrong?" Father asked.
"I need to be involved in this case," Riel replied. "I have to be involved."
"And why?" Father asked.
"Because I could never forgive myself if I didn't," Riel replied.
"That's purely because you've gotten so wrapped up in this case," Father said. "You need to let it go already."
"No!" Riel shouted. "I am not the only one who wouldn't forgive me if I didn't get involved in this case and see it through to its bitter end!"
Wheeling around on his heel, Riel stalked off before his father could offer any more protests and locked his office door behind him once he'd passed through it.
He stalked around behind his desk and sat down heavily. Reaching around behind his computer, he pressed the button to turn it on and then dug out all of the physical material he'd amassed on Estefanía and Esperanza.
They had to be found. He had to find them. At all costs he had to find them, otherwise he would be tormented by them for the rest of his life, and by the fact that he could've, he should've found them."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tormented: Day 8

Word Count: 48,032

Summary of Events:
Riel met Mr. Bello Arechovaleto, who was incredibly drunk, and after not really learning much from him, took him home, where Riel was disheartened by Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto's abject denial of her husband's inebriation. Esperanza was feeling bored, so she got one of the other girls, known as Athena, to come to her room and visit with her. After returning to Buenos Aires again, Riel had to wait for his father's board meeting to let out before talking to him — a quickly soured conversation, as usual. Esperanza was woken up and served breakfast in her room, the thing she'd been fearing the most since talking with Athena.

Excerpt of the Day:
""What happened to the last one?" Esperanza asked, worried.
"She hid in the bathroom for two weeks after the boss' last visit, having stockpiled food there, and wouldn't let the Argonauts in there to clean her out," Athena replied. "They caught her when she snuck out to get more food and then sent her to Thanatos."
"What's Thanatos?" Esperanza asked.
"I don't really know what it is," Athena replied. "But there's a small house over there, and Thanatos lives in there. Any girl who makes the boss mad is sent there and never comes out again."
Esperanza looked over her shoulder at the wall Athena had pointed to and shuddered slightly. It sounded scary.
"Why didn't Gaia become the new Aphrodite?" she asked.
"That's not how it works," Athena replied. "There's several times, if that would've been the case, I ought to have become Gaia, and even Aphrodite myself, but once we're assigned a position, that's the position we remain in, no matter what."
"So I'll never be anything other than an Aphrodite," Esperanza said.
"No," Athena replied.
Esperanza looked at the fireplace with its face logs waiting to be in flame. She didn't know how to turn the fireplace on, not that she saw any need for it. The idea of fire would be chilling at a time like this, a reminder that this place had to be a lake of burning sulphur, and not a paradise. The more she was hearing, the more Esperanza was sure she had to get away.
She looked back at Athena. "Have you seen the boss?"
"Yes," Athena replied, not returning her gaze. "Too many times."
"Does he come often?" Esperanza asked.
"Not necessarily, usually more in the winter than the summer," Athena replied.
"So he should be coming more soon then, right?" Esperanza asked.
"No," Athena said. "We're above the equator here, the seasons are the other way around, winter's ending and summer's beginning here."
"Oh," Esperanza said. "What does he look like?"
"He's not terribly handsome, and not as muscular as the Argonauts," Athena replied.
"But he's not fat," Esperanza said.
"No," Athena replied.
"How do you tell when he's arrived?" Esperanza asked.
"Whoever Aphrodite is has been served breakfast in her room," Athena replied.
Esperanza shifted uncomfortably.
"Aphrodite is his favourite, so he always goes to her first, and usually spends a full day with her before he moves on to anyone else, but I think he sees all of us before leaving again, usually," Athena replied.
"And when he's gone everything is the usual routine?" Esperanza asked.
"If there is a routine to it," Athena replied. "There's usually more routine when the boss is here than when he isn't."
"Oh," Esperanza said.
She looked at Athena, staring blankly at the table, her face and eyes devoid of any emotion. She looked hollowed out, just like those women and girls back at the Compound, but yet in some ways worse. It was like she was dead, but yet still kept walking around and functioning."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tormented: Day 7

