Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sneak Peek 5

As they begin to run out of options, Jack and Patch come to a tactic of desperation...

 Jack (Jack and Patch come to doors): We challenge you to single combat!
Captain of the Guard: You gonna keep fighting with fruit?
Jack: Patch will fight as bravely as he ever has!
Captain of the Guard: Perfect! We’ll have the undertaker standing by with two identical coffins
Obviously, the organization EGO has little faith in the combative powers of fruits and vegetables.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Caesar the Troll Part 5

I have been feeling a bit like an evening post, and so thought I would bring out for ya'll the next installment of the story of The Song of the Troll. By the way, today I cam up with the ending lines of the story! and mapped in my mind how this is going to go... should be fun, sad, tragic, hilarious, and everything it has been thus far!

And there she was.
A little girl, not ten years old, sat at the base of the stage, playing with the rocks and humming to herself.
Caesar had no memory of seeing a little girl ever before, but he knew what he was seeing now. A miracle. No one else existed. She must have appeared out a thin air, a heavenly visitation by a golden haired girl.
And then she began to sing. Caesar understood little of speech, but could hear in her song the same happiness that filled him when he sang his song to all his assembled audience. He stole silently down into the theater, and came within a few feet of her before she noticed as his shadow fell on her.
She turned in the utmost fright, her pale face becoming paler, and she dropped the little horse and doll she was playing with.
Caesar stooped down toward her level, and she began scooting backwards on her skirts away from the king of the rocks. He reached out to her, and she cowered back further. He could read in her face a great fear, even as she spilled out a great unintelligible babble of words that Caesar did not understand.
Seeing her fear, Caesar grasped her about the waist lightly with his mighty hands and carried her, now silent in petrified fear, to the stone seats at the front row of the theater, and there she sat, too afraid to shiver.
Then he climbed to the stage, and began to sing. He sang and he sang, and watched her precious little eyes as his song climbed on and on.
And when he was done, she clapped and clapped for him until her little hands were red and hurt. So he took a bow, and sang again, adding the little dance that he only did when he was immensely happy. Then he did a great deep bow as she cheered for him. When he looked up she was standing under him, jumping, trying to ascend the stage.
He reached down and brought her up with one hand. She took to the center of the stage, just in front of the king's knees, and she began to sing the song of the king. He joined in with his immense bass voice, and together they made a song more beautiful to Caesar's ears than any he had ever heard in the theater. When they were through, she made a curtsey while he bowed, and after a moment of eye-contact, they sang again, and she danced the dance he had done, with perfect timing for their invisible audience.
Daylight began to wane, and the stars to come out as they finished their song once more. The girl reached up and took Caesar's hand, pulling on it as hard as her little arms could manage. He knelt down close to her, trying to read her expression. There was something in her face he could just scarcely recall. Then she hugged him, her soft hands just barely reaching his sides. He clasped his arms around her and lifted her up. And from that moment henceforth, he was no longer king only of the rocks.

Sneak Peek 4

Good morning everyone... I have some crazy adventures to head off to with some of my filming-buddies this morning... so I am afraid there won't be more of Caesar the Troll this morning. Well, actually, I am not afraid of that, I have made peace with that. I may yet bring forth some of that epic tale this evening or so, but for now I will delight Aubrey first and share yet another sneak peek into the script.
Filming has been scheduled for one week from today, by the way, so soon you will get to start seeing behind-the-scenes shots, maybe costume designs, etc.

[Patch at table desk-style, on walkie talkie]: Jack, remind me why it is that I am running a fruit stand on EGO’s front door?
Jack, by garage: You’re distracting them, Patch. You know, malnourished soldiers need nothing more than they need good fruit. You’ll have all their attention while I slip in the back
[Jack peeks around, Rob standing on front corner that Jack is behind back of]
[Jack jumps back behind corner]
Jack: It’s not working, Patch. You’re gonna have to find a way to get more attention.
Patch: Like what?
Jack: Do you juggle?
Patch: no…
Jack: Can you sing?
Patch: no
Jack: Perfect! That always gets people’s attention!
Patch (small voice crack) : Well what should I sing?
Jack: Anything you want. Or don’t want. Just loud, bad, and long

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sneak Peek 3

Today I have decided to give you all another Sneak Peek into the script of The Great EGO. In this scene, Jack and Patch are deliberating over how they will break into the enemy fortress. Jack seems a bit confused about their armaments though...

