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?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chapter 8, Pt. 3


Riya looked down at the table and rubbed her temples. "I'm not sure what you want to talk about. We've already told you everything we know."

"Yes, but now I want to know what you plan to do with what you know. Silay!"

Silay sat up straight in her chair, having flashbacks to being called out by teachers at school. "Yes, ma'am?"

"What do you plan to do?"

"I-- I don't know. They Seer just sent me out to see if I can change anything."

The Healer waved this comment away with her hand. "That's why you left. Now that you know what you know, what do plan to do?"

Silay fell silent for a moment, thinking. "Can you come back to me?"

Aibas nodded. "Riya?"

"The plague is magic. I'm a magician. If I had my powers, maybe I could do something. But..." She shrugged.

"I had hoped you all might be a little more optimistic." Aibas turned to her former pupil. "Jarlen, I'm sure you at least had some idea of what you would do when you left." Before Jarlen could answer, a thought seemed to occur to her. "Silay, out of curiosity, has Jarlen asked to look at your blood?"

"What?!" The question startled Silay out of her thoughts.

Even Riya looked up in surprise. "What would Jarlen want with blood? He's not a magician, and besides, blood magic is dangerous. And usually bad."

"More than usually." The Healer looked at Riya. "I've never known of a blood spell that ended well for both parties involved."

"As Riya has pointed out, I am not a magician." Jarlen's voice broke the silence that had followed the brief exchange. "My interest in blood has nothing to do with magic. The reason it's powerful in spells is because it gives life to the body. Which is why it is also useful for alchemy. If their is something in Silay's blood that makes her immune to the plague, then it might be possible to give whatever it is to others and make them immune too."

"I still don't like it."

"It's not your choice,  Riya."

"No, it's mine." Silay interrupted what looked like it could be the start of a fight. "And at the moment, we don't know if I'm immune to the plague, so it isn't really important." She looked at Aibas. "You asked what I think we should do? Well, here it is. We stop trying to find what is causing the plague, and try to find who."

The Healer nodded. "That is what I think too. And you shouldn't delay. I'll pack supplies for you, and you can be on the road in an hour."
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Enough talking. How about some action?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chapter 8, Pt. 2


Silay couldn't remember the last time she had woken up and not been sore and tired. Sleeping outside, under the stars, had always sounded so, well, glamorous in stories. But the truth of the matter was that the ground was just not a comfortable place to sleep. No matter where you set up your sleeping roll there would inevitably be a root poking you in the back. Of course, thought Silay, the balm Healer Aibas had given her to rub on her muscles had probably helped too.

Aibas, Jarlen, and Silay were in the midst of quietly making breakfast when Riya finally woke up. There were dark circles under her eyes, and her face was pale. Whatever Aibas had given her to ease the pain of the collar had clearly worn off.
"Good morning!" If there was one thing Silay had learned about her friend, it was that she didn't like pity. "You look terrible!" She added cheerfully.

Riya stuck her tongue out at Silay. "You're no morning flower yourself."

"Now, now, ladies, no need to fight for my attention."

The notion was so astounding that for a moment, all Silay and Riya could do was stare at Jarlen incredulously. He laughed, and Riya punched him softly in the arm, a gesture of familiarity that startled Silay. It occurred to her that her friends probably hadn't been sleeping any better than she had during their journey.

"Is there any tea?"

The Healer nodded and poured hot water over a mug she had already prepared before handing it to Riya.

Riya took a sip and grimaced. "Willowbark?"

"It will help with the headache."

"Yes, but what will help with the taste?"

Aibas smiled, and passed her a pot of honey. Riya sat down at the table where they had eaten the night before, and Jarlen and Silay followed, Jarlen carrying a pot of porridge, and Silay bearing a bowl of fruit.

There was very little conversation as the four of them set about the important business of eating breakfast. Once Aibas was satisfied that her guests were well-fed, she cleared away the food and re-joined them at the table.

