Sometimes, you have to make your own destiny.

Undestined is on Wattpad!

By the way, posts are shown starting with the most recent. If you want to start at the beginning, you need to use the archives and start with the oldest post. Savvy?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chapter 3, Pt. 3

"Hello?" Silay called from outside the tent Riya had sent her to. She wasn't sure what proper tent-etiquette was-- you couldn't exactly knock on the door.

"Yes?" The tent flap opened slightly.

"My name is Silay. I was wondering if I could talk to you."

Kade, who looked to be in his mid-forties, narrowed his eyebrows. "I don't tell fortunes for free. And I'm closed for the day."

"Oh, but, I don't want my fortune told. You see-" Silay faltered. Jarlen had known her at once. Why didn't this man? She thought of her conversation with Riya. "I'm from Dagrosa."

"Dagrosa? What is you want then?"

"News."

"News costs money too. "

"Perhaps not this kind of news?"

"What kind of news would that be?"

Silay lowered her voice. "News about the plague."

Kade opened the tent flap wider. "You'd better come in."

Silay followed the seer into his tent, and blinked in surprise. At first she thought it was bigger inside, but in a moment she realized this was an illusion from the mirrors standing along the sides. She looked around, and her reflection stared back from multiple angles. The effect was disconcerting.

Kade was sitting on a stool next to a low table, watching her. Silay sat down on a second stool, and the man glared at her suspiciously. "And how is it you have heard about the plague?"

Silay wasn't sure what to say. Hadn't the Seer said she would send word of Silay's mission ahead of her?

"Well?"

"The Seer of Dagrosa told me." That seemed safe enough.

"Why would she do that?"

Silay shrugged. "She seems to think I can stop it."

Kade leaned forward. "And why does she think that?"

Silay hesitated, and Kade, seeming to sense her discomfort, shifted back to his original position. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you. I'm not a very strong seer, you understand. I can only see things a few months ahead, and because I travel so much I don't often hear from other seers. But I have heard of the plague."

"Have Seen anything about it? Anything about when and where it starts?"

Kade shook his head. "Of course, mine not Seeing anything may be a good sign. It may mean it's still a long time away. But," he continued, "I'm not sure what you can do about it."

"I'm not either, but the Seer said I should go, so here I am."

"Here you are." Kade agreed. "Well, best of luck to you. I'm sorry I couldn't be more help."

"It's all right. Thank you for your time."
____________________

Why yes, that is a Doctor Who reference :) And hey, new fact! Seers, and other magical-types, can have powers of varying strength.

I apologize for the increase in typos. Writing this story and being a full-time student means I'm often composing on-the-go on my iPad, and I'm still getting used to the keyboard.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chapter 3, pt. 2

It seemed Riya wasn't the only person who had thought to arrive in Surwas a few days early. After three nights on the road, she and Silay arrived in the city two days early. All the inns were full with festival-goers, but Riya hadn't been planning to stay at an inn. She led Silay through the city to the large field outside where the festival would take place. It was already dotted with tents and brightly colored wagons. Silay looked around, struck silent by the sight. Riya might have the only yellow donkey, but there were plenty of other wonders to see.

"You gonna stare, or help me unpack?"

Silay turned back to the magician. "I'm sorry. I've just never seen-" her defense faded when she saw Riya grinning.

"It's well worth staring. Even more so in the morning." As she spoke, Riya unpacked the tent from the wagon." What's your plan now?"

"I'm not sure. I guess keep travelling."

"You should stay. See the festival. At any rate, stay long enough to help me get this tent up."

Silay watched as Riya struggled with the tent poles. "Why don't you just use magic?"

"And give folks here a free show? I'm a business-woman!"

Silay raised her eyebrows. "A business-woman who can't set up a tent?"

Riya glared at her, and Silay laughed. She reached out a hand and steadied the pole Riya was trying to get upright. "Thanks."

"Gotta pull my own weight, right?" Silay picked up the next pole. "Do you think there'll be a seer here?"

Riya stood and scanned the gathered tents which were now glowing gently in the fading light. "That one? With the blue pennant?" She pointed. "That'll be Kade. He's a traveling seer." She looked a Silay. "Aren't you from Dagrosa? Wouldn't think you'd be needing your fortune told."

"Not the future. It's news I want." Silay knew better than to say that even if she wanted to have her fortune told, she couldn't.

Riya nodded back towards the tent she had pointed out. "Well, he's the one."

"Thanks. I'll go see if he's in after we get the tent up."

______________
In lieu of something witty, or insightful, today I shall simply apologize for the lateness of this post. I've been pretty sick, and on so much medicine I was afraid if I wrote I'd switch genre from fantasy to surrealism. Anyways, I'm back, Silay is back, and the adventure continues!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chapter 3, Pt. 1

Riya was hitching a donkey to a bright yellow wagon decorated with green spirals and designs when Silay joined her by the stables. But the most remarkable thing about the scene was the donkey. Silay stared at it for a moment.

"It's yellow".

Riya grinned.

"Did you dye it?"

"Sort of. It's a spell. What do you think?"

"Well, it certainly will get people's attention."

"That's the idea". Riya jerked her head towards the wagon. "You can toss your bag back there. The donkey can't pull the wagon and carry passengers, but a little extra cargo won't hurt."