[Jack’s hand picks up potato] : While I am making the diversion (grabs potato) you will plant C4 next to the gate, and blow up the gate!
[default view] Patch, sitting, blank wall as back: Sir, that is a potato
[All Jack scenes are table]: Oh, so it is. Well, I suppose you could blow up a gate with a potato. (pause…) And then you climb the guard tower or towers with this rope! (holds up bean)
Patch: Sir, that is a single bean.
Jack: Well at least it is not a married bean… then you will cover your escape with these motion sensing explosives!

 Jack goes on with more bright ideas... but I will save those for when I finally get this thing filmed and you get to see the real production!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Caesar the Troll Part 4

To any of you readers not particularly interested in the song of the troll... I have one thing to tell you.
I got another vote for Caesar the Troll sitting over there, and so I decided to what I don't normally do and write a Sunday post... and write two in a row about the same thing. And now... Caesar the Troll. [I was writing this post last night on Sunday, but health problems kept me from posting. Do not fear, I do not believe I will die of this... so you will still get your Caesar the Troll and Sneak Peeks].

Caesar kept his most precious possessions down in the catacombs, which formed most of his imperial domain. He didn't have much for precious possessions, but as it said, one man's treasure is another man's trash, and Caesar liked trash.
One of Caesar's prized artifacts was a hairbrush. It had been his before the war, when he had had long hair that curled away from his neck and bounced as he ran. It had grown so long he had to shake like a dog after he bathed or showered in order to get rid of the wetness. Now though, his head was deformed and virtually hairless. and it was of little use. Still he would touch it and run it over his head, shaking his head back and forth, wondering if maybe he would look up and be looking out through the thin screen of hair that had obscured his vision as a small boy... though he could no longer remember what a boy was. To him he had always been as he was now, the king of the rocks.
Then there was the most prized possession of all. The bomb.
During the war the king's city had been bombed for day straight. In the first day of the bombing, one of the super-high-explosive bombs had dropped right into the king's bedchamber, but had failed to explode. Studying it later Caesar found that it was not a dud, simply a miracle, failing to detonate. Ever since he had prized the chunk of metal and explosive, and kept it in a little nook down in his catacombs. Each day he would rub his face against its cool metal before going to sleep with at least one arm wrapped around it. He felt that if he treated it kindly enough, it might not decide to go off.
Caesar never dreamt much when he slept, and if he did it was most often of himself singing his song in the theater, and often he would wake to find that indeed he had begun singing in his sleep, his sounds reverberating off the walls of the catacombs.
Every few days, or if anything remarkable happened, such as him finding another treasure, or an attack by the renegade mercenaries, he would go to carve in his catacomb a little more of the history of his reign. He never did anything as illustrious as he had done in the first few centuries, but still he sang.
Then came the day.
Caesar climbed out of his catacombs, having already brushed his hair and put his bomb back in the little nook for while he was away. He emerged in the camouflaged pile of rocks and I-beams the covered a large portion of his domain, and made straight-way for the theater. On his way there he saw smoke rising in great plumes to the left, and feared an attack, spurring him to run to the theater ever faster, leaping from rock to rock with complete immunity to the hard landings.
He scrambled up the vertical surface that had once been the back wall of his amphitheater, back when Caesar had commissioned it a few thousand years ago, and dropped down into the highest row of seats.
And there she was.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Caesar the Troll Part 3

Somebody out there voted for more from Caesar the Troll... and to prove to you that voting early and often has its benefits, I will oblige! Besides... I like writing about the king of the rocks...