"Now," she looked around at three travel-worn faces, "let's talk about this plague."
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Look! Riya and Jarlen can get along! Just no "'shipping" them, okay? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chapter 8, Pt. 1


Silay leaned back in her chair, slowly sipping the strong tea the Healer had made for all of them. Once Healer Aibas had seen that they were all exhausted and hurt, she had refused to let them tell her their story until she had seen to their injures and everyone had eaten a simple, but good meal. The small group was seated around her table, and Silay was happy to let Jarlen fill his old teacher in on what had been happening.

The Healer's brow furrowed as Jarlen finished explaining. "So, someone is behind this?"
The three travelers nodded, and Aibas shook her head sadly. "I just can't imagine. So many people..." She broke off, unable to finish the thought in all their minds. So many people sick. So many people who would die. "And you say it is magical." She looked at Riya this time, who bobbed her head in acknowledgment. Aibas had tried some general release spells to get the collar off her, but none had worked. She had finally settled for giving Riya something to help lessen her headache. The Healer sighed. "I think the rest of this discussion can wait until morning. Sleep is the best healer, after all."

Jarlen nodded in agreement, but before anyone stood to leave the table, Silay asked the question that had been on her mind since Aibas had invited them into her home.

"Why was Jarlen your worst student?"

Healer Aibas laughed. "Because he had the audacity to apply to be a Healer's apprentice, and him with no healing power!" She gave her former pupil a fond smile. "So I took him on, of course. I was a bit rebellious in those days." She shook her head in mock disappointment. "He never did become a Healer. He couldn't manage even the simplest of spells."

Silay grinned at this. "I can see where that might be a problem."

Jarlen rolled his eyes and stood up from the table. "The two of you are worse than my sisters. So, if you are done making fun of me..." The rest of sentence was swallowed in a yawn. This set all three women to laughing, and a moment later, Jarlen's low chuckle joined them.

Healer Aibas rose from the table. "I've always said it is best to go to bed happy. Let me go get some blankets and pillows and see if we can't make you all comfortable."

It was the closest to sleeping in beds any of them had come to in weeks. Exhausted from the last few days, the Healer's three guests were asleep in a matter of moments. But sleep came much more slowly for Aibas herself, her head filled with worries about the magical plague and who could be behind it.
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Ah, sleep. Truly the best healer of all.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chapter 7 Epilogue


"Sire?"

"Hmmm?" The king looked up from the tax report on his desk.

"I have the information you wanted." The scribe paused, waiting for a response. When he didn't get one, he continued. "About the girl? And the people traveling with her?"

"Ah, yes." The king moved the tax report aside. "Tell  me."

The scribe, who was, in fact, considerably more than a scribe, shrugged his shoulders. "There isn't much to tell. My contact says they're harmless. The Seers just think the girl is special because they couldn't see her future. Magical anomalies like that are rare, but they happen. And the medicine man has no magic. He just deals with herbs and such."

"What about the magician?"

"No more of a threat than any other magician. Just to sure, my contact had her collared."

"Good, good." The king nodded. "No point in taking risks. You've done well. You can tell your contact that."
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The plot thickens... and Jarlen gets called the "medicine man". I bet he'd love that.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 7


They'd been watching the small house for nearly half an hour. "I think it should be Silay." Riya's voice was low, just above a whisper. "Are you all right with that?"

Silay nodded. She still felt that this whole situation was her fault, so although she was nervous, she was willing to do what she needed to get them out of it. The room she had been tied up in had turned out to be in an abandoned building, well out of sight from any roads or paths. After wandering around, she, Jarlen, and Riya had manged to find a small spring. They'd drunk their fill, then followed it until it led them to this house. Now they were debating whether or not it was safe to approach it, and who would be the best person to do so.

"Well, here I go." Silay looked at her companions. "Luck?"

Jarlen nodded. "It will be fine."

"I'd go but..." Riya gave a rueful shrug.

"I understand." Lots of people were uneasy around magic, and the collar clearly marked Riya as a magician, even if a currently useless one. And Jarlen, tall as he was, might frighten whoever lived in the house.

Silay stepped out of the woods and approached the house. She hesitated a moment, then knocked on the door. There was clearly a fire burning inside, but no one answered. She knocked again, louder.
"Go away!"

"But..."

"I said, go away!" It was a woman's voice, gruff with age.

"Please. I-- We need help. We were attacked on the road."

"And I open the door and you'll attack me! Go before I call my dogs."

