present book

4

ASK ME ANYTHING 

Having interviewed jazz pop band 4te, the final concept I am presenting for my project is a series of 5 flip books that showcases various live performances that 4te have done throughout the years. The questions have specifically been placed at the back of the books as I was inspired for this concept after having come to their practice sessions. I really appreciated their collaborative work and admire their willingness to enjoy their creative practice despite the business aspect that originally encompasses their band. I also felt like the answers to most of my questions lie behind the scenes of what they do so I wanted the questions to be somewhat hidden and not directly in view so that the books can be fully explored in an interactive manner to then find the answer ‘behind the scenes’.  

I decided to present the interview flip books in a clean looking, black and white box to portray 4te’s business oriented operation (they mainly play live for functions and events). Underneath I incorporated my colour and rather chaotic illustrations as I wanted to incorporate their fun and energetic attitude towards music, enjoying it for what it is.  

fantasy book with witches and wizards and magical people but all magic has a price, like

main character, in awe and slightly terrified: what did you have to give up to be able to control storms with your mind?

powerful enchanter, fighting back tears as they pull down the hood of their cloak to reveal a knotted oily mess: my beautiful luscious hair….no matter how many times i wash or brush it, it always looks like this

main character: [horrified gasp]

this is a story about a sorcerer and a knight. well, a knight-in-training. they go by KiT, a nickname for their title, but a perfectly good name for anyone. kit’s a good squire, for the most part, but they have a knack for getting into trouble.

this time the trouble is they just fuckin decked another knight in the middle of the tavern.

“keep your hands off my friend,” kit tells the shocked personification of grossness, now sitting on his ass on the ground. kit’s pretty sure the message was already sent though the ass-kicking, but it doesn’t hurt to be thorough.

the man splutters for a minute before finding his tongue. “you— you— you piece of shit, you’ll pay for this. i have powerful friends.”

“bring it on,” kit retorts. they’re feeling pretty confident right now.

they’re feeling significantly less confident as two other men step up behind the first guy.

“outside,” the first growls.

“we’re zit and wedge, and we’re going to kick your ass,” the second one clarifies. 

zit nods. “but we don’t want to make a mess of you on mal’s floor, since it was just scrubbed and all.”

kit glances at mal, who they rather thought was a friend, to find her nodding appreciatively. “brawlers these days are so polite. out you three go.”

kit wilts. “but… there’s just one of me.”

it’s around this time, when the two other guys are starting to crack their knuckles and look like they’re going to drag kit outside whether they like it or not, that someone else pushes their way through the small crowd that’s forming.

“’scuse me, pardon me. hello. what’s going on here?”

she’s got bright blue hair, of the kind that you get from mucking around with magic too much. everyone immediately reassesses the situation, and watches her warily. a sorcerer can quickly change the way a brawl plays out, if they feel like intervening. kit sincerely hopes she does.

“miss,” zit jumps in before kit can get a word in, “this young… person, here, just brutally attacked my poor friend, and me and wedge think we ought to be able to teach them a lesson in manners.”

the sorcerer studies him for a moment, as if considering his statement, and kit grabs their chance.

“pimple here is completely leaving out the fact that their friend wouldn’t leave my friend alone, after she asked him to go away twice!”

zit bristles, and looks to the sorcerer for her judgment.

she considers for while. “can anyone vouch for this knight’s statement?”

“i was the one getting hit on!” tea shouts from behind kit’s shoulder.

the sorcerer digests the witness’s statement. “hm. i’m inclined to see this as a case of self-defense, through the channel of someone who was not the self being hit on. i would suggest that all the parties involved accept the ruling of “he who gets their ass kicked probably deserves it”, and move on.”

“fat chance,” wedge growls. “the pack sticks together. we have to defend our leader.”

werewolves, kit sighs internally. it just figured.

there’s a dramatic pause, then the sorcerer says cooly, “you try it, and you’ll get your asses kicked too.”

zit and wedge eye her warily. kit eyes all three of them, which is hard with only two eyes.