The walls of the amphitheater would ring with his tremolo notes, and at the end of his song he would take a deep bow, then begin banging two small rocks together. He had discovered that doing this caused a sound to echo off the stones around his palace which sounded just like clapping to his mind. Sometimes he would oblige his loyal subjects with an encore, but rarely would he sing more than once. If the renegades were feeling particularly cruel, they would attempt to ambush him in his theater if they heard him singing the song that annoyed them more than anything else in the city.
When night fell, the king would descend down to his chambers, the ancient catacombs of the city. The catacombs had been used by religious radicals of the past, as well as a cemetery. A strange cult had met down in the tunnels for many years in the past, and left some markings of their dwelling. The king had discovered all the secret passages in his domain, and and in so doing had found many halls and chambers previously unknown, carved all over with the history of the city above.
The first chamber began with a description of the founding of the city, of how it's dwelling were spread over seven hills, and of its first kings. Eventually the kings began to fail at leadership, and a council of leaders had replaced them. Then the hall of the king.
They had called him emperor after a while, and changed his titles for a while here or there, but the histories clearly revealed that Caesar had ruled this city for nearly five hundred years. Then Caesar disappeared for a while. Then came another hall, the hall of the war.
In an entirely different hand was carved across the whole wall of the chamber, which was somewhat bigger and more roughly hewn, the story of the war that had ended all cities. The history was somewhat dry for while, writing about the destruction of New York, London, Tokyo, Milwaukee, Lisbon, Madrid, Johannesburg, Cairo, Beijing, Sydney. The last one to fall had been San Antonio, protected by valiant Texans, something like the Amazons of when Caesar had first reigned. Then there was the hall of the revolt.
After all the cities had been destroyed, no one really knew who was in control, and mass carnage ensued. Someone began bombing the last ruins of the city in which the troll-king now lived. Pretty much every place was bombed, whether someone was living there or not. There was something about aliens invading, too, and about a great ice age, a volcano or seven bursting, and other nondescript details of carnage. Then he returned.
The next hall, carved in a very rough hand detailed the return of the king. Caesar had come back to his city, and found the tunnels, and sang in the theater. All his people flocked to him, and they lived in the rubble and in the catacombs. And Caesar was the king of the rocks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sneak Peek 2

Since I happen to be in a rather happy mood, I thought I would share with you one more of the Phil/Guard routines...but after that I want to keep them secret so that you can enjoy them fresh once filming is done sometime this summer. This is one of my personal favorites, originally written for different characters in a certain fanfic I plan on writing...
In this one, Phil is in his cell, tormenting his guard, as usual.

(Phil is invisible behind cell wall.. repeatedly flushing a toilet)
(With each flush sound Guard’s face changes) Normal > curious > whacked > horrified >disgusted
[Guard stands up]: What is going on in there?!
Phil [doesn’t become visible]: BAHAHA! Your water bill is going to go SKY HIGH!

Caesar The Troll Part 2

After any of the horrific torture experiences, the king would fall into despondence, and into a particularly less sane mind. Like many little children, he had many imaginary friends. Some were purely imaginary, such as Marcus, his friend who could bring peace to any place, but others were more rooted in reality. His parents were one such set of friends; he often imagined them. And like many little children, he imagined that he could sing.
The king was not nearly as bad at singing as his cracked mind and bent frame might have suggested. Indeed in singing he seemed almost man-like again. Whenever he was sad or hurting, when the burns were particularly bad, he would crawl, leap, and run his way to the theater, the one place above ground that he bothered to claim as his own.
It was an ancient stone theater, build multiple thousands of years ago, capable of seating thousands. The monarch would climb over rubble and smash through rusty metal to clamber is way in, then instantly changing his composure he would become as one of the singers of old, stately, handsome, and upright. He would climb onto the stage, and look out to his imaginary audience, which filled every row but the first. His parents always sat to the left on a high row; they had always been late to things, and never got good seats. Marcus sat in the dead center, on the fourth row. Marcus liked to look down a little onto the stage, and always said the song reached him best right there. Every seat was filled with an adoring friend...
in the king's mind.
Now, if any other living soul had seen the performance, they would have been reminded of the story of the king without clothes. This king sang and sang, with very little for clothes and even less for audience. His song lasted nearly two minutes and a half, depending on how long he held the high notes, and had very little meaning to anyone but himself. Whenever he was sad or hurting, he would sing that song, and as long as the sang, he would not feel any pain.
His song sounded something very much like this one: The Trolling Song.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sneak Peek at The Great EGO

I thought I would share with ya'll some of the routines and gags out of my upcoming film, The Great EGO. In this movie, Jack and Patch the Pirates (who are identical, by the way) must set out to save Christmas, and to save their friend Phil from the clutches of the sinister organization called "EGO." This little routine comes out of a section where Phil is in prison guarded by EGO's Captain-of-the-Guard.