Silay did as Riya suggested, glad at the thought of not having to carry her bag anymore. "How far are we going today?"

"About 20 miles. There's a stream I like to camp by, and we'll save money not staying at an inn. Can you fish?"

Silay shook her head. "No, but I know how to clean fish".

"That'll do." Riya quickly checked the donkey's harness then gave Silay one her frequent grins. "Ready?"

"Ready." Silay smiled back.

Silay was pleasantly surprised to discover that her blisters from yesterday no longer bothered her. Jarlen may not have magic, but whatever he had done was working well. Today's traveling was going to be much better than yesterday's. Riya didn't say much as they walked, and that suited Silay just fine. She had a lot to think about. Jarlen's comment about children like Hazel dying was bothering her. She knew full well that it was highly unlikely she'd be able to do anything to stop the plague, and yet people -- at least the Healers and seers -- seemed to be expecting her to do something.

The sun was just getting ready to set when Riya led them off the road and a little ways into the woods. They didn't have to go very far before they came to a small clearing along a river bank. Riya unhitched and hobbled the donkey, then disappeared into the wagon, re-emerging with a fishing pole, a bundle of sticks rolled up in a cloth, and a small jar.

She tossed the jar to Silay. "Do you know how to set up wards?"

Silay nodded.

"Good. You set up a ward and build a fire. I'll go catch some fish."

"What about the tent?" Silay looked at the rolled up cloth on the ground.

Riya followed her gaze, then stared at the cloth fiercely, muttering under her breath. Silay had to step back as a small tent gently unfurled itself and popped up.

Riya grinned. "Be back soon!"
____________________
I would like to point out the 20 miles is very reasonable for day's walk, especially on a flat road. I am speaking from experience having once hiked the Cotswold Way at 20 -mile-a-day intervals, over hilly, muddy terrain. Very unlike a certain other fantasy stories where short-legged beings successfully hiked an impossible number of miles a day *ahem* Lord of the Rings *ahem*.

Also, please excuse the funky formatting. I have just gotten an iPad and am still getting used to it. Same goes for the typos.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chapter 2 Epilouge

The Healer was more than a little apprehensive. Ever since word about the plague had been brought to them by the seers, the Healers had taken extra care when treating travelers from across the sea. And now he had been called to treat a small boy who had fallen ill on a ship; a ship on which a Healer had died, after treating the same boy.

When he reached the inn where the family had taken up residence, the Healer was relieved to discover that while the boy was very ill, it was only with an ordinary spotted fever, like the many he had healed over the years. The Healer placed his hands on the boy and called the disease into his own body, where his magic destroyed it, burning it up inside of him.

Both the Healer and the boy took a few days to recover fully, but soon they were both back on their feet. Several miles away, out in the ocean, the scavengers of the sea were busy devouring the remains of the ship's Healer.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chapter 2, pt. 6

The innkeeper greeted Silay at the door. Welis didn’t get many travelers this time of year, so she would be able to have a room to herself. After making arrangements for breakfast the next morning, Silay trudged up the stairs and collapsed gratefully on her bed.
            
Silay managed to rouse herself just as the sun was rising. She stood up and stretched, and was surprised at just how sore her muscles were. Questing, or Un-questing, as Jarlen had called it, was proving to be hard work. And hungry work. Silay’s stomach growled and she realized in her eagerness to get to sleep she had forgotten to eat dinner. She washed herself the best she could in the small basin of water by the bed, then packed her things and headed downstairs to eat.

There was one other traveler already eating at the counter, a woman who looked to be a few years older than her. Silay sat down a few seats away from the woman, then waited for the innkeeper to bring out her breakfast. The other woman gave Silay cursory glance, then returned to her meal. She was just finishing eating when Silay’s food arrived, and, pushing aside her empty bowl, moved down a chair towards her.
            
“Riya.” The woman held out her hand and Silay shook it.
            
“Silay”.
            
“Are you travelling alone, Silay?” Her voice was softer than her muscled build suggested.
            
Silay hesitated, and Riya laughed. “I’ll take your silence as a yes. You don’t lie very well, do you?”
            
“No.” Silay shifted in her seat, suddenly embarrassed. So much for trying to be confident.
            
Riya grinned. “Well, I do, but then that’s how I make a living." She stood up and swept an imaginary cape over her shoulder. “Riya the Wonderful, travelling magician.” She raised her eyebrows at Silay. “And you? What are doing on the road?”
            
Don’t be indecisive. She could hear Jarlen’s voice in her mind. She stood up and copied the magician’s bow. “Silay the Bored. Travelling…wherever.”
            
“Silay of the cold breakfast, if you don’t sit down to eat.” The innkeeper had been watching the exchange, and had little patience for theatrics.
            
The two young woman laughed, and Silay sat back down. “Are you really a magician?”
            
“Mm-hm.” Riya sat next to her. “Nothing really impressive, and some of my best tricks are just sleight-of-hand, not real magic, but there you are.” As she finished her statement, she pulled a coin from behind Silay’s ear.
            
Silay took the coin from her, palmed it, then held up her hands to show they were empty. “Like I said, Silay the Bored. Had a lot of free time to learn useless things.”
            
“Not bad.” Riya closed her eyes for a moment. “Where did you put it?”
            
“I dropped it on my la—” Silay’s voice trailed off as she realized the coin was gone.
            