Word Count: 42,020

Summary of Events:
A man came to Esperanza's room and unpacked her clothes and then tried to do things she had no intent of permitting him to — so she managed to hide from him until he left. Riel had gone to Mar del Plata to confirm Esperanza's case was reopened and then decided to see if he could visit with the Bello Arechovaletos, he managed to get to visit them, but nearly got kicked out when Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto found out he was a lawyer. Esperanza was woken up and got dressed for breakfast, where she was informed much to her displeasure that from here on she was going to be addressed as Aphrodite.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Have you heard the police closed your daughter's case?" Riel asked.
"They told me they'd closed it, they couldn't find anything, but they came today and told me they'd opened it again," Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto replied.
"They opened it again because I made them open it," Riel said.
"And why did you do that?" Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto demanded. "If they couldn't find anything then there's no sense in forcing them to keep trying."
"They didn't look everywhere," Riel replied. "The police spent a year looking for my sister — even looking in the most ridiculous places — before they finally said they couldn't find her. They didn't hardly give your daughter a month, and when I asked them if they'd looked in certain places that the police had looked for my sister, they told me they hadn't looked there."
Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto looked at Riel with disturbance. "But why?"
"Because they couldn't be bothered," Riel replied. "My sister was rich, she was somewhat famous, they looked for her for a long time because she was considered important — and even if she wasn't, my parents were considered important, and the police were afraid that my parents might take them to court if they didn't do everything they possibly could to find my sister. Your daughter, on the other hand, to them, is considered unimportant. Your family won't take them to court if they don't look everywhere for her because you can't afford it. They don't see the need to look for her because she isn't rich, she isn't somewhat famous, she's just another person from the villas miserias. I've even heard for myself them calling your husband a bum."
"A bum!?" Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto exclaimed. "He's not a bum! He works very hard every day and cares for his family! He does not make as much as people like you, but he makes enough money for us to survive! A bum doesn't do anything!"
Riel nodded. "And I don't believe your husband is a bum either, but even if I did, I would still think your daughter needs to be found. She's disappeared, and she needs to be found, because it's absolute torture, like the lake of burning sulphur itself, to be without her, to not know where she is, or what is happening to her."
Mrs. Bello Arechovaleto nodded passionately.
"Using my power as a lawyer, I made them reopen the case and try harder this time," Riel said. "And if they close it again before they've done everything I'll make them reopen it again. Only once they've done everything will I let them close it. And if they refuse to reopen it because they haven't done enough, I will go to every length possible to make them reopen it and do everything they ought to so as to try and find her. She is not a nuisance, she is a human being, and she has a right to be found, and you all have a right to know what has happened to her.""

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Tormented: Day 6

Word Count: 36,042

Summary of Events:
Riel received a call from Roberto in Mar del Plata that Esperanza's case was being reopened before heading off to his cousin's engagement party, where he happened to run into the one senior partner in his firm who didn't like him, and they had a heated argument. Esperanza was hauled out of the container on her chair by her captors and taken on deck, where she was cut free; she took advantage of her freedom to jump over the side of the ship because she could see lights suggesting a shore in the distance, but her captors started after her in a motorboat . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She could still hear the motor, though, but under the motivation of its threat she swam faster, as fast as she could, her arms slicing through the water, propelling her further and further toward the shore.
The motor seemed to be getting closer. Esperanza didn't have her eyes open, though, being as the salt water was stinging them, so she couldn't tell if the light was nearby, she was just waiting for her hands to collide with the sand underneath the surface so that she knew when she was getting close to shore.
Suddenly her wrist was stopped. A hand was wrapped around it.
Esperanza struggled against it, but more hands grabbed her and hauled her into a boat. Two hands held her wrists, two held her ankles, and a blanket was put over her.
She heard the motor rev again and she could tell they were covering water quickly; she struggled against the hold on her left wrist, she wanted to get her hand free so she could wipe the salt water out of her eyes and see.
"I want to see!" she cried.
A rough finger stroked over each eye — she guessed it was meant to clear the water away, but it felt more like it intended to gouge out her eyes.
"Open your eyes," a voice roughly snapped.
"Let me do it!" Esperanza protested.
Her right wrist was released.
Grabbing the blanket, Esperanza dabbed her eyes lightly and wiped them gently until she felt they were clear enough for her to see.
She opened her eyes just as a hand snaked out and seized her wrist again.
They were much closer to the shore now, the lights were more like lights than stars.
The motor abruptly stopped and the two men holding her shifted around. Esperanza saw motion to her left as a man sat down, brought out a pair of oars, mounted them in place, and started rowing.
Esperanza struggled to sit up and get a good look.
All she could make out was trees. They were approaching a heavily forested shoreline, it appeared. The perfect place to hide if she wanted to run. They wouldn't be able to find her, especially in the dark.
She watched, waiting for an opportunity to break free and make for the shore and the trees.
None came before they came into the beam of a flashlight. A man in the front of the boat Esperanza hadn't seen until the flashlight illuminated him tossed a rope toward the light and the man rowing didn't pull so hard.
Soon Esperanza was able to make out a dock, and two men. One holding the flashlight, one holding the rope.
"You're a little early," one of the men said in English.
"You've got yourself a firecracker," the man rowing said, turning around.
"The boss doesn't mind them that way," the man on the dock said.
Esperanza didn't like that, not that she knew what it meant."

