Stories and Fantasies
May 26, 2021 at 6:15 pm #134464Joelle Stone@joelle-stone
Hey, welcome! And Story Embers is a GREAT first writing forum. 😉 Let me know if you need anything, and we’re so glad to have you with us!! 😀
"For love is strong as death." -GodMay 26, 2021 at 6:26 pm #134465May 26, 2021 at 7:32 pm #134466
The weather was damp, and for the hundredth time, Kaleiva wondered if it was so eternally. She pulled her already-slick oilskin cloak tighter about her thin frame, listening to the sound of pattering rain on her hood as she watched the water pour off her body in rivulets onto the ground.
It was only a distraction from her nerves.
What if she doesn’t listen? What if she doesn’t train me because I’m too young? What if she doesn’t understand my reasons, or worse — doesn’t like them?
Grandmother Nurys saw the look of nervous apprehension on her granddaughter’s face, and rested her hand on her shoulder. “You’ll be fine, Kaleiva. And if Captain Euran won’t train you, I’m sure that there are others who would — gladly.”
Kaleiva forced a smile, and looked up at her grandmother. “Thanks.” She took a deep breath, steeling herself as she stepped forward, knocking on the door.
The actual training center of M’irthen was on the very coast, just across the channel from the island of Shul, but here in K’arthen, the capital city of Mardem, was the one place where people could register for access to the training facility.
The knock sounded strangely echoey, and Kaleiva had to force herself not to flinch when the door opened.
A woman stood there, one hand resting on the doorframe. Her hair, so dark that it was impossible to tell if it was brown or black, hung down just past her shoulders in a small collection of braids, and she wore a clean white dress made of linen, embroidered with lilac flowers at the ends of the sleeves. Her eyes, like those of most Marvs, were dark.
She appraised the sight of the little girl and the old woman in silence, her face all but emotionless. When she at last spoke, it was in a dull, flat tone. “What do you want?”
Kaleiva steeled herself. “I’m here to see Captain Neila Euran,” she said, half-fidgeting with the hem of her oilskin.
“And what do you want with the Captain?” the woman responded, her tone switching from emotionlessness to suspicion.
Kaleiva met her gaze evenly, forcing her nerves into a corner of her mind. “I’m here,” she repeated, “to see Captain Neila Euran. I need to speak with her. About training.”
The woman raised one eyebrow, and appraised the girl. “You’re too young,” she said at last. “You cannot enter.” She glanced at Grandmother Nurys. “And she’s too old.”
“Nera!” shouted a sharp voice from further inside the building. “Nera, step aside. Let them in.”
“Captain Euran!” Nera stepped aside hurriedly, muttering a quick apology to Kaleiva and Grandmother Nurys.
Kaleiva hurried inside, pausing to remove her oilskin and shake the rainwater off of it before continuing on within. Her grandmother followed her quickly, doing the same.
A tall, lean woman stepped out of an adjacent room, her hair pulled back into a low-hanging ponytail that flowed down between her shoulders. Her skin was rather paler than that of most Marvs, only slightly lighter than Kaleiva’s. She wore a tunic with a kind of skirt at the end that reached partway to her knees, and leggings beneath that. Her leather boots had silver buckles, and the sides were tall enough to cover most of her shins. A pair of laced wristguards made of a rich-toned leather covered her forearms.
The Captain motioned to Kaleiva and Grandmother Nurys to follow her, then stepped back into the room where she had been. It was large, made of dark polished wood with a stone hearth at one end, inside of which a fire crackled, and around which were positioned several polished wooden articles of cushioned furniture.
It was over to that end of the room that they went, and the Captain sat at one of the chairs, then motioned to her guests to be seated as well.
She leaned back in her chair, locking eyes with Grandmother Nurys. “Might I ask why you are here?”
Grandmother Nurys only nodded toward her granddaughter. Captain Euran raised an eyebrow, and looked at the girl.
“I am here,” Kaleiva answered after a moment, “because I want to be trained as a shieldmaiden, Captain.”
Captain Euran raised an eyebrow, waiting a moment to see if the girl was joking. When she realized that she wasn’t, she let out a quiet sigh and locked eyes with the girl. “You do realize that you’re underage, right?”