Riya held out her hand, and the coin appeared in the center of it. “Now that’s magic.”
            
“That it is.” Silay finished her breakfast. “Where are you heading to next?”
            
“Surwas. They’re having a festival in a week. I figure it will take me a few days to get there, and that will leave me some time to settle in before all the visitors arrive.”
            
“Would you mind some company on the road? At least for a little ways?” Surwas was in roughly the same direction Silay wanted to go.  
            
Riya shrugged. “As long as you can pull your weight, I won’t say no. An extra set of eyes is always a good thing.” She stood. “I’ll be out back getting my wagon ready. Come out when you’re ready.”

*End of Chapter 2: The Unquest Begins*
____________
Ooo! Some real magic. This could get interesting.
Also, did you know that idea of multiple heroes having to act together to achieve their quest is a fairly modern construct? Greek and Roman mythology are very focused on the individual hero. That's why Achilles can get away with sulking behind the ships while the Greeks are losing in the Iliad. (And now someone feels the need to mention Jason and the Argonauts, and I feel the need to point out that's the exception, not the rule.)


Last post for this chapter, so bonus post on Wednesday :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chapter 2, pt. 5

“I know.” They both fell silent for a moment while Jarlen finished treating Silay’s blisters. She spoke first.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Jarlen shrugged. “It seems to me the Seer’s hope is that just sending you out to track the plague may be enough to stop it, or at least to change it in some way.”

He sat down at the table and gestured for Silay to do the same. When she was seated, he continued. “Have you ever heard the idea about people’s actions being like rocks thrown into a pond?”

“Yes. We were taught that in Scrying at school.”

“Well, imagine that you have a pond, and that everyone’s actions are little rocks that send ripples out, ripples that run into each other and slowly change the surface of the pond.”

Silay looked at Jarlen, wondering where he was going with this. “All right.”

“Then imagine someone takes a large rock, one that wasn’t there before, and throws it right into the center of the pool. What would happen?”

“I guess the splash would erase all the other ripples.”

“Exactly.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Are you saying I’m like a big rock?”

“I’m saying you could be. The problem is, no one can see the ripples that you make, so there’s no way to tell if you’ve changed anything until after the fact.”

“So I just do nothing?”

“So you do nothing. You continue on this un-quest of yours. Keep checking with the seers and Healers. The Seer has told many of us to expect you. It may be your presence is enough, or it may be it takes more than that. Just keep going, and stay ready to act.”

Silay nodded, suddenly feeling very tired. Perhaps it hadn’t been such a bad thing that Hazel had brought her day’s journey to an early end. She stood up. “Thank you. Adelie told me there was an inn here. I’m going to stay there tonight.”

Jarlen pushed back his chair and walked with her to the door. “One last piece of advice, Silay. You would do well to find someone you can trust to travel with.”

“I know how to set up wards,” she protested.

“The problem with wards is that you don’t know you did one wrong until it’s too late.”

Silay didn’t have a response for this, so she bade Jarlen farewell, and made her way to the inn.
__________________
Notes:

"The Hero Cycle"
-Call to adventure: Check
-Crossing the threshold: Check
-Unexpected aid/advice: Check

Also, I'm strangely tickled by the word "un-quest".

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter 2, pt.4

Silay looked from the stone to Jarlen. “Someone told you I was coming?”

He nodded, and slid the Farstone back into its compartment under the table. “Your Seer and I have been friends for a long time. The Healers aren't the only ones she warned about the plague. I was planning to ride out and meet you tomorrow. I thought you would have traveled further today.”

“I’d planned to, but I ran into a little girl on the road and stopped to bring her home.”

“Hazel, yes?” Jarlen laughed at Silay’s surprised face. “She runs away about once a month. Determined to find a dragon to slay or some other such adventure.” His face grew serious. “Silay, this plague will take many lives. Children like Hazel may never grow up if a cure isn't found.”
_____________
Sometimes, life happens. Sometimes, movers are not just three hours late, but three days late. So, a very short post. Longer one next week, promise.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chapter 2, pt. 3

The sign on the door of Jarlen’s house said “Come In”, so Silay did. She had meant to announce her arrival, but instead found herself distracted by the floor to ceiling shelves lined with bottles of different coloured liquids and strange shapes. It was exactly how she had imagined the interior of a magician’s or wizard’s workshop, only without the acidic scent she associated with magic. She was still surveying the room when a figure stepped through the curtain dividing the front of the house from the back.

“Welcome. I’m Jarlen, resident alchemist. And you are?”

Silay jumped. “Oh! Sorry. I was distracted by the bottles.” She gave a slight bow. “I’m Silay Gallegis.”

“Are you now?” Jarlen raised his eyebrows.

“You know me?”

“Word gets around. But never mind that. What brings you here?”

Sticking with the story she had told Adelie, Silay replied “I heard you could help me with the blisters on my feet.”

“Blisters. Ah, yes. This way.” Jarlen headed back towards the curtain and Silay had just started to follow him when Jarlen turned around. “By the way, a young woman travelling by herself shouldn’t be so quick to share her real name.” He turned back as Silay blinked in confusion, and led her into the back room.

“Sit down and take of your shoes.” Jarllen pointed to a chair. As Silay obeyed, he grabbed a tiny knife and a pot with a little paintbrush in it off a shelf.