“i reckon we could take a sorcerer,” wedge hypothesizes— an idea that would be quickly proven false in any laboratory experiment.

but this is a tavern, and the sorcerer has a delayed reaction, only raising her hands when zit charges at her. kit flinches back, sure she’s about to be crushed, but the next moment flames explode in the small space between the sorcerer and zit. there’s a yelp, and mad scrambling back from the sorcerer.

“i have nowhere to be until book club at midnight,” the sorcerer informs them calmly, her hands still out, palms up and ready to summon more flame. kit squints at them. “so i have plenty of time to teach you a lesson.”

apparently rescinding their hypothesis, all three werewolves make a mad dash for the door and disappear into the night.

the sorcerer smiles victoriously, and shakes her bright hair out of her face. kit squints at her scalp as she turns to them. “all good?”

“yes, thank you,” tea says, sounding impressed. “wow… a fire summoner. i didn’t know there were any teenagers powerful enough.”

kit has no other specific places to squint, so they just stare hard at the sorcerer’s face. “yeah… thanks. that was really cool.”

she waves their thanks off with one hand, a few strands of smoke issuing from her sleeves. “all in a day’s work. i’ll be off now.”

kit leaves tea with mal, though they frankly no longer trust her so much, and follows the sorcerer out the door. “hey, wait! you, blue hair magic person. what are you?”

“a masked vigilante,” she says, after a pause. “without the mask, because magic.”

kit blinks at that, before realizing she’s perfectly right. besides the definite ideas that she’s female and blue-haired, kit seems to forget what she looks like one moment to the next. kinda neat, honestly, though disconcerting.

they shake their head. “no, i mean… you’re not a sorcerer. i’ve seen people summon fire, and it comes from a loosely closed fist, not an open hand. also, your hair is dyed, not magically changed.”

she doesn’t answer for a moment, then looks stumped, and continues to not answer.

“well?” kit asks.

“fine,” she admits. “i’m a sorcerer in training, but the fake mask is about the most complicated magic i can do. the hair is so people will take me seriously when i do masked vigilante stuff.”

“and the fire?” kit persists.

after a moment, she shakes out her sleeve, sending a tiny purple dragon tumbling into her other hand. “my helper. my fire aid, if you will. you’re the first person to notice, you know?”

“just logic and being awesome,” kit says with a shrug, feeling pleased. neither are skills they get to show off a lot. they kinda feel like they’ve earned something for it. “hey, can i ask you a question?”

after a pause, the sorcerer in training says, “go for it.”

“why do you wait a second before responding to anything?”

their question is punctuated by a pause before she answers.

then the sorcerer motions kit closer, and tucks her hair behind her ears. the knight-in-training leans in, gaping. there’s a green dragon no longer than the length of one finger perched behind her ear, claws holding onto her piercings for balance. it unwedges one tiny wing to wave at them.

“what the fuck,” kit says, unable to find a reason for this from logic or being awesome.

“what the fuck,” the dragon repeats, pushing its snoot practically inside the sorcerer’s ear.

“this is peep,” she says. “my hearing is shit, so it helps me out. i call it my hearing aid.”

the draconian hearing aid preens under the knight-in-training’s stare.

“shit,” kit mumbles, for lack of better words.

“shit!” the dragon crows, gleefully.

To Hear Destiny Calling

(In which I finally begin writing that story idea about the girl with hearing loss, a magical quest, and an unfortunate lack of hearing aids)

It was a perfectly normal night. Livvie was slumped into her bed, soaking in a new book, taking a sleepy sort of happiness from having taken her hearing aids out after a long day — like pouring all the synthetic, grating sound out of her head, shaking it out of her ears like water.

It was a perfectly normal night, except that a glowing purple portal had opened up in the corner of her bedroom five minutes ago, and she’d been huffily ignoring it ever since.