“I do,” Kaleiva replied evenly, standing. “But I still want to fight with the Duallies in Mardem’s shieldmaiden division, preferably under your command.”
“And why, might I ask?” responded Captain Euran, standing as well. “Why is this so urgent that it cannot wait another few years?”
Kaleiva had anticipated that question. “Three reasons. Firstly — it is, Captain, a well-known fact that the Triforces and the Duallies are poised on the brink of all-out war. It’s only a matter of time until the fighting breaks out for real. Mardem’s army needs all the warriors it can get; therefore, beginning training as soon as possible would result in a warrior sooner than otherwise. Secondly — if I wait until I am considered old enough to begin training, I risk all of the captains being out in the field by then, with none being available to train me.”
“That is. . . interesting logic,” Captain Euran admitted, then paused. “What is the third reason?”
Kaleiva took a deep breath as the fire faded from her eyes. Why, why did I state three reasons? But, nevertheless, she answered truthfully. “The Duallies are raiding the defenceless villages of the Triforce kingdoms. People are dying, Captain. Dying, and being carried away by the enemy.” She closed her eyes, and felt Grandmother take her hand. After she’d managed to steady herself, to force approaching memories from her mind, she opened her eyes and continued. “My village was destroyed mere days ago, Captain. I watched my twin brother taken, perhaps killed. I barely managed to get my half-dead little sister to my grandmother’s. I will not — cannot — allow the same thing to happen to anyone else. But the only way I can make a difference, the only way that I can in any way protect defenceless peasant children, is with training.”
Captain Euran was silent, searching the girl’s eyes. All she found there was sincerity, and truthfulness. This was the child’s real reason. The heart of her motivation.
“What is your name, child?” Captain Euran asked quietly.
“Kaleiva Maverlock,” Kaleiva answered, even more softly. All of her cards were out on the table. All she could do now was wait, and hope. She had no more tricks up her sleeve.
What Captain Euran said next made her hardly believe her good fortune, if indeed fortune was what it was.
“Very well, Kaleiva. I shall train you.”
Od i lith naur echuidathar, calad od iñ gwaith twuiatha; megil i rangen cyrathar, alrin aran adolatha.May 27, 2021 at 6:47 pm #134489
Argh, that chapter was supposed to be labeled Chapter 6! Sorry about that, guys!
Od i lith naur echuidathar, calad od iñ gwaith twuiatha; megil i rangen cyrathar, alrin aran adolatha.May 28, 2021 at 1:20 pm #134492
The Queen leaned back in her majestic throne and smiled regally. “I must say Mayra – you remind me a lot about myself when I was your age.”
This comment caught me off guard. My eyes met hers again, shifting ever so slightly in my seat in order to face her throne a bit more. “I – I do?”
“Oh yes,” her voice lowered. “Many years ago, I was a fiery and passionate girl. Yet so naïve too. I was so confused about the world. Society, politics, the games we had to play. It was all new to me. I made decisions that were highly unwise. I was a bit of a wild card. But I learned, that sometimes in order for my people to work together, sacrifices must be made. My sisters and I – oh we were like ice and fire. Always trying to best each other. But we surpassed our obstacles, left our grief behind and fought for that chance at a future. A future where we could live with all living creatures in peace. And now, it is finally possible. With your power – oh we could achieve such wonderful things.”
“Is it possible – to get rid of this power?” I asked carefully. “Give it to – someone who actually – wants it?”
Her cold eyes napped to mine and regarded me curiously. “Get rid of it? You do not wish to keep your gift?”
I felt so very small beneath her gaze. “I – cannot use it,” I explained quietly. “I’m – not Aos Sí like you. I’m human.”
She was silent for several moments. “Well – yes. I believe it could be arranged.” Her eyes glinted. “I don’t see why not. But – if it works, then it would mean that all of your power will be taken away.” She raised a perfectly groomed eyebrow, a far cry from my own. “Are you willing to pay that price?”
“Yes,” I agreed. My heart leapt with excitement. Finally, finally someone has given me some semblance of hope. “You can have it, yes. I – don’t want this burden.”