Silay watched with interest as he placed the knife and paintbrush into a pot of water boiling over the fire in the corner. “What are you doing?”

“Sterilizing my tools.”

“Sterilizing?”

Jarlen sighed. “The Healers never bother to explain anything. They just burn up everything that makes a person ill with their magic, then go on their own merry way. Never mind the fact that a simple explanation of cleanliness would prevent half of the diseases they have to cure.”

“I bathe, and wash my hands before I eat,” Silay protested. She had the strangest feeling that Jarlen had just implied she was dirty.

“Well, at least they’ve bothered to share that much.”  Jarlen rolled up the knife and brush in a clean cloth, then placed another cloth into the water.

“Do you not like the Healers?”

“Oh, I like them well enough. There is much knowledge we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for their magic. All the same, they can be damn infuriating with all their secrets.”

The alchemist gathered up the wet cloth and the roll with his tools and sat down on the floor by Silay, where he preceded to wipe off her feet with the warm cloth.  He looked up at her. “Do I frighten you?”

“I’m not sure,” Silay answered honestly. He did frighten her a bit, but Adelie had seemed to think he was all right. But then, she didn’t really know Adelie, did she?

Jarlen was shaking his head. “No good. Indecision shows weakness. A traveler on own her can’t afford to seem weak. Yes or no. Do I frighten you?”

“Yes.”

“Good. You’re not naive then. What scares you?”

“You know who I am.”

He smiled. “Well, that’s easy enough to explain.” He placed the damp cloth on the ground, then walked over to the table in the center of the room. He ran his hand along the underside of the table and there was a small click. Jarlen held up his hand to reveal a Farstone grasped softly between his thumb and forefinger.
_____________
Notes:
For being rare, Farstones sure seem to show up a lot. Oh well.
Also, more dialogue! Yay! I should have given Silay a cool skill like fencing. I bet I could write an awesome dueling scene. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Character Profile: Silay (May contain spoilers)

Name: Silay Gallegis
Age: 19
Height: 5’5”
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Brown
Destiny/Occupation: Unknown

Description: Silay is about average height for a young woman in Ohicink. She has dark brown hair (almost black), which she typically wears in a braid that starts at the base of her neck and hangs down to just between her shoulder blades. She also wears a thin hair-band, to keep stray strands of hair out of her eyes. A native of Dagrosa, she expected to know her destiny. However, for some unknown reason, no form of magic, including fortune telling, works on her.

Since she’s travelling light, she wears pretty much the same outfit for most of the story. Her shoes are soft leather (no laces) and go to just above her ankles (sort of like high-tops). She wears dark-green trousers made of twill-weaved cotton. Her top is like a tunic. Made of plain-weaved, un-dyed linen, it has a boat neck collar and hangs straight to her waist, where it splits on either side and continues to about 3 inches above her knees. There’s a simple embroidered edged on the collar and down the side slits. The sleeves go down to about 3 inches above her wrists.

She also carries a leather knapsack and wears a small leather pouch concealed around her waist containing the Farstone. Also around her waist is a belt holding her sheathed dagger. In the knapsack is a gray, un-dyed wool cloak. You won’t see the cloak very often, because it’s pretty warm in Ohicink, and doesn’t rain very much.

Weather/setting note: Most fantasies I read feel like they’re set somewhere resembling the British Isle’s. For some reason, the fantasy worlds I imagine often tend to be more like the Mediterranean.
_____________________
Sorry for all the extraneous details about the clothes...I'd recently taken up weaving when I wrote this, and I have a slight fiber addiction.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chapter 2, pt. 2


The girl took a step forward. “Give me your food!” she demanded.

Silay looked at her for a moment, then reached forward and carefully twisted the butter knife out of her hand.

“Hey! That’s not fair. Give it back!”

“Not yet.” Silay knelt so she was eye-level with the girl. “What’s your name?”

“Not supposed to talk to strangers.”

“But attacking them with butter knives is all right?”

The girl didn’t answer and Silay sighed. “What are you doing out here?”

“Running away.” The girl narrowed her eyes. “What are you doing out here?”

Silay considered the question. “I guess I’m running away too.”

“Really?” The girl grinned and stuck out her hand. “I’m Hazel. Can I run away with you?”

“First, tell me where you’re running away from.”

Hazel shook her head. “Uh-uh. Then you’ll just take me back home.”

Silay pretended to think about it. “All right then. But no making trouble. Promise?”

The girl’s smile got wider. “Promise!”

They set off down the road, Hazel chatting happily. It wasn’t too difficult to work out that she was from Welis. Besides, the next closest town, was five miles away, and there was no way Hazel had walked that far.

Silay kept Hazel engaged in conversation, so the young girl didn’t notice when they turned off the main road and started down the path to Welis until they were almost to the town gates. Then Hazel looked up.

The girl halted in the middle of the road. “Hey! Where are we going?”

Silay glanced back at her. “You wanted to come with me. I’m heading to Welis.”

“Well, I’m not.”

Just then a young woman came hurrying out of the gate, and started to run towards the two.

Hazel turned to run back to the main road, but Silay caught her shoulder and turned her around, gently propelling her towards the woman.

When the woman reached them she stooped and hugged the girl. “Hazel! Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick about you.”