It’s just my imagination, Livvie had told herself, aiming the thought pointedly at the softly humming portal, in case that would help. No weird magical shit going on here.

She focused on her book. Through the softness that was all sound without her hearing aids in, she heard the portal cough, politely but purposefully, waiting to be acknowledged. She raised her book higher so it would block her sight.

This went on for a another few minutes, then the portal let out an indignant huff and a flash of bright violet light that grabbed Livvie around the waist like a cosmic octopus arm and yanked her in, ignoring her protesting yells of “What the fuck!”

The portal did not care for rude language, or for slightly magical teenagers who ignored the very polite callings of their destiny. Unfortunately, it also did not have a good enough grasp on humans to know that some of them, if they were to complete quests with their highest possible potential, really ought to be wearing their hearing aids before they are sucked into magical alternate realities.

Sometimes magical quests just go to hell before they’ve even begun.

(To be continued tomorrow!)

When you’re on spring break but legit every single one of your teachers assigns homework because of all the “free time” you’ll have:

not the lost princess

because somebody said “write it” when i said this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I’m not the princess,” Liza told the first man who informed her, shocked, how she had the green eyes of the royal family and hair as dark as the late queen’s. She had been joking, of course, pretending to take him seriously as she counted out his change. No one had accused her of being the princess in the first place. Princess Aliara, the last of the royal line of Adamar, had drowned in the Silver Sea ten summers ago. Everyone knew that.

~

“I’m not the princess,” Liza told the old woman, the princess’s childhood nurse, who clutched her hands to her chest the moment she fell off her horse in the castle courtyard. She didn’t want any more confusion than there already was.

There were silver streaks in the woman’s hair and tears in her eyes. “It’s you,” she repeated, as if she hadn’t heard.

“No,” Liza explained, already impatient. “It’s not me. I’m not her.” It was what she had told the royal minister who had been fetched by the man in the shop last week at least seven times by now, but he’d insisted that the other royal ministers had to see her, had to see if she was real, and wouldn’t leave the shop.

“I’m real,” she’d said. “Really annoyed.”

The man’s eyes had filled with tears. That seemed to be happening a lot around her recently. “You sounds just like you did when you were little.”

Liza threw up her hands and told anyone who would listen that this man hadn’t known her when she was a little girl growing up in a costal town far away, but finding out she had lived in some proximity to the Silver Sea only sent everyone into more of a frenzy. In the end she agreed to come, if only because the royal minster would take care of the cost, and the capital city had a real library to visit.

“I’m not the princess, though,” she reminded all the minister’s servants when they bobbed curtsies to her. “Just to be clear.”

~

“I’m not the princess,” Liza told Kara, the girl who had claimed the right to interrogate her first. She was the lost princess’s best friend, or something, and she’d said she was the only one who could possibly tell if this so-called princess was an impostor.

Kara scoffed, hands on her hips and her eyes mistrustful. “Of course you’re not, kid. No one who claims to be Liara is. She’s dead.” But her voice sounded a little more uncertain with each word as she looked Liza over. “So what’s your excuse? What’s your made up story for how you’ve suddenly regained your lost memory and remembered you’re a princess, or whatever?”

Liza glanced around at all the court watching her, still bewildered as to how she was being interrogated as a possible impostor when she’d never claimed to be anyone in the first place, and finally repeated what she’d been saying all day. “My name is Liza. I’m a baker. My parents were bakers before they died. They were not the king and queen. I am not the princess. Can I go to the library now?”

The room filled with deliberating murmurs rather than answers, and Liza leaned back in her seat with a groan.

~

“I’ll give you credit,” Kara said, sounding as if she’d rather do anything else, “you really do look like her.”

“I’m not her,” Liza said, as if repeating it for the hundredth time would make Kara finally believe she wasn’t trying to pretend she was. As if saying it a thousand more times would make half the royal ministers stop thinking she really was.