“Good.” She smiled sweetly. “Well then. You don’t have to worry, we will take care of you child. All you need to do is co-operate with me. I might be a Queen of many nations, but I care about each of my subjects. I want what’s best for you, dear Mayra.”
A cold feeling slithered down my spine. But I held her gaze and nodded in agreement.
“Very good.” Her expression was bright. Even a little – hungry. “Oh, how wonderful this is. This is certainly even better than I had hoped for.”
She let out a long breath, her red eyes glittering. “With your help, I could restore brotherhood and peace to this world. Imagine Mayra. An Earth without bloodshed. Famine. Suffering. War. It will be the new Tír na nÓg. A Paradise.”
“And I – will get passage to – Buenos Aires? In exchange?”
She looked at me blankly for a moment. “Oh yes,” she answered, smiling and showing all her teeth. “Yes of course. You will get to go wherever you desire my dear.”
That brief moment when she hesitated and then covered it up. It shouldn’t have bothered me at all. But – it did.
“So, do we understand one another, child?” the Queen leaned forwards, her eyes solemn and open as she looked directly at my face. But her cool smile was devoid of any emotion. “I want you to feel that you can count on me, dear, as I can count on you. This is a harsh world for women, especially those who have been blessed with power almost too much for us to handle.”
She sighed dramatically, staring out at shining window. “Every day I wonder if a member of my own cabinet is going to turn against me. It is so difficult being High Queen, as you can imagine.”
My eyes fell on the utter luxury in this chamber. White marble floors, carved pillars with images of battles wrapped around them, velvet couches with silver brocades, glittering chandeliers, golden goblets, delicious food at the snap of a finger. Not to mention her towering throne, carved from a chunk of black diamonds. One silver platter was enough to feed a large family for at least two years. Oh yes. I could very well imagine just how hard this lifestyle of hers was.
She sipped from her wine, set it onto the table and leaned towards me, her crown glimmering in the dim lighting. Her heavily perfumed scent filled my nostrils, almost overwhelming me. “Mayra. You must know how important this is. I’m going to need someone with your resilience and eagerness to help me to help me to end this conflict with your people. And establish real peace. I feel as though we could become very good friends – if you allow me into your heart my dear.”
With that she reached out and grasped my hands, holding them prisoner in her own. Her fingers felt like icicles. No – like skeleton hands. Her touch spread a feeling of death and despair into my very soul. I felt the urge to pull away and run as far away as possible from this – being. But I resisted, forcing myself to widen my eyes a little as if curiously innocent.
She stroked my hands in a way that was meant to be reassuring, and leaned in to whisper. “But for that to happen, we’re going to have to show a little bit of trust for each other, don’t you think Mayra? I’m here to help you. I am not your enemy. You can trust me with anything. Including your own safety.”
I kept my face neutral, even as something roiled inside of me. She was addressing me in a compassionate open manner that seemed genuine on the outside. But all it took was one look in her emotionless, icy gaze for me to sense the entire shadiness of this situation. But I gave her a small smile and nodded.
She squeezed my hands in a sincere manner. “I know it’s not easy, dear, placing your trust on a complete stranger like me. But overtime, I truly believe that we could become loyal comrades. We live in a dangerous time, packed with false identities and concealed names, ruthless rebels and mysterious forces. No one can be trusted. Not really.” She stretched her thin lips into a reptilian like smile. “But – it would be nice for me to know whether or not I have gained your full trust, Mayra, as likeminded as we are.”
I didn’t trust her. Not for one second, not when I felt a strong instinct as though I was being led straight into the mouth of a Venus Flytrap. But I managed a polite smile. “Of course.”June 2, 2021 at 5:39 pm #134678
*adds your story to the list of those that I’m tracking* *is very very interested*
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Rebekah12. Reason: I misspelled "interested" XD
Od i lith naur echuidathar, calad od iñ gwaith twuiatha; megil i rangen cyrathar, alrin aran adolatha.June 2, 2021 at 6:21 pm #134682July 6, 2021 at 7:11 pm #135693
Did this thing just. . . die? Or is that just me?
Culvin ran. He didn’t think about the trouble he would surely be in, and he certainly didn’t think about what his punishment would be. He only ran. He had to know. He just had to. If there was even the smallest chance that they were here, and alive. . .