Phil: Hey guard, wanna let me out?
Captain of the Guard: No!
Phil: Hey guard, PLEEase let me out?
Captain of the Guard: no
Phil: Well that’s just rude!
Captain of the Guard: Oh, you’re killing me
Phil (brings out notepad, writing): 50 Percent progress

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Caesar the Troll

"The Song of the Troll"

The old, greyish, bluish, traces of greenish, thing lumbered around his playground. Old stone ruins, I-beams lying across rubbish, such was the domain of the sole survivor of the war in this ancient city.
Caesar, king of the...
The king had once been a very recognizable human being, a normal young man. Then the war had come. That war had wiped out all but a few of the human habitations once called "cities." During this new era of re-population, the concept of a city had died, and thus it is a purely historical term to describe a population center. In this era, a city meant a pile of rubble, waiting to be reclaimed and recycled.
The war had left poison all over the earth, a slow-acting poison that what scraps of science books remained called "radiation." It had a rather quick half-life, resulting in an intense burst of lethal radiation upon detonation of the old bombs, but anything that survived would have little reason to die thereafter. Such was the king.
Tumors had grown all over his body, his nervous and endocrine systems being now forever out of balance. He now looked more like a troll out of ancient folklore or old movies than a king, certainly more like such than like a man. His head was now roughly spherical, depending on how you counted the lumps and dents, his chin enlarged, and his teeth grown large and flat.
But he was still king. His domain stretched from the tunnels to the theater, with all the land between. Of course, the borders were somewhat arbitrary, bounded mostly by his reclusive personality, and only somewhat by the brigands.
Certain of the warriors who had prosecuted the nuclear conflict in the past had survived and kept their weapons. Favored for their ability to roast unprepared humans, the weapon of choice was a gun which spouted an intense beam of highly charged ions, delivering heat and shock to the target at once. The king hated those. They hurt so badly, but he never died of them. The excess tumors over his skin prevented the damage from reaching his vitals.
The renegades that still ran about with their guns loved to torment the monarch. If the day was ending and there was still charge in their guns, they would take a few shots at the king if they could. Whenever he was hit he would freeze-up and convulse, or else just cower in a corner whimpering at the pain. His mind had never grown much past that of a child, his development in that regard being arrested by the war.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Ideas Hanging All Over

This time I am neither going to apologize for nor explain the reasons for my weekend absence from my own blog, nor am I going to admit to having missed Mark's comments until days after he posted them. Maybe I should check my Gmail more often.
Somewhere deep in one of my last posts I breathed a little rumor about a new project... now I am going to breathe a little more rumor about another one. Who wants to hear "The Song of the Troll" or maybe some of the routines out of "The Great Ego?"
I hear my family eating breakfast, so I had best go join them. I will edit this post later to include something neat... especially if someone comments quick and tells me what they want to read.
(not hinting too hard there, am I?)

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Post I Hoped Would Be Up Last Night

I hoped that this post would go up last night... but alas the summer laziness set in during the day. I will now provide the other half of the new version of that scene.
It is an interesting fact that every time I write something new, it is much longer in word length than the old version, and yet, at least to me, much more gripping. Guess it goes to show how much you learn in five years... or more like 4 years and 362 days or so, counting two  leap days in there. I should give an award to whoever  can guess from that information what day I started writing my novel. Hmm... what award to give though. I know! If you can figure it out with just that math (or any other sources you can find) you get to pick any topic at all for my next post! Really! Doesn't even have to be anything at all about my blog or my novel. If you want me to review your blog or some other thing I've read I can do that too.
Anyhow... the other half:

Achpollo opened his mouth to ask just how this plant was to be served today. Terin had shared it a few times before, but always used it in a different way. Before Achpollo’s question could be voiced though, another voice shafted straight through the walls. It was a terribly cry, not intelligible to Drune or Laven, though Laven knew its meaning, and fairly confusing to Terin.
Laven was more irritated than confused, and Reiyen looked close to scared. Laven spoke, “Yes… they worship openly now. They make sacrifices all the time, always preceded by those ugly yells. I do not watch the festivities, nor get involved. It’s not safe around those brutes.”
Conversation and meal continued, with the hairs of apprehension standing up on Reiyen’s back. Terin and Drune sat in perfect peace, the kind of peace that only ignorance could bring. Terin began spreading the fruit jelly over the bread, the most common application.
Achpollo remarked, “The fruit is not so sweet as others you have shared.”
Terin explained, “The larger the fruit, the less sweet the juice. I have very few of the small fruits. They don’t keep as well and bruise more easily.” Another cry rang out, somewhat closer.
“They are moving toward the temple,” muttered Laven. She then continued, “All pleasantries aside, Reiyen, what is the state of things? Will there be war soon? Have you found our last best hope?”
Reiyen grimaced and said, “Yes, no longer can the war be stalled or staid. Nastar’s war furnace has reached its melting heat; we can no longer delay him. War is upon us.” But then he smiled and said, “But as to our greatest hope, indeed, that mission proved good.”
Another cry, about the same distance but a different direction.
Laven leaned in and stared straight into Reiyen’s face, “So who among the resistance knows? When do we strike?”
Reiyen grimaced again, and then turned to his friends from Tomfie. “Terin, Drune, it is time now for you to understand the full nature of our mission. You’ve come far enough with only a superficial understanding, and no doubt you’ve heard some of my whisperings with others, but now I’ll lay it plain to you.
“A matter of months ago, my colleagues from around the worlds, known simply as the resistance, attempted to overthrow Nastar’s empire, or at least to shake his grasp and distract him from our homeland here in the South for a while. Instead, our rebellion was crushed, and we only drew Nastar’s anger higher. He wiped out most of the resistance in Terin’s Green World, all of it in the North of this world.
“He then massed the troops he had used to quell the rebellion in the North. The news we just heard today is that they have begun preparations for their arrival here with their advance teams and spies. I have friends between here and the North that have been staying that process, but even still the enemy will come in power too great to resist.
“So we move for assassination. By secret plans that I should not yet divulge, I believe we may be able to strike against Nastar’s command corps, and at least delay the attack for months, giving us more time to ready ourselves. On our way North we will continue to organize resistance and whatever troops we can muster, in hopes that they…”
All at once the cries burst out all around the house. Reiyen’s audience had been too absorbed to hear the approach. Laven began to cry out, but Achpollo leapt, astonishingly nimbly, over the table, cupping his hand over her mouth. Reiyen called his staff over from the door, sailing through the air. Laven, having recovered her composure, seized the wrists of Drune and Terin and thrust them toward the stairs in the back of the room.
“Go up to the upper room. There is a ladder in two pieces. Put it together and make a bridge over to the building across the street.”
Achpollo followed over as Terin and Drune ran up the stairs, “They’ve surrounded the place. There will be no escape that way.” A heavy object collided with the door, the bar cracking but not giving way.
Reiyen heaved the table against the door, and then the stools that had sat around it. Laven ran over to the door and screamed through it, “What’s the big idea? I’ve given you all you’ve asked!”
A scratchy voice called back, “Give us your guests, traitoress, and maybe you will be preserved!”
“My guests are my own. Perhaps if you cultists were more likable, you’d have some of your own!”
The high scratchy voice began to respond, but its response was cut off with a slap. A deep smooth voice rolled in through the door like a boulder, “Laven, give up your game. Either leave the city and leave your guests behind, or the whole thing goes to fire with all your bodies inside.”
Laven responded, “Ah, Mythron dared to come out of his headquarters. Does Nastar’s puppet only come out to face-off with those who run inns and hunt deer?”
The top half of the door tore open as a heavy rock flew through it. Instantly a few of the more nimble attackers leapt through the opening. Their endurance was put to the test immediately as Reiyen’s staff swatted them each before they landed. Wood axes followed behind them as the more bulky attackers came through the door, and started hewing the walls. Reiyen had no choice.
Darkness filled the room and the immediate surroundings instantly. Reiyen’s staff glowed, casting an aura of light onto his face. “Be gone! You love darkness not so much as you think, for true darkness burns.” The whole neighborhood plunged into blackness. Reiyen struck his opponents again. As they fell senseless shocks of light began budding on his staff, then bursting off. They leapt straight for those surrounding the building, making humming noises as they moved and cracklings as they struck.
As the yelps of his enemies became less frequent and quieter for distance, Reiyen allowed the darkness to lift. Laven had scarcely moved, but her face showed no fear. “Violence Reiyen, it follows wherever you go.”
Reiyen murmured, “That or I come just in time to turn the violence away from the innocent.” Laven said nothing. Reiyen bellowed, “Terin! Get down to this floor straightway!”