“Get off!” Hazel wiggled out of the woman’s embrace, but didn’t run off again. The woman held Hazel’s hand firmly and offered her free hand to Silay. “I’m Adelie, Hazel’s aunt.”

“Silay.” She shook Adelie’s hand, then offered her the butter knife. “I’m not sure who this belongs to. Hazel had it.”

Adelie took the knife, and frowned at her niece. “Your parents are going to be having a nice long talk with you today.” She sighed and turned back to Silay. “Thank you for finding her.”

Silay shrugged. “She more or less found me.”

“Are you staying in Welis? It’s a small town, but we have a decent inn.”

The small party was now walking towards the town.

“I’m planning to stay the night,” Silay told Adelie, “but I’d like to speak to a Healer first, if there is one.”

Adelie looked at her. “Why, are you sick?”

“No. I just—” Silay didn’t want to lie, but didn’t want to tell the truth about her journey either. “I just have a blister.”

Adelie laughed. “You don’t need a Healer for that. Besides, the closest one is a mile away. You should go see Jarlen. He’s an alchemist.”

“An alchemist?”

Adelie nodded. “He does things with potions and such, only without magic. No one would go see him if they were really sick, but he’s good with things like blisters.”

Come on!” They had entered the town now, and Hazel was tugging on Adelie’s hand.

“I need to get Hazel home now.” Adelie pointed at a nearby street. “Jarlen’s house is the third on the left.”

“Thank you.”

“Thank you." Hazel was now pulling Adelie down the road and she had to call over her shoulder. “Have Jarlen tell you where Hazel lives. I’m sure her parents will want to thank you.”

Silay waved to show she had heard, then turned to go to Jarlen’s house. If the nearest Healer was a mile away, it wouldn’t hurt to have the alchemist look at her blister.
_________
Notes:

So, I was planning to have a sentence that said something like "Silay had planned to push on further to ___ [The town five miles away where Hazel couldn't be from], but the adventure, if that was the right word, with Hazel had taken up so much time that she decided to spend the night in Welis".

I did not use this sentence, however, because I have apparently completely run out of names and couldn't think what to call the town five miles away. How out of names am I? Well, Hazel is named after my rabbit and Welis is a scramble of "Lewis", since I happen to be reading a book by C.S. Lewis at the moment. 

Names: The bane of all authors since the invention of writing. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chapter 2, pt. 1

The weather was quite normal. Silay wasn't sure what she had expected-- bright, sunny weather to welcome this new stage in her life, or dark, dramatic clouds. But she couldn't help but find it a bit anti-climatic that the weather was exactly the same as yesterday.

Thanks to the town leaders, her parents, and the Seer, Silay now had a knapsack containing a map, food, a change of clothes, and enough money to last for a while if she was careful. At her side was a small dagger her father had insisted she take, though she had no idea how to use it. More useful was the small bottle of warding potion the Seer had given her, for the nights she couldn't find shelter indoors. The Seer had given Silay something else, in secret. In a leather pouch concealed under her shirt was a Farstone.

The only thing she didn't have, Silay thought ruefully, was a horse. Somehow, when listening to other people's stories of quests, she had never really considered just how much walking was involved. She had only set out two hours ago and could already feel blisters forming in her shoes, and her knapsack now felt like it contained rocks.

She pushed on for another hour, before deciding she absolutely had to rest. Moving over to the side of the road, she found a large rock flat enough to sit on. Sitting, she gratefully shrugged the knapsack off her shoulders and set it between her feet. The she pulled off her left shoe to inspect her foot. There was definitely a blister between her big toe and her second. She was about to pull off her right shoe too when she heard a sound in the bushes nearby.

"Hello?" she called. Getting no answer, Silay slipped her shoe back on and stood. "Is someone there?" she called again, moving her hand towards her dagger. A moment later, a small figure burst out of the bush, and Silay was startled to find herself facing an eight-year-old girl brandishing a butter knife.
___________
Notes:

I hate blisters and have always felt that this important and serious issue has been gravely overlooked in most epic stories. 

Also, this comic makes me think I need to add a magic ring in somewhere. Or a lapel pin. Just because.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chapter 1 Epilogue


Healers believe the body is but a vessel for the soul. Though their vows dictate that they do all in their power to keep the body healthy and alive, once the soul has left it they believe the body becomes nothing. Just another part of the life cycle, to be disposed of as hygienically and conveniently as possible. If a person dies of a contagious disease, they might order the body to be burned. Otherwise, they believe bodies should be disposed of such a way that they return back to the Land. So the Healer who had died on the ship would have had no objection to his body being weighted down and thrown overboard.
            
The boy he had healed was sick again. Too sick to continue the journey. So the ship had stopped a little ways off the coast of Dilest to allow the boy’s family to load him into one of the small boats lashed to the ship’s side. In the morning, the ship’s crew would go ashore to stock up on supplies, but the boy’s father didn’t want to wait that long. The small boat was lowered down, and the man began to row them to shore. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chapter 1, pt. 5

“Silay, is something wrong?” Her mother, Kenna, looked at her with concern as Silay carefully maneuvered pieces of food around her plate.
            
Silay looked up. “I’m not sure.” She paused, considering the plate in front of her before continuing. “I went to see the Seer today.”
            