Friday, April 08, 2016

Tormented: Day 5

Word Count: 30,011

Summary of Events:
Esperanza and her fellow captives were fed a meagre meal before Esperanza managed to successfully escape, except the ship's crew helped her captors recapture her. Riel was visited by a woman who wanted to interview him for a legal magazine, but he found her insufferable and managed to get her to leave; he then found out that the Mar del Plata police had closed Esperanza's case and quickly filed an injunction against them for not doing their due course and diligence in the investigation. Esperanza was woken by her captors entering the container she and her fellow captives were kept in, and after they left managed to get one of the other girls to talk to her.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Metallic noises woke Esperanza and she looked up. The door opened and two of the guards strode in. Esperanza watched as they walked by her chair toward the back corner.
"Wake up," one said roughly.
The girls moaned and whimpered.
Esperanza turned to look back at the door end when she heard more feet and saw another guard coming in with a flashlight in hand. He shone it steadily on the girls and Esperanza watched as they were hauled to their feet roughly.
Their hoods were whipped off and each face was examined. Grabbing one of the girls roughly, the one guard started toward the door with her while the other guard whipped the hoods back onto the other two.
Esperanza watched as they headed out. One guard stopped and looked at her.
"Curious aren't you?" he asked. "You'll find out what we're doing soon enough. Yours is the second last stop on the line."
She was tempted to ask why, but held her tongue instead; she had a feeling she wouldn't have been given a straight answer if she would've asked anyways.
The guard smiled and continued on after the others. The door was closed and the girls were submerged into darkness again.
"Which way do you think we're sailing?" Esperanza asked.
"Be quiet," the usual whisper was harsher.
"I think we're going north, but I don't know," Esperanza said.
"Shh!" came a harsh hiss.
"Of course, it all depends on where we started from," Esperanza said. "Did we start from Argentina? Brazil? Venezuela? Colombia? Somewhere else?"
"Oh be quiet!"
"Why?" Esperanza asked.
"We're supposed to be quiet."
"They haven't gotten me in trouble yet for whispering," Esperanza said. "I've only gotten in trouble because I've tried to get out of here and back home, something the two of you don't seem particularly interested in."
"We can't get home."
"We can if we try," Esperanza said.
"We're trapped on a ship."
"But we're all going to have the chance to get off eventually," Esperanza said. "I should think. And what if we could escape then? If we get out of their clutches and swim to land surely we could find a place to orient ourselves and find out where our home is."
"We can't swim."
"I can," Esperanza said. "But if you can't then you could wait until you get to land, and then run away."
"They'll shoot us."
"Those guns are purely for show," Esperanza said. "They wouldn't actually shoot us to kill us. They've only ever shot at me, and they only hit me once — not to mention the man who did that is dead now — they wouldn't kill us, and especially if we get away fast enough."
"When will you realise that it's hopeless?"
"It isn't hopeless," Esperanza said. "We have a multitude of opportunities we can utilise to escape, we just have to take advantage of them and forget about the fears. Besides, I think that dying would be better off than being held captive, even though it isn't the ideal.""

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Tormented: Day 4

Word Count: 24,016

Summary of Events:
Riel returned home from Mar del Plata and began reviewing the information he had from Estefanía's disappearance before his father got into a heated discussion with him. Esperanza was taken out of her cell to try on an inordinate amount of clothing, and also have her outfit changed again — including her shoes, which she took advantage of to try and escape again, but was again unsuccessful. Riel woke up from another nightmare, having fallen asleep at his desk, to have breakfast with his father before finding that one of the hypotheses he was privately investigating was growing weak. Esperanza was taken to a helicopter and flown with three other girls to a container ship where they were stowed away in a container Esperanza hoped to escape from soon. Riel received a phone call from his friend investigating Esperanza's disappearance telling him they planned on closing the case, which didn't please Riel at all.