No answer came from the upper level. Reiyen’s right eyebrow lowered in confusion, but Laven tossed her hair, “Wizards may live long, but their memories seem not to last as their bodies. I told them to escape, and so it seems they have. The two of us will have to find a way out for ourselves. But that shouldn’t be such a terrible thing, we’ve confused enough cultists and demon-allies in our time, haven’t we, Reiyen?”
“I’d estimate we’ve duped every Nastar worshipper between here and the great canyon at least twice.”
“Twice? Only twice?”
“There are more of them then you seem to know. But I think that’s enough chatter.”
Laven’s smile faded, “It’s probably the last time we’ll ever speak together. I say we chat all we can.”
Laven never could tell if Reiyen’s mouth moved up or down behind the mask of beard. He responded, “We have more important business to attend to than chatter. Let’s make the last hours of our team count. First, we must destroy any papers that would put any other laborers for our cause in danger. Next, we need to plan our escape. You get to the first and I’ll get to the second.”
With that Reiyen sat back down on a stool by the table, reached into his pocket, and withdrew a little wooden case from deep inside. He opened it and popped a small bit of the stuff into his mouth. He sat still chewing industriously on the gummy stuff, his usual way of thinking.
Laven scarcely bothered a strange look at him; she’d seen the gum before, but his demeanor was very odd. Little more that could happen that day would be stranger than the events she had just seen. She went straight for a floor board, lifted it up, sifted through the papers, and withdrew every other one. She had cleverly arranged them such that only each of those had anything true on them, the rest were lies, sometimes even contradictory with the rest.
Then she walked over to her fireplace and threw the true papers in. She stole a glance at Reiyen, who sat leaning as far back as he could on his stool (as children are often remonstrated not to do), chewing in spurts. He was snoring as though asleep, but his eyes belied that idea. Then he coughed a little, barely catching his gum with his teeth, lest it should fly across the room.
Immediately after regaining his composure from the near accident, he spoke up, “I suppose they’ll be back again at night. They’ll bring priests, or whatever the designation is for the resident creeps that they follow, and expect my craft to be weaker because of the nighttime, that’s how their superstition works. And they might be right; I won’t be able to summon a spell of that strength again for a long time.
“I imagine we must also take care to get the resistors out of the city as well, the violence will begin as soon as they are done with us, but affecting that would me much harder. Do you have anyway of contacting them? We could suggest a break-out of the city while they are busy with us?”
Laven looked back with an annoyed, sarcastic expression on her face, “Oh yes, we do hand-signals, mirror signals, flags, and pigeons. Most of all, though, we do smoke signals. A little smoke means that I managed to buy off the enemies and they didn’t burn down the whole place. A lot of smoke means they did burn down the whole place.”
Reiyen did not bother to be offended by the words or the tone. He knew Laven was a spirited lady; that is why she had survived so long in the city where few could, much less accomplish as much as she. She’d been the source of half of Reiyen’s information for nearly a decade. He muttered, “Well, if they know what a lot of smoke means then they should know to run, but it will take a few minutes for the smoke to accumulate… Let’s light the place on fire right now.”
Laven ignored him, but also got back to business, “They will not leave their city, the only great city of men.”
Reiyen smiled, “They will be coming back. They will come back when they have a king again. The leaves won’t fall twice before we have one of the old blood upon the throne again.”
Laven went white, then red with joy, “You mean that one is the one we’ve waited for so long?”
“Waited? There was no waiting; we’ve been working to find him for a long time. Had to travel by the fires to get him, and then only just in time. But enough of that, especially if either of us is caught, we don’t need the whole hope going to the Deep Island.” By this Reiyen referred to the abode of Nastar, the Shadow Realm.
Laven recalled back the principal topic, their escape, “There’s always the sewer, that’s been done by heroes and crooks alike for ages and in all the tales.”
Reiyen looked back, “Sewers and wizard robes don’t mix well. Aside from that difficulty, sewers and large amounts of fugitives don’t work well together - much too messy, with filth and blood. Still, my robes might be willing to sacrifice for a while, far enough to get us away from this neighborhood. I suppose you and the rebels have a tunnel system that works with them?”
“I don’t know if we do or not, that’s always been old Ulaag’s business. He just told me, ‘Ever need escape, use sewer. Watch sign dripping compass. Take you to safe.’” That was how the oldest agent in Okthin had always spoken. “I don’t know if that means a safe-house or out of the city.”
“If it’s out of the city that’s bad news. Mythron will be guarding any sewer exits out of the city. If it is to a safe-house, or to any other part of the city than this one, that’ll do.” Reiyen began picking through their various packs, taking the things they couldn’t afford to leave: Drune’s sturdy knife, Achpollo’s and his papers, his gum, and the best of Terin’s fruits.
“There’s no knowing ‘til we’re in there. Ulaag knew just how little to tell each of us. Not until it became impossible to keep loyalty to the White Cross secret did I know that there were even this many of us.”
“Then let us be off. Lurking in this mess is of no good to us. To the cellar let us go.” And with that Reiyen took the last valuable thing from off the table: the mug of blue jam, from which he promptly took a gulp.

We still haven't really got the whole posse out of Okthin in both of these scenes... but I think you get the idea. My style changed a ton over the past few years, especially with the weight of my description. I almost hesitate to ask.... but which do you like more?