Her mother and father exchanged glances over the table, and it was her father who asked “Why did you do that?”
            
“The town leaders went to visit her today, and was curious, so…” Silay’s voice trailed off as she saw her father’s expression.
            
“Silay, were you spying again?”
            
“No! Well, yes, but the Seer knew I was there.”
            
“Did she See you?” Her mother interjected eagerly.
            
Silay bit her lip when she saw how hopeful both her parents looked at this thought. “No. I think she just heard me outside.”
            
“And then you went to talk with her?”
            
Silay nodded.
            
“About what?”
           
Sighing, Silay pushed her plate away from her. “There’s something…bad, that’s going to happen. She thinks I might be able to stop it or something. But probably not.”
            
“She saw something in your future?”
            
“No, Mom. She saw the…bad thing in everyone’s future except mine. She still can’t see my future. But she thinks that because she can’t See me, I might be able to help.”
            
“What is this ‘bad thing’, Silay?” Her father asked quietly.
            
“The Seer said it was best not to say.”
           
“And what is it she thinks you should do?”
            
“She wants me to leave tomorrow. To head northwest.”
            
“And what do you think you should do?”
            
“Bransen!” Her mother exclaimed, glaring at her husband. “She’s just a child. She can’t go.”
            
“She’s an adult now, in the eyes of the town. You know that, Kenna.” He turned to Silay. “You can make your own choices.”
            
“I know.”
            
“And?”
            
Silay gave a small smile. “I think making choices is hard.”
            
“Does she really think you can stop whatever it is?” Her mother asked softly.
            
“She thinks there’s a chance.”
            
“And do you?”
            
“I don’t know. But, I think it is worth trying. If nothing else…” her voice trailed off.
            
“If nothing else, what?”
            
Silay looked at both her parents. “If nothing else, it will give me a chance to go somewhere people won’t act like I don’t exist.”
            
Her father nodded. “We’ll tell people that’s why you left. If the Seer doesn’t think you should say what might happen, it would be best not to mention it at all.”
            
“You’re really leaving us, Silay?”
            
Silay placed her hand on top of her mother’s. “Not you. This. This place where people go out of their way to avoid me. Where they look at me like I’m some sort of monster. And if I’m leaving you, it’s only because there’s a chance I might be able to do something good.” She glanced from face to face, pleading. “I have nothing. I know nothing about who I am or what I’m supposed to do. This might be my only chance to find out.” She looked down, and finished quietly. “I have to go. Otherwise I’ll always wonder what could have been.”
            
When she looked up, her parents where looking at each other across the table. Silay was surprised to see that both of them had tears in their eyes. It was her mother her spoke. “Then I believe you should go.”

*End of Chapter One: Fate and Fortune*
____________
Notes:
"Making choice are hard". Yeah, I'm moralizing. Also, new characters! You know what that means right? No? It means you can check out their profiles over on the 'Characters' tab. Finally, this is the end of Chapter One, so thank you to everyone who's been reading along. To celebrate, there'll be a bonus post on Wednesday. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chapter 1, pt. 4


Silay sat and the Seer pulled a map from a niche in the wall and spread it out on the table. Next to it she placed a soft leather pouch from which she removed a tiny sphere. It looked like it was made of glass, but on closer inspection Silay saw that its surface was constantly shifting shades of blues and greens. Tentatively, she reached out and touched it. “A farstone?”
            
The Seer nodded. “I’m not the only one who has been watching for signs of the plague. I’ve been using the farstone to speak with other seers. And we all see the same thing. Do you know how to read a map?”
            
“Yes. We’re taught in school.”
            
“Good.” The Seer touched the small dot that represented Dagrosa. “This is where we are. And this—” she touched a point far to the northwest “is where, as far as we have been able to work out, the plague starts.”
            
“But if it starts so far away, how does it spread all the way to Dagrosa?”
            
“That is one of the things we can’t see. We see the disease, see it spreading, but we don’t know how. If the Healers knew about how it spreads, if they knew before the outbreaks begin, they may be able to stop it, or at least slow it down.” She looked up at Silay. “Do you understand?”
            
“I think so.” Silay was quiet for a moment, considering. “But how would you figure out how it’s spreading?”
            
“Someone would need to be there when it started, need to watch it spread, and get the information out.”
           
“But can’t you tell the Healers to do that?”
            
“We already have. And it didn’t change what we saw. The Healers all die before anyone can work it out.”
            
Silay furrowed her brows. “I don’t understand. I thought you said there was hope.”
            
“There is.” The Seer grasped Silay’s hand across the table. “We see all our plans, all our defenses fail. But you move unseen. Even you just being in the town where it starts could change things. There’s no way to know. But I think it’s worth trying.”
           
Silay shook her head. “If I went, wouldn’t I just get sick like the healers?”
            
“More than likely.”
            
“But then—”
            
“But why?” The Seer tightened her grasp. “Because there’s also a chance you might not. A chance you might undo all the events that lead to the plague spreading.”
            
Silay let her eyes drop to the table. “I’m not a hero. You said so. But you’re talking about sending me on a quest.”
            
“I am.”
            
“I could die.”
            
“You could.” The Seer paused. “But then, you could also stay here and die of the plague anyways.”
            
Silay thought for a moment. “When would I need to start?”
            