"Please!" Silay was surprised by how desperate her voice sounded. There was no response. She started to walk away, then thought of something. She turned back to the door. "My name is Silay Gallegis. I'm traveling with Jarlen, the alchemist, and Riya. The Seer of Dagrosa sent us. Maybe you've heard about us? We're trying to stop the plague."

Again, there was no response. Silay had just stepped off the front step when the voice spoke up, softer this time.

"Did you say Jarlen the alchemist?"

"Yes."

"Let me speak with him."

Silay waved Jarlen and Riya out of the woods.

"She wants to speak with you," she told Jarlen, when he reached her.

Jarlen shrugged and faced the door. "Hello?"

"Jarlen?"

"Yes."

"What is the danger of mixing of poppy oil with nutmeg?"

Jarlen blinked, taken aback. Then a grin spread across his face. "Healer Aibas?"

The door opened, revealing an old women with a small, though muscular, frame. "Well, if it isn't my worst student. What have you gotten yourself into this time?"

End of Chapter Seven: The Strange Magician.
Check in Wednesday for the Chapter Epilogue. 
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What is the danger of combing poppy oil and nutmeg? I have no idea, but it's probably not good. Placeholder herbs until I can do research on herb-lore. Also, I could not for the life of me come up with a name for Healer Aibas...then I saw a bandaid on my desk. Can you see what I did?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 6


Silay woke the next morning cold and stiff. Even worse, she was thirsty. More thirsty than she had ever been in her life. Carefully, she stood and slowly flexed her muscles. Jarlen was awake, sitting with his back against the wall. He nodded in greeting, dark circles under his eyes suggesting he hadn't slept at all. Riya was still asleep, curled up in a corner like a cat. Her face was pale.

Quietly, so she didn't wake Riya, Silay went through the stretches she had been taught. Once her muscles were warmed up, she did a few of Riya’s drills. Jarlen eventually stood up and joined her. After they had gone through two rounds of drills, he stopped. “We should wake her up.” He nodded towards the corner. “We need to find water, and food.”

Silay followed his gaze. “Is she all right?”

Jarlen shrugged. “The collar hurts her. And though she’s tried to hide it, I think she got injured in the fight.”

“Fight?”

“We were attacked when we reached the road. You didn't think we had wander off and abandoned you, did you?”

Silay shook her head. “I was attacked too. I just didn't…” she trailed off. “Well, there wasn't really much of a fight.”

Jarlen chuckled softly “You don’t become a swordmaster overnight.”

“Or even over a few years.”

Startled, Silay and Jarlen turned to face Riya.

“You’re awake!”

Riya gave Silay a small smile. “I noticed.” Yawning, she slowly climbed to her feet, leaning against the wall for support. “We need to find water.”

“We've already established that.” Jarlen crossed the room and grasped Riya's hand, helping to pull her upright. “Let’s go see what we can find.”

Wondered what happened to Jarlen and Riya?

 Check out the Alt. Perspectives tab to find out!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 5


Dimly aware of approaching footsteps, Silay forced herself into alertness. What now?

"Don't be frightened." It was Jarlen's voice! "It's just us."

Someone knelt by Silay's side, and gently removed the blindfold. Silay blinked. It was dim in the room, and it took her a moment to see Riya's face looking at her with concern. Riya removed the gagged. "Are you all right?"

"I think so. My head hurts, though."

Riya nodded, and quickly untied the ropes around Silay's wrists and ankles. She paused, looking at the dried blood on her wrists. "I should have taught you not to struggle against ropes. I wish we had something to put on that."

"I'm fine." Silay pulled her wrists out of Riya's grasp.

 Riya rocked back on her heels and settled on the ground. Jarlen joined them, slowly lowering himself to the floor. He looked at the two women.

"Well, this is quite the mess we've gotten ourselves into," he said.

"What happened?" Silay asked. "You were gone when I got to the road."

"Ambush." Riya rubbed her eyes. "And now we have no horses, and no supplies."

"And no magic." Jarlen looked pointedly at Riya. Silay followed his gaze.

"Riya! It's one of those collar things again, isn't it?"

Riya nodded.