Culvin burst into the Uldorian Captain’s tent, and said Captain looked up from his maps. Culvin was almost immediately tackled from behind by guards.
The Captain rolled his eyes. “Get him out of my sight.”
Culvin fought to stay in the tent. “No! Please! Sir, I have to know if my family is here!”
The Captain’s eyes softened a little, and he motioned for the guards to let go and step back, then moved some papers aside. “Name.”
“Culvin Maverlock,” the boy answered.
The Captain’s eyes scanned the list in silence for about a minute, then he looked up. “There is no other on this list by the name of Maverlock.”
Culvin’s heart slammed to a startled stop in his chest. They couldn’t be dead. . . right? How. . .
He forced himself back into reality, realizing that the Captain was staring right at him, waiting for a response.
“I. . . I thank you for your help, sir,” he said softly, after a moment’s hesitation, “though that was not the answer I was hoping for.”
He didn’t fight the guards as they led him out of the tent.
The Captain moved his papers back into place, and looked at a man standing at one end of the table. “You were saying, Janxor?”
“Captain Terinor,” Janxor said, frowning, and pulling out the list again, “look.” He pointed to three names grouped together. “There are others by that family name — there is a Mendia, a Kaldir, and a Jendar.”
“Janxor,” the Captain said, “it is for the best that the boy does not know.” He looked up, and sighed at the look on Janxor’s face. “He is young, and it is only a few more years until he reaches the working age. He would know they are alive, only to be seperated from them once more as soon as we reach Chivall. Mendia and Kaldir are young, and must remain with their father, and besides, all those of their age that can be brought have already been chosen to go to Uldor. You know as well as I that, if a young one of their age from the boy’s family was sent with him for any reason, said young one likely wouldn’t survive the trek, and the coast is too rocky for ships to be an option. And even that is beside the point, for Head Gryphonrider Alvcum of Chivall has already claimed them as his own.” He paused when Janxor looked down. “I know you do not agree with me, Janxor, but please, do not question me.”
After a moment, Janxor nodded reluctantly. “Have it your way, Captain. I will not.”
A month and a half later. . .
The Uldorian capital of Jacsuv was ahead, just over the next rise, and Culvin wasn’t sure if he was excited or more terrified than he had been for weeks. He shivered, almost wondering how he’d lost track of the days. First, there had been a five-day trek from the remains of his village to Jumpoff Point, the one part of the rocky Marv coastline where ships could land, then a two-week voyage to the opposite side of the Karon Sea, where the five ships put in at the bustling Port Jacksohor in Chivall. During the week that they remained there, most of the youngest prisoners, along with some of the working age, were left there, and the rest spent the next three weeks trekking through the mountains surrounding the kingdom of Uldor. Culvin had spent all of that time wondering what fate awaited him, whether prison, or servitude, or some other such thing, and now that he was finally about to find out, he wasn’t sure that he even wanted to know.
It was all Culvin could do to keep from stumbling, and his feet were sore from day after day of endless traveling. He blinked, and forced himself to continue. It won’t last much longer. You can handle a few more steps. You know you can. He took a deep breath, continually telling himself that he could go on for another minute, then counting down the seconds. Pain flared up his feet and legs.
The prisoners around him walked with bowed heads, just as exhausted as he was. Then, almost before he knew it, he was at the top. Those in front of him turned to the left, rounding the side of the mountain. Culvin felt one of his feet slip on the loose ground at the edge of the worn path, and quickly jerked to his left, away from the steep fall, earning him annoyed looks from the prisoners in front of and behind him.
Culvin glanced to his right, then quickly looked straight ahead again. The ground fell away steeply beside him, creating a steep, rocky chasm between it and the neighboring mountain.
The walk continued on slowly, then, at last, Culvin rounded the side of the mountain. The land of Uldor went on as far as the eye could see, and, directly in front of them, there lay a city, shining silver in the sun. He felt his jaw fall slightly ajar in amazement at its beauty, for surely no city in Mardem could possibly match this place.