The Seer shook her head. “Ordinarily, I would I would spend a few days scrying, looking at different paths and futures, then advise you when and where to go. But that’s not an option with you.” The Seer stood. “One thing I know is this: the disease spreads fast. Time is of the essence. Go home, think about it. And if you are willing to make the attempt, I think you should leave tomorrow. Come to me in the morning and I’ll have everything you need packed.”
            
Silay stood too. “I’ll…I’ll think about it.”
            
The Seer nodded. “Good. Oh, and Silay?”
            
“Yes?”
            
“I imagine you’ll wish to speak with your parents. That is fine, but it would be best not to mention that there is a plague coming. Can you do that?”
            
“I can.”
           
“Good. Very good.”
            
And for the second time that day, Silay made the journey from the Seer’s cabin to her home.
_____________
Notes:
Farstone. Do you have any idea how hard it was to find a name for stone that wasn't already used by a card game, RPG, or another fantasy story? What is it with fantasies and magic stones? How unoriginal can you be? ...Oh. Right. I did say this story was going to have a lot of cliches, didn't I? 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chapter 1, pt. 3


Silay was outside of the Seer’s cabin, hand raised to knock, when a voice called out, “I don’t need to see the future to hear footsteps outside. Come in.”
            
Silay entered, and the old woman smiled. “I thought you might come back. Hoped so, in fact.”
            
“I thought—” Silay tried to gathered her thoughts, but what came out wasn’t what she had intended. “I thought you hated me.”
            
“Hate you, child? No. I don’t hate you.” The Seer stood up and pulled out a chair. Silay sat down. “Now, fear you, that’s another matter.” She sat down across from the girl and looked her in the eyes. “You absolutely terrify me. You shouldn’t be.”
            
“They why did you hope I’d come?”
            
The Seer raised her eyebrows. “Why did you come? Not to ask for another fortune telling, I think.”
            
“No. I…I thought—”
            
“You seem to do a lot of that.” 
            
Silay jerked her eyes up from the floor, ready to be offended, but the Seer just smiled. “What did you think, child?”
           
“That maybe I could help.” Suddenly all the thoughts that had been running through her mind since she had overheard the conversation came rushing out. “You said there was a plague coming. That you could see it everyone’s future. That you didn’t see any way for it to be stopped. But—”
            
The Seer leaned forward in her chair. “Yes? But?”
            
“But you can’t see me. You can’t see my future. Which means maybe there isn’t a plague in my future, or maybe I’m the one who stops the plague.”
            
“Hmmm.” The Seer leaned back again. “You know, fortune telling is not an exact art. But there are some events so big, so likely, that no alternatives to them are seen. And those of us who see the future call such events Unchangeables. Whatever else happens around them, whatever choices are made, they are not strong enough to overcome an Unchangeable. Not even a Hero can do that. And you are no Hero, child. I would have seen if you were.”
            
“What am I then?”
            
“There’s the question. All magic, even fortune telling, revolves around knowing what things are. But you are an anomaly. Magic doesn’t seem to be able to recognize you.”
            
Silay stood up and shoved her chair back in frustration. “Then why did you hope I would come? Why did you speak to me when I was outside? If no one can do anything, then what’s the point? What’s the point of you?”
            
“I ask myself that question nearly everyday. Why bother looking at the future if so little of it can be changed?” She looked up at Silay. “Sit, child. I didn’t say it was hopeless. I just wanted you to understand.”
            
Silay remained standing. “So you think something can be done.”
           
“I hope something can be done. Nothing quite so substantial as thinking. No Unchangeable has ever been stopped, it’s true. But then, no person has ever been without a destiny either. And so, I hope.”
              
“What then? What do you think I can do?”
            
“Sit down and I’ll explain.”
_________
Note: I've always liked reading author's notes about their stories, so I'm going to go ahead and write notes on some of my posts. If they bother you, no worries. Just don't read them :).

Anyway, like I said last week, there's going to be another long section of dialogue next week. This is actually a little unusual for me when writing, and I think the difference is that I usually start stories in medias res and leave it to the reader to catch up. This story, however, began pretty much at the beginning, so I feel obligated to lay all my cards on the table before I start shuffling them around. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chapter 1, pt. 2


Silay lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling. Her mother was out in the garden and her father at his stall in the market, so neither had seen her return home. The past year had been hard for her parents as well as her. In public, they followed general consensus, and avoided speaking about her, but in private they would reassure her that they loved her and that the Seer must have made a mistake. And while Silay knew that they did love her, she hated that they had to act like she didn’t exist outside their house.
            
The Seer had known she was listening. Silay’s thoughts kept coming back to this fact. And more than that, the Seer had wanted her to know that she knew. Why? Only one person could answer that, and Silay had been spending the last half hour trying to build up the courage to return to the cabin. After all, the last time she had been there the Seer had thrown her out and left her an outcast. A ghost.
            
Silay sat up and swung her legs over the side of her bed. If she was a ghost, then perhaps it was time she did some haunting. 
_______________
Note: Short section today, but I promise the next couple of weeks will be longer. Be prepared for a lot of dialogue in the next two weeks; there's a lot of ground rules, if you will, that need to be established. Thanks for reading along :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chapter One, pt.1


Silay watched with interest as the town leaders approached the Seer’s cabin. It had been almost a year since the Seer had called her ghost and thrown her out, and rumor had it that she had notified the leaders that she would not tell fortunes this year.