She wasn’t allowed to go home, not until they’d come to a consensus on her princess-related status. “I’m a prisoner,” she yelled at Alder, the most annoying of the ministers.

“You’re home,” he’d responded fondly, and she’d screamed in a very un-princesslike manner and gone to find Kara, who at least wouldn’t keep asking her if she remember so-and-so-’s name, or how she had tripped on that step and sprained her ankle when she was six.

“When I was six I was frolicking happily on a beach somewhere on the southern coast,” she told Kara crankily. “Not cooped up in this castle.”

Kara laughed derisively. “Oh, honey. Liara’s ship sank near the eastern coast. You don’t even have your story straight.”

But despite Kara’s firm belief that Liza was a liar and a pretender, Liza sensed that her laughter was becoming warmer, and she directed more snide comments at the ministers than she did at Liza. Perhaps, Liza even dared to think, Kara was starting to like her.

Kara noticed that she was being stared at, and half-smiled back. “Don’t be offended. You’re almost as bad of a liar as she was, too. That’s actually a point in your favor.”

Liza rolled her eyes and tugged at Kara’s sleeve to pull her closer. “Show me the way to the library again. I get lost in the halls every time I try to go without you.”

“They say true royalty isn’t capable of being lost in the royal palace.”

“Tell that to the ministers.”

~

“I’m not the princess,” she said automatically, before she’d processed the boy standing in front of her. He was supposed to be the princess’s illegitimately-born cousin, or something. One way or another, he was one of those next in line for the throne if the princess did not magically turn up sometime soon (which she wouldn’t, because she was dead).

“He’d do a rotten job,” Kara had said, curling her lip, when they’d seen him march through the front hall from their little alcove in the balcony. “He can’t be king.”

“Why do you care?” Liza asked, trying to sneak a peak at Kara’s cards.

She pulled her cards away and whacked Liza’s arm lightly with them. “I’m engaged to the throne, silly. The real princess would know that.” But that last sentence was an afterthought. She’d almost entirely stopped accusing Liza of pretending, recently. “And I won’t marry Henry. He makes fun of anyone once their back is turned, and he spreads rumors about whatever he likes, and once he kicked Liara’s puppy because it was in his way.”

“That sounds like an exaggeration.”

Kara shook her head, looking almost grim. This clearly wasn’t one of her jokes. “No. Liara was so angry she threw her shoe at him. Hit him in the head, hard. He was bleeding. It was a big scandal that she would hurt her own cousin, everyone rushed to cover it up with a story about how he fell and hit his head.”

“I take it they didn’t get along?” Now she was worried. If Henry wanted to be king, what would he do to Liara? What would he do to her, if he believed she was the princess? “Is he dangerous?”

“Don’t worry, Liza. I’ll protect you.” She was kidding, her brown eyes soft, but Liza felt a little safer anyway.

~

“I know you’re not,” Henry sneered, and walked past her.

Kara gripped her hand, which was all that kept Liza from running after him to yell about just how many people were pretty sure she was, and how he was a rude, terrible person who would never marry Kara because she wouldn’t allow it, and how someone who kicked puppies was not fit to look at the throne, let alone sit in it, and how, also, he smelled.

He didn’t, but it would have been nice to tell him that. She almost didn’t let Kara pull her away.

~

“I’m not the princess,” Liza said when Alder asked yet again for another retelling of how she’d come to be a baker in a small town far from the castle. She was too tired to go through it again, too frustrated with all these dithering people too scared of having to work out the convoluted succession of a throne that had no obvious heir to accept that their princess wasn’t there to solve the problem.

She was not, however, too tired to notice Henry’s small victorious smile as he sat in the back of the room and listened. Everyone knew that the one year in which the royal throne could remain empty in the wake of the king and queen’s deaths was drawing to a close. An heir would have to be announced soon.