Culvin took a step forward, and felt a rush of air from high above. Something huge, and black swooped into the chasm between the mountains, mere feet from him, enormous wings tucked. A wyvern, he realized with amazement.
These huge, flame-breathed creatures made their homes in the mountains of Uldor, and they were sleek, built in every way for speed, making them the ideal mount of the fearsome Knights of the Order of Urs’gathon, or Ember-stone.
The wyvern launched upwards once more, and this time, Culvin saw an Uldorian boy, hardly older than he, was seated upon its back.
“Come on, Fyre, come on, boy!” the boy urged as the wyvern surged still higher into the sky.
Culvin craned his head back to see the two better, and as he did so, he saw, high above him, two more wyverns, both with grown men seated upon their backs. One of the creatures was a sharp bloodred in color, and the other was a deep blue.
One of the men laughed, just loud enough for Culvin to somewhat hear him, and said something about the boy being “awed with the sky”.
Culvin looked ahead again, watching where he stepped, and his mind wandering once more to his predicament.
When, at last, the prisoners descended down into Jacsuv, Culvin was more exhausted and sore than he would have thought possible. But then again, he’d thought that often over the last week or two. But despite his fear and fatigue, he somehow couldn’t help being interested in his surroundings. The streets were nearly empty, and those that did walk them were mothers and fathers, the former ones often either with babies or hand-in-hand with their elder children, and the latter ones with young children, five at most, sitting upon their shoulders. Most of them moved at a trot, heading. . . somewhere — Culvin wasn’t sure where.
The Uldorian soldiers ushered the prisoners quickly through the city, leading them by way of side roads and alleyways. Culvin’s eyes roamed his surroundings, then the sky. The sun shone overhead, but nowhere near as brightly as it had in Mardem. Then he heard the sound of loud cheers. He blinked, confused, then realized that they were on the main road now. It was lined with rows upon rows of Uldorians, some of the women throwing flowers. All of them were cheering.
Cheering the raiders.
Culvin closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he moved. When he opened them again, he straightened, and holding his head high, he looked directly ahead, ignoring the noise. After a few minutes, he let his eyes rove the crowds on either side of the road, and he quickly spotted, far ahead, the Knights he’d seen — at least, he assumed that they were the same Knights — their wyverns crouched behind them. They were, all three of them, silent.
As Culvin drew nearer, he saw that the men wore swords at their sides and shields upon their backs, and though the boy wore no such things, it was clear that he could hold his own in a fight. His wyvern straightened, lifting its head to sniff the breeze. Its black scales glinted in the sun’s warm rays, with a few flecks of a deep bluish-purple, and its eyes glinted like amethysts.
Culvin inhaled and exhaled deeply, and looked straight ahead again.
The prisoners continued down the road, reaching at last the city center, where they were gathered into a crowd. The Uldorian Captain sat down at a nearby stone table, over which was erected a canopy to block the sun’s hot rays, and then laid out several papers across its surface. One by one, men from the crowd of citizens approached, signing one or another of the papers, and then leaving. Every time a paper was signed, the Captain set it aside.
Last of all, Culvin saw the men and boy, their wyverns striding leisurely a few steps behind them, approach the table. One signed the last paper, and the other leaned forward, saying, “And Captain Terinor, it’s the Palacegrand — remember that.”
The boy said nothing, only watched the Captain with a smile playing on his lips. As soon as the Captain had finished his transaction, he stood, and with a smile blossoming on his face, he stepped around the table. “Jaldur,” he said gently.
The boy glanced at the men he’d been with for permission, then when one of them nodded, his smile grew wide, and he half-ran, half-leapt into Captain Terinor’s arms. “Father!”
They stood together like that for several minutes, then the Captain stepped back, and bent down to his son’s level. “Jaldur,” he said, then paused, and his eyes flicked over to Culvin. The rest of his sentence Culvin couldn’t hear, but he sensed that it concerned him in some way or manner. The boy nodded his affirmation, and the Captain seemed to relax.
Then Jaldur returned to the men he’d arrived with, and they left together.
Culvin closed his eyes, and inhaled and exhaled several times, trying to keep his mind from his nerves. Unsure of what was going on, he didn’t know what to think or how to feel. He took a deep breath to steady himself. Calm down. Frazzled nerves won’t do you any good. Just calm down. Calm. Down.