Curious, Silay followed the leaders from a distance, then slid around to the side of the Seer’s cabin, where she would be able to overhear the conversation. The Seer may not have seen a future for her, but in some ways, she had still made a correct prediction. Silay had become a ghost. The people of Dagrosa didn’t know what to make of her, so tacitly, unanimously, they had decided to make nothing of her. People went out of their way to avoid having to acknowledge her, for to do so would mean acknowledging one of two facts. Either it was possible for a person’s future to be unknown, or their Seer had failed. Either truth could mean an end to fortune telling, and not just in Dagrosa. People everywhere relied on the guidance of seers. Yes, they only saw may-be’s, not must be’s, but it was something all the same. And no one wanted to think about what it meant that the Seer had seen nothing in Silay’s future.

“The girl was a fluke, everyone knows that. No one doubts you abilities, Seer”.

Silay pressed her ear against the side of the cabin, straining to hear the old woman’s reply. “You best hope she was not, sirs. Indeed, pray the girl was just the first of my failures and that my age has at last weakened my view of the future.”

“What do you mean?” A different man’s voice asked the question.

“Do you think I only look into the future on Fortune Day?” the Seer paused for a response. Receiving none, she continued. “I watch the future always, and what I have seen is ruin. So again, I tell you, hope the mistake was mine, and that I am mistaken even now.”

“Do you believe you are mistaken?” It was the first man again.

“No.”

“Then it is your duty to say what you have seen.”

“Duty?” the old women paused again, as if thinking. “Yes, perhaps it is. But what of your duty? Will you share what I am about to tell you to the people?”

“We will do as we see best.”
        
“As you see best? Well, I suppose I can expect no more."

Silay heard movement within, and then a gentle thump. She must have set the Seeing Crystal on the table, she thought. There was a moment of silence, then a gasp from the men. Then more silence.
            
Finally, one of the men spoke. “Are you certain?”
            
“Certain?” the Seer’s voice held contempt. “Of course I’m not certain. Do you know nothing of fortune telling? Yet, I’m as certain as I’ve ever been. Everywhere I look, the paths all lead to the same thing. Death. Ruin. And not just in Dagrosa. I see it everywhere, I see all people’s future’s ending in the same place. Plague. Plague is coming.”
            
“And do you see anyone stopping it?”
            
“No. It cannot be stopped.”
            
There was a scraping of chairs. “Thank you, Seer. We must discuss what best to do.”
            
“Discuss all you like. You can protect this town from men, but you cannot protect it from disease.”
            
The leaders left the cabin, but Silay stayed kneeling by the  wall, waiting until they were out of view before she herself left. She was about to stand up when she heard the Seer sigh and speak aloud to herself.
            
“I see all futures pointing to the same place.” A thump on the wall she was kneeling against made Silay jump back, startled. She almost didn’t catch the Seer’s next sentence. “All but yours, Ghost. For of yours, I see nothing."
            
Silay fled, and ran back to her house. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Introduction, Pt. 2


The Seer scowled at the crystal ball before her, mumbling under her breath. Silay, the girl sitting across the table from her, fidgeted nervously. Suddenly, the Seer grabbed Silay’s right hand and stared at it. Her forehead wrinkled and the scowl grew deeper. Finally, she dropped the girl’s hand and marched to the back of her cabin. Silay could her the clink of dishes as she moved about.

The Seer returned with a cup of tea, which she set on the table before Silay. “Drink. Quickly.”

Silay gulped down the tea, too nervous to even care that it burned the roof of her mouth. The Seer grabbed the cup, swirled it around a few times, then looked at the leaves at the bottom. She stared at them for a few moments before Silay got up the courage to speak.
            
“What…What do you see?”

The Seer looked up. “Nothing.”
           
“Nothing? What do you mean nothing?”
           
“I mean nothing.” The Seer’s voice started out calm, but as she spoke, built up to a hysteric scream. “There is nothing. Not in the ball, not in your palm, not in the tea. There is nothing! Never, never in all my years has such a thing happened. I see nothing for you. No past, no future, nothing! You are nothing. A ghost. A walking dead. Get out! Get out! Get out now!” As she shouted the final words, she shoved Silay out of the door, and threw the teacup after her, where it shattered against the ground. She glared at the rest of the children and parents lined up outside her cabin. “I’m done for the day,” she growled. “Go home.” The Seer retreated to her cabin, and slammed the door shut behind her. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Introduction, Pt. 1

It was Fortune Day. Most towns had coming of age rituals, but the one here in Dagrosa was unique, as unique as its people. Even in Ohicink, a land of magic, the Dagrosians stood out. It was commonly said that all great Heroes came from Dagrosa. Mind you, not everyone from Dagrosa was a Hero, but if one was a Hero, it was certain you came from there. For the people of Dagrosa each had a Destiny. Oh, often enough it was simple: to be a good cook, to make gardens grow, to sing away people’s worries. But every now and then, Dagrosa would produce a Hero.

What is important to know about Dagrosa is that not only did each person have a Destiny, but each person knew it. That was what Fortune Day was all about. All the children who would become adults that year gathered at the small cabin of the Seer, and she would look into their eyes, into their souls, and tell them what their Destiny was. And today was Fortune Day.