If it wasn’t Aliara— wasn’t Liza— it was almost certainly Henry.

After the horrible, boring meeting was over, she found Kara in the library and bunched up next to her in the window seat too small for two people. “Tell me about the princess,” she said, and Kara complied, because they were both coming to wish, like the ministers, that she was there.

~

One year after the queen of Adamar had passed away with her daughter’s name on her lips, the royal ministers met in the throne room. Liza had denied being the princess to the very last. There was nothing else for it but to declare the heir to the kingdom.

Henry hadn’t stopped smirking since he’d received the message asking him to attend that morning. Kara watched him with a blank face but a sick stomach, thinking how she would never sit on a throne next to his— thinking about running away, grabbing Liza’s hand and running with her back to the beach far from where the princess had died.

It wasn’t fantasy. It was a concrete plan. She had the horses waiting. She felt herself calming as Alder called everyone to attention, knowing that even if they could do nothing for Adamar once Henry was king, at least they could do this.

And then Aliara walked into the room.

No, she glided into the room. She swept in so like a ghost that half the company spooked or flinched, but she was very, very real. She had the green eyes of the royal lineage. She had dark hair braided over her shoulder the exact way the queen used to wear it. She had a smile that was almost, almost smug.

“Please,” Liza said, sweeping a curtsey and lifting her eyes to the sunlight falling through the high glass windows as if she could look any more perfectly innocent. “I must beg your forgiveness. I have been a coward to insist for so long that I could not remember my childhood here, when I have never forgotten my true self. I thought I could bear the shame of never coming forward. I even convinced myself it would be better for Adamar to have my dear cousin as king.” She pressed a hand over her heart. “I’m sorry, Henry, for pretending not to know you, and almost letting this burden fall on your shoulders. But I have seen the light in time. I am here, Alder. I am the princess.”

Henry went pale with fury, meeting her halfway across the wide floor of the throne room and catching her arm so she could not approach the throne.

“Don’t you dare,” he snarled. “We both know you’re a liar. Everyone else will soon realize to. Don’t bother trying to pull it off.”

She yanked her arm back so hard that he was almost unbalanced and fixed him with a glare that had no princess in it and all of the fire she used to pump in her huge ovens at the bakery. “Don’t cross me, cousin. Or do you need me to throw another shoe at your head?”

He faltered just long enough for her to walk past, head held high, and up to the dais. “Come here with the crown, Alder. Careful on the steps. I tripped on them when I was six, you know.”

“Y-yes, princess,” Alder said, hastily coming forward.

She raised an eyebrow, indicating with one hand that there was no one else on the dais with her. “I’m not the princess. I’m the queen.”

~

“I’m sorry,” she told Kara, late that night. It had been a very long day, and her head ached from the weight of the crown, and she only wanted to go to sleep, and she didn’t know if Kara was angry, and didn’t want her to be.

“I’m the one who needs to apologize,” Kara said, stepping closer, reaching out for her hands.

“For?”

“For my false accusations over the past year, of course,” she said with a straight face. “I don’t know how I didn’t recognize you from the beginning.”

“The princess,” the new queen said, unable to figure out full sentences as Kara pulled them closer together, gently pushing strands of her hair back.

“My princess.”

“Yes,” the baker-princess-queen sighed. “That.”

Unsaid

People say
Words are what causes us pain
That what we say,
Hurts
It’s very true
Words hurt
But what hurts even more,
Is the words left unsaid
The words we never got to say
They float around
In our mind,
Haunting us
Making us feel regret
For not saying them
Though we can’t take back words
We can still say them
The guilt gets to us
We have to say something
To someone,
Anyone
But if we aren’t careful,
We can say them at the wrong time
We could push someone away
Hurt them,
Then no matter how much the words
Haunted us,
Some say they would be better left
Unsaid
But if we don’t say them,
The unsaid,
Could hurt someone
Just as much
As us saying them