By the time he’d opened his eyes again, the Uldorian crowd had dissipated, with almost no one in sight.
Then the Captain gave orders to several of his men, who, in turn, exchanged the Marvs’ connected chains for shorter lengths, separating the prisoners into different groups. Then he carefully checked each group, putting check marks on a piece of paper. Culvin’s group was last.
The Captain looked up from his paper, meeting Culvin’s eyes. Culvin fought the urge to turn his gaze downwards.
“Looks like it’s the Palacegrand for you, Maverlock,” he said, though not unkindly.
Culvin was perplexed as to why he had told him. He didn’t answer; only ran his tongue along the inside of his mouth, and swallowed hard. What’s. . . what’s the Palacegrand?November 8, 2021 at 12:44 pm #143494Skylarynn@skylarynn
It did kinda die, didn’t it?
At any rate, I’d say you might want to use pronouns a bit more? I didn’t read through the whole thing – it’s very long and I have a very small attention span (the joys of ADHD) – but I did read the first segment, and it seemed like you used Culvin’s first name an inordinate amount of times. I would recommend substituting a few with ‘the boy’ or ‘he/him/his’. Similarly, ‘the Captain’ also seems overused though not to the same extent – it’s probably fine, it’s just close to too frequent.
That’s my two cents at any rate.
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleNovember 8, 2021 at 2:03 pm #143498Denali Christianson@denali-christianson
Is this where cool people add their stories for critique? 😎
And can I join???😂
"The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -HaldirNovember 8, 2021 at 4:59 pm #143506Skylarynn@skylarynn
Yes, and yes.
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. HaleNovember 8, 2021 at 9:55 pm #143516
Yeah, apologies for the length. . . I was going through a phase where I thought my chapters were too short and needed to be longer XD
Too few pronouns? I remember thinking it was fine, but. . . *skims back through* Yeah, you’re right. There are way too few pronouns XD *cringe* Ah, the joys of rereading stuff you wrote a year ago 😂
Dunno when I’ll get around to fixing it though. . . I’ve decided to step away from this project, at least for the time being, and it’s probably gonna get scrapped and totally redone whenever I end up coming back. So. . . yeah. That’s. . . 😬November 9, 2021 at 1:05 pm #143527Denali Christianson@denali-christianson
Yay!!!! Gimme a week and I’ll be back with some chaptersssss!
"The light perceives the very heart of the darkness." -HaldirDecember 7, 2021 at 9:57 pm #145151Crazywriter@crazywriter
Here’s the first chapter of my WIP. Enjoy!
This is the story of a Great King, and a not so great king. One who is perfect, and one who is not. One king dressed in brilliant robes and august glory, the other in filthy rags. One at the mercy of the other.
Ah, but I get ahead of myself. How can I tell a tale, while starting in the middle of the story? So, I shall start my tale at the beginning.
The beginning was long, long ago, but not so long as you may think. The world was dark, the earth empty. Only one word described the state of the universe: Atrimüs. Chaos. Dark and violent chaos.
But suddenly, a single word spoken by the Great King, whom I have mentioned before, reversed this chaos.
Escaläs. Light. Not any sort of light either, but the beautiful kind, the kind that makes you fall on your knees in wonder, the kind that makes the miser sing, or the pompous man humble. The kind that brings joy to the humble heart, and sustenance for the weary. The kind of light that no matter where you are, it stays inside of you, and leads you on, no matter the darkness around you.
With Escaläs came life. Life, beautiful and abundant.
The centerpiece of this life was a man, named Estenrôs. Estenrôs was the to be the king over all the world, and ruler of the life the Great King had made. Estenrôs was to be regent over the earth, the representative of the Great King.
How quickly that golden age fell, however, as soon thereafter, Estenrôs was inflated with pride, and was deceived. He claimed equality with the Great King, challenging his power.
With a quick strike, the Great King humbled Estenrôs, and doomed his descendants to be exiled kings, ruling over a dark land, teeming with the spawn of evil, and to always desire to steal each other’s kingdoms.