Excerpt of the Day:
""And you're going to close the case?" Riel asked.
"That's what the Commissioner says," Roberto replied. "And, honestly, I agree with him; the family's getting tired of being questioned, they're starting to try and make us go away."
"They're grieving," Riel said. "It's like when someone dies, but it's worse. You don't know if they're really dead, you don't know what happened to them, you don't know if you'll ever see them again — or what they'll look like when you do — and the worst part: you can't bury them. There's no closure. You're standing on a cliff waiting for something to happen, and nothing does. It's like a cliffhanger without a sequel, and you have to try and figure out what to do with yourself afterwards. Give them some space, look at some other avenues, do everything you can without questioning them; and then, when you can't do anything other than question them, question them, but don't inundate them."
"Some of those possibilities are really far out there," Roberto said.
"It doesn't matter! Investigate them all!" Riel exclaimed. "In a case like this anything could have happened!"
"I don't think it's worth it, and I'm sure the Commissioner will agree with me," Roberto said.
"I'll take you to court for failing to follow the due investigative course if you close it," Riel said sharply.
There was silence for a moment. "You can't be serious Riel."
"I am serious," Riel replied. "I'll do it. You're not doing everything in your power to give the family as much closure as you can. The police didn't give up on my sister until a year afterwards and you're going to give up on Esperanza after a month!?"
"Look, Riel, she's just another bum's daughter from the villas miserias," Roberto said, sounding tired. "We could use less people in the villas miserias anyways."
Riel swore. "She's a human being Roberto! She is no lesser of a person than my sister just because she's from the villas miserias! She has just as much of a right to be found as my sister did — and still does — and I will do what ever I can to ensure that she is found, even if it means taking you to court to get the case reopened! Although, if you don't close the case, you don't have to worry anyways."
"I don't see why it matters to you so much," Roberto sighed. "But I'll talk it over with the Commissioner."
"You'd better," Riel said.
The line went dead and Riel slammed the receiver down on its cradle. He couldn't believe Roberto thought Esperanza was worth less than Estefanía. There was no reason for them to give up on her just because she was poor. She deserved to be found, and whomever the criminal was who was involved ought to be brought to justice."

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Tormented: Day 3

Word Count: 18,007

Summary of Events:
Esperanza managed to jump her guard and get away with his gun in an attempt at escape; she was caught just before she was able to escape, though. Riel, having decided to spend a couple of weeks in Mar del Plata, wandered around the villas miserias and ended up coming upon Esperanza's little brother, Pedro. Esperanza was sedated and taken to do a sort of modelling thing again — from the best she could guess — and did it because she had no other choice. Riel wandered around the villas miserias again and ended up running into a confrontational man whom he managed to get away from. Esperanza was given the news by her guard that she'd successfully been sold.

Excerpt of the Day:
""Did you like your sister, Esperanza?" Riel asked
"A little bit," Pedro replied.
"What did you like about her?" Riel asked.
"She wasn't bossy like Violetta is, and she never told us we were playing our games too loud, and sometimes she'd play with us, especially football*, but sometimes she got scary when playing football," Pedro replied.
"Why?" Riel asked.
"Because she always wanted to win, and she'd kick the ball very hard; one time she even knocked a whole house down because she kicked it so hard," Pedro replied.
"Oh my," Riel said. "What didn't you like about her?"
"How she always wanted to win at football," Pedro replied. "And she was a girl, and she didn't always do things when we asked her to, or like we asked her to."
Riel nodded. "Do you think you'll ever see her again?"
"No," Pedro replied. "The police can't find her."
Riel nodded, wishing he had something else to say, but all his ideas would either lead him to become emotionally unstable, or would be likely to infuriate Pedro and make him leave.
"I don't like that they can't find her," Pedro said. "I'd much rather Violetta have gone away and the police not be able to find her. She's not nice. Anza was a little bit nice, and more fun, and she let us have more fun without her too."
"I don't like that they can't find her either," Riel said.
"You like her?" Pedro asked.
Riel startled, then shook his head and tried to laugh slightly. "No, I've never met her."
"Then why don't you like that they can't find her?" Pedro asked.
"Because it's too much the same as when my sister disappeared," Riel replied, looking into Pedro's eyes.
The dark eyes widened and surprise came over the boy's face. "Your sister disappeared too?"
Riel nodded. "She went to a party, and when I went to pick her up she wasn't there."
"And they didn't find her?" Pedro asked.
"No," Riel replied. "They didn't."
"Did you have lots of policemen come talk to you?" Pedro asked.
"Yes," Riel replied.
"Asking you to tell them if she was behaving odd when you last saw her?" Pedro asked.
Riel nodded. "Yes."
"And they went away?" Pedro asked. "Or do they still bug you?"
"They went away," Riel replied. "Now it's the newspaper and magazine people who bother me about it."
"Oh," Pedro said.
"She's been gone, for nine years," Riel said.
"That's a long time," Pedro said.
"Too long," Riel said, gazing at the ground."