And so we come the subject of our story. Generations down from Estenrôs, we meet his heir, the King Abner. Abner’s story shall be revealed over time; for now, let us delve into the tale.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Abner gazed at the dark sky above. Not a beam of light shone through. He smiled. Good. Light can be too…illuminating.
The dark provided security for Abner, as for everybody else. As well as security, it promised rain that would feed the crops, that would feed the people.
It wasn’t that Abner did enjoy light, it was just that the sun’s light was usually a little too harsh and burning.
Abner turned, cape swishing, and he made his way out of the balcony, and into a granite hall. The cold grey stone was originally a mountain, and Abner’s great-grandfather Dallin carved the great city of Dallinor into the stone.
Dallinor was the gem of the north, as was Abner’s kingdom, Arhon. All of the surrounding nations coveted his wealth, and that made Abner happy.
He stole into a great room, whose ceiling sloped inwards, until it stopped, allowing a round beam of the grey light from the sky in. This was Abner’s favorite room. He walked to a small pool of water in the exact center, and gently dipped his hands in the rose-colored liquid. After washing his hands, he dipped water into the bowl of his palm, and rubbed the water into his eyes. Reciting the chant he had been taught as a small boy, his voice echoed off the walls, barely audible.
“Etras eyrtu mesad metor.”
He looked up expectantly and smiled, watching the process he knew so well.
A mist rose from the pool, and rose into the air, up and up, until it vanished against the grey cloud. Suddenly, the cloud parted, and made way for a dark sky. Stars shone above, and were reflected off the pool. The room darkened, and the only light visible were the stars themselves.
Abner gazed upwards, spread his arms, and slowly turned round and round. With the room almost completely dark now, it seemed as though the stars were in the room with him, or rather that he was with them.
He twirled, his robe flitting around his figure, eyes ever upward, until slowly the effects wore off, and the room became light again, the sky grey as ever.
Though Abner was not fond of the sun’s light, deep inside of him, he craved light of some kind, and so he looked to the stars. The stars were the closest he came to light, without him having to be uncomfortable in a blazing, burning fire that the sun was.
He sighed, and slowly walked out of the room. For a short while the stars made him happy, but he always left dissatisfied.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Later that same evening, Abner sat in his luxurious room, watching the fire crack and pop in it’s place against the smooth, stone wall. He sat in a chair of fine mahogany, smoking a pipe, and stroking his chin.
He accepted a cup of hot coffee from a servant, who bowed and exited the room.
After supping with his mother, Diane, and his fiancé, Lorraine, he had come to his room to relax before bed. Nervous energy coursed through him, anticipating the next day. He was to hold his first war council as king.
He had received the throne three years prior when his father died of illness. The war councils were held every five years, and this year was the fifth year since the last. He had neither been to one before, nor did he expect what should happen, thus did the energy flow from his head to his toes, although the coffee greatly increased the aforementioned excitement. He sipped, and gazed at the fire, and for a long time he kept the pattern of sip and gaze, sip and gaze, until he had quite outworn the energy within him. He slowly placed the cup on a small table, and stood, stretched, and sleepily made his way to bed.
He fell asleep quickly, but it was not a restful sleep. Dreams came to him, and in his mind’s eye he saw a mountain. A great mountain. A mountain with a great light coming from the top.
Abner tried to climb the mountain, but to no avail, for it’s slope was slick with black grime. The light seemed infinitely far away, and he had not even made it up ten yards.
Suddenly, lightning came from the top of the mountain, and consumed him.
The fright of the vision caused him to wake, a cold sweat covering his body. He slowly calmed his breathing, and after some time chuckled, and thought to himself, Abner, you silly! Getting worked up at a dream? Get a hold of yourself!
He laid his head back on the pillow, and closed his eyes. But though he tried, sleep eluded him.
Finally he rolled out of bed, and he slipped on a thin jacket over his sleeping tunic. He walked out of his room, down the cold halls, never making a sound. Grey light seeping in from the windows caught his attention, and he curiously made his way out to the east balcony.
The clouds had parted, making way for the cold light of the moon. He gazed up at it, his body chilled by the cool breeze that slithered across the plains of Tiris.
Before he could think, a dark hood was at his right side, and he jumped. The figure pulled it’s hood back to reveal Jethro, the Royal Magi, the man whom the king went to in matters of wisdom, interpretations, and appeasing their god, Galrath.
“What do the skies say, Jethro?” Abner asked grimly, staring into the dark, cold hole that was space.
“The skies are veiled, mighty king. I know not what to make of it.” He paused, as if debating whether to speak further, then he continued.
“I sense a disturbance, however. The offerings to Galrath have been doubled, yet to no avail. The skies remain dark, yet the rain does not come. Perhaps it will before the season comes and goes, but who is to say? It is almost as if—” Here he stopped, and bowed his head.
Abner looked at him, a curious look in his eye. Jethro was not one to be easily frightened, but that was the only emotion his face displayed, and it drove Abner to inquire.
“What, Jethro? What is happening?”
Jethro was quiet for some time. Then he turned, with a look of fright, but also wonder, in his eyes.
“My king, it is as if a…a greater power is demanding our attention.”
Abner’s eyes widened, and he puzzled over this statement.
“But Jethro, Galrath is the god of kings and dominions. What deity could possibly challenge him?”
Jethro swallowed. “It could only be if it was…indeed it would have to be,” Jethro paused for effect, “a King of kings.”December 29, 2021 at 6:47 pm #146345Emily Waldorf@emily-waldorf
here–just a little piece, but it was fun to write.
“Quin.” Hakan’s face appeared in the doorway of the tent. Quin looked up from the seam he was stitching, grateful for the chance to rest his eyes.
“What is it?” He refused to call Hakan ‘boss’, as all the other men did. Hakan had never mentioned it.
“How’d you like to go with on a business trip?”
“Just like that? Before you know what it is?”
“I know enough of your business trips to answer without hearing it.”
“‘Folly to use the mouth before the ear.’”
Quin rolled his eyes at the proverb. “Okay. But make it quick; light isn’t as plentiful as it was a month ago.”
“That’s just it.” Hakan came farther into the tent. “You won’t be able to do this all winter, and we’ll be moving.”
“So I’m sailing for Colondai and I want to take you with.”
Quin blinked. “How is that a business trip?”
“There are things to sell; Colondai buys them.”
“You mean you stole them and can’t sell them here?”
Hakan looked away. “Colondai’s price is the best.”
“Right.” Quin bent over his work again, stopping now and then to curl his hand into a ball, warming it enough so he could sew.
“Look, you can’t even sew well now; how will you sew when there’s snow on the ground.”
Snow. Quin glanced in the direction of the cook’s tent. He could hear Grace’s coughing from here.
He turned back and looked Hakan in the eyes. “What about Grace?”
“Get off that already!”
“You said you’d take care of us if we came with you. You told us we couldn’t live on our farm with just the two of us to run it; You said Moloch would be looking for us. well, how good of care have you taken of Grace?”
Hakan turned away and looked away toward the cooking tent. Quin pinched his needle so hard it pressed into his thumb.
“You might have left her in her house where it’s warm and she has the things she needs, instead of bringing her here to live like the animal you are. Isn’t it enough that you broke up our family? Do you have to kill my sister too?”
Hakan clenched his fists but didn’t turn around. Quin stood up, bracing himself against the table. The coat he was mending slid to the floor unnoticed.
“She likes you, Hakan,” Quin went on, his voice low. She’d do anything for you. I can see it in her eyes. Every time you praise her for her cooking she works harder; this cold, this work—these men—they’re killing her. If you cared anything for her, you’d—”
Hakan whirled around, his face red with anger. “You just shut-up, you one-legged little fool.”
He strode across the tent and bent down until his face was almost touching Quin’s. “Don’t you think I see? Don’t you think I’d do something for her if I could?” His fist pounded the table so that Quin nearly lost his balance.
“What do you want me to do? The men call me ‘boss’. So what? I was this close to a mutiny when I took you in.” he snapped his fingers under Quin’s nose. “What do you think they’d do now if I took away their favorite cook?”
He straightened, but still looked Quin in the eyes, waiting for an answer. “I—” Quin looked at his lap.
Your life is not your own so keep your hands off it. ~Sherlock Holmes
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