*football, here, is referring to soccer.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tormented: Day 2

Word Count: 12,023

Summary of Events:
Riel researched everything he could on the disappearance from the paper and then told his father about it, but his father thought he was being paranoid and ridiculous. Esperanza was taken to an English lesson and was pleased to have done so well at it that she finished first. Having been disturbed by nightmares, Riel snuck into Estefanía's room, but didn't really find it helped his restlessness much. Esperanza wasn't sleeping well in her cell, too disturbed by the other girls she'd met now that she was being allowed to roam a little bit. Riel went to visit the Police Commissioner of Mar del Plata, but was directed to the Deputy Commissioner, who happened to be an old law school classmate; he asked about the disappearance, and tossed around some probabilities with the Deputy Commissioner, but didn't really come up with any theories.

Excerpt of the Day:
"The more time Esperanza spent here, the more she was certain that their plans were not to make her an actress. They were to make her a robot. They wanted to destroy the hope and fight she had. They'd get her out of the villas miserias, but they would get her into a rut that was very much the same.
It terrified Esperanza, but more than anything, it infuriated her. Why would they do such terrible and monstrous things? Why were they getting away with it? She had to get out of here and get help for all of these women and girls before they withered away and died — or were shot by the guards, something she'd been fortunate enough not to witness so far.
The biggest problem was, though, that she was locked in a cell when she wasn't attended, and when she was attended, it was by a man who had the power to kill her in his hands. The worst part was the lack of a way out. She was trapped. There was no way she could escape.
Sitting cross-legged on the concrete floor, Esperanza sighed. There had to be some way, somehow, that she could get out of here. She'd been thinking about it for several days, but she had no ideas. She didn't even know how all the girls from the other levels got down to the ground level for their English lessons and salon visits. If she could get up to the top floor, then surely she could climb onto the roof and find a way to get down.
A strange sound startled her and she quickly crawled toward the food slit to see. Several bright lights mounted on the roof of the top floor were shining down on the middle of the grassy area, which was ringed by many of the guards.
Wind seemed to be whipping the trees, and soon Esperanza could see a helicopter slowly descending. It landed and the rotors slowed down, the whirring noise she'd been hearing faded.
Once the rotors had stopped the side door opened and a man came out carrying a girl. Esperanza watched as three girls were brought out in the same fashion, and carried along to cells not far from Esperanza's own.
Was that how she'd come into this place? Was that the only way out?
She watched as the men who'd carried the girls went into the helicopter, along with several of the men who'd been standing around watching the helicopter. Then the rotors started spinning again and after an exceedingly long time the helicopter lifted off and the bright lights turned off, leaving everything in darkness.
There was no way she would be able to get out of her cell — or evade going into it — when the helicopters came in, and it wasn't like she could fly one to make her escape effective anyways. There had to be another way out, and the sooner she found it, the better."

Monday, April 04, 2016

Tormented: Day 1

Word Count: 6,011

Summary of Events:
Esperanza impatiently waited for sunset before setting out for the beach like she'd been told; she met her friend, Sebastian, there, and he roughly escorted her to a car before things went black. After having been woken up at his desk by the butler, Riel went to breakfast with his father and got into the same old argument as to why he was taking so much schooling before Riel left in frustration and started reading the newspaper, where he found an article about a young woman missing from Mar del Plata that dug up memories he'd preferred to forget. Waking up, Esperanza found herself in a compound and found Sebastian now armed; he escorted her throughout the compound getting her done up like a model before she posed for some photos and was left hopeful and fearful at the same time.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Slow and sauntering she'd come down the stairs, her chosen skirt swaying about her legs as her stiletto-clad feet slowly walked down. Her face had been radiant with a smile, her long, dark hair pulled back in a silken ponytail.
Mother had been beaming with pride, almost fit to burst. Father had smiled too. He hadn't really cared too much, he'd just wanted to get going.
As soon as she'd reached the foot of the stairs Mother had rushed over and kissed her cheeks softly, then straightened; "You look absolutely beautiful my angel."
"Thank you Mama," she'd replied quietly.
"You have fun now," Father had said. "Both of you."
"Make sure you're home by midnight," Mother had said.
She had arced her hand, and with reluctance he'd offered her his elbow. She was his sister, surely he shouldn't have been escorting her like that, he should've been escorting a girlfriend, but at least it was only in the house, she would walk down to the yacht all by herself and he'd go on once she was there to his party.
Joachim had opened the door and bowed low. Once they were outside in the cooling evening air, the buildings lit golden by the sinking sun, he'd finally smiled at the sight of his SUV. Father had made him work hard to get it, and he was proud of his achievement.
Being as he was sure Mother and Father were watching, he'd guided her around to the passenger seat, opened the door, waited for her to climb inside, and then closed it before going around to the drivers' side and climbing in for himself.
He'd turned on the radio to his favourite station and pulled out of the driveway. Smiling, she'd nodded her head to the beat of the music and gazed out the windshield. It was the first time she would be going to a party by herself, and both of them were glad: he didn't have to hang around her friends anymore, and she didn't have to deal with him always following her around anymore.
As he'd driven toward the docks, he'd had to admit, she looked pretty, and he was glad she was his sister. It wouldn't take long, he was sure, before she had a boy of her own escorting her around who would charm her, win her heart, and marry her. Once he was married, of course.
It hand't been hard to tell where the party was, all sorts of cars were parked nearby, and the large yacht was brightly illuminated with lights. It was a huge yacht, both of them had attended massive dinner parties on the thing with Mother and Father, and now Patricia was using it for her birthday party.
"When do you plan on picking me up?" she'd asked.
"Eleven thirty maybe," he'd replied. "If you don't hear from me by then, call me."
"Alright," she'd said. "If you're here sooner, call me."
"I will," he'd said.
"Bye Riel," she'd said, smiling and waving her fingers in that dainty little way of hers, kind of like how Mother waved, yet somewhat more darling and juvenile."

Saturday, April 02, 2016

April Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Tormented
Time Setting: 2016
Genre: Thriller
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: January 2016 – about December 2017
Locations: Buenos Aires & Mar del Plata, Argentina; Bloody Point, Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
Main Characters: Gabriel "Riel" Cuéllar Vivas, Esperanza "Anza" Bello Arechovaleta
Background Information:
The oldest child and only son of two children born to Cristobál and Isabelle Cuéllar Vivas, a couple who made their fortune in the industrial field, Riel and his sister, Estefanía, lived a life of privilege from day one.
When Riel was eighteen, it all changed. Estefanía, one of the most attractive teenagers in all of Buenos Aires, went to a friend's birthday party on a yacht . . . and was never seen again.
For months the police — and even the army — searched desperately, but yielded nothing other than a pile of alleged sightings and young women falsely claiming to be the missing teenager.
It was all too much for Isabelle, who took her own life partway through the investigation, leaving Riel and Cristobál to seek, and find nothing.
Cristobál has become a shadow of his former self, retreating into his home and not making any public appearances, running his company through phone calls and receiving visits from the vice president.
Riel — as far as everyone can tell — has come out of his sister's disappearance the strongest, throwing himself into university with an intense course load and graduating ahead of schedule cum laude with a degrees in law, psychology, and criminal sciences.
But he didn't stop there, Riel is still taking several courses, including pursuing doctorates of law and psychology among others, while practising law successfully and even being hailed as a legal prodigy . . . yet he's no less deeply haunted by his sister's disappearance nine years on.

Born the third child and second daughter of nine children to a poor family living in the villas miserias of Mar del Plata, Esperanza's parents were both sporadically employed, but not enough to send their children to school.
The local church's priest, however, decided to start a school for the children of the villas miserias, and rich parishioners graciously donated the necessary supplies so Esperanza and her siblings, among others, all received an education.
At the age of fifteen Esperanza, using her education, got a job as a cleaning maid at a resort, and she's held the job down for two years, although she dreams of someday becoming famous to break out of the villas miserias forever.
Recently she's befriended a handsome young man who promises her he will help her get free of the villas as an actress, and he's arranged to meet her at night near the beach so they can drive to Buenos Aires to meet an agent . . .

Cuéllar Vivas: kwehlahr veevahs
Arechovaleta: arrechohvahletah
Miserias: mihzehreeah's

The novel begins on April 4.