"Can we cut it off? Remove it somehow?"

"They're spelled, Silay. Only someone with the counter-spell can remove it. Otherwise, what would be the point?"

"So, nothing?"

Jarlen and Riya both shook their heads no, and for the first time Silay noticed how worn they looked. Jarlen's left arm was wrapped up in a piece of his shirt, and Riya had a deep bruise spreading across her face. Silay dropped her head into her hands. "This is all my fault. I decided we should investigate the shouts."

Riya put her arm around Silay's shoulder. "You tried to do the right thing. And I don't think you could have kept me from trying to help anyways."

"But what do we do now?"

"We stay put." Jarlen stood up. "We have shelter for the night, and it's unlikely anyone will disturb us here.  Tomorrow we'll find food and water, and decided what to do from there."

Silay raised her head. "Well, at least we've learned something."

"What's that?"

"You were right, Riya. Someone is behind the plague."
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My 51st post just in time for the 50th  anniversary of Doctor Who!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Character Profile: Talis (may contain spoilers)


Age: 22
Height: 5'9"
Hair: Light brown
Eyes: Brown
Destiny/Occupation: To achieve greatness

It had been decades since a Hero had been born in Dagrosa when Talis received his Destiny. Though he isn't destined to be a Hero, greatness is considered a Hero-like destiny, and so dictated his training. Besides the basic education given to all children in Dagrosa, Talis was taught what is considered Hero skills: horseback riding, hand-to-hand combat, sword fighting, survival skills, etc.

Talis keeps his hair cut short. He typically wears soft leather pants tucked into his boots and un-dyed, cotton long-sleeved tunics. His tunic buttons at the wrists and is tucked into his pants. He wears a sword belt with two sheaths, one holding a sword and one holding a dagger.

Talis has always struggled with his Destiny. Though he wasn't a Hero, he left Dagrosa when he was 20 to begin a Quest in the hope of discovering his path to greatness. Since then he has travelled from city to city, gathering news, and going wherever he heard rumors about unrest, or anything else that might hint at trouble he could help fix. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 4


Silay heard a chair being dragged against the floor, stopping by her feet. There was a moment of silence, then the stranger began to speak.

"First, I should tell you that I have a spell which allows me to tell when lies are told. It would not be a good idea for you to lie to me.  Understand?"

Silay nodded, and immediately regretted it. Her head was still throbbing.

"Good. Let's start with the basics, shall we? What is your name?"

"Silay Gallegis." Her voice sounded strange in her ears.

"Thank you." There was a pause, then he continued. "I've been given to understand that people from your city are told their destinies. What is yours?"

For a moment, Silay considered lying. She was fairly certain the man's spell wouldn't work on her. But she didn't know what Talis had told him. "I don't have one."

"Why not?"

Silay shifted her position, and felt the tug of the ropes on her wrists and ankles. The longer she sat here, the tighter they felt. "I don't know. The Seer just couldn't see my future." Talking to a person she couldn't see was very disconcerting. She shifted again, straining against her bonds.

The man noticed. "You would be more comfortable if you didn't struggle." He paused. "Tell me what it is you and your companions are trying to do."

"Stop the plague." The man had yet to ask any questions Talis didn't already know the answer to.

"And how do you plan to do this?"

Silay struggled to sit up straighter, the advice Jarlen had given her back when she'd first met him running through her mind. Be confident. "That's none of your business!"

The man laughed. "Shall I tell you what I think? I think you don't know. Your Seers have seen the results of a plague, but try as the might, they can't see how it began. And so they've sent the one other thing they can't see anything about to try to stop it."

"That's not true!"

The man laughed again. "I don't need a truth spell to tell you're lying. Kade was right. You present no threat."  Silay heard a scraping sound, and when the man spoke again, his voice came from further above her head. "I think we have wasted our time here." There were footsteps as he crossed the room again. "Gag her. She's of no further use, and we have business elsewhere."

"We're just going to leave her?" It was Talis' voice.

"Be grateful my orders aren't to kill her. Do as you're told."

Silay felt Talis' hand near her mouth and twisted. Her teeth closed down on something soft.

"Ow!" The hand jerked away.

From across the room, the man chuckled. "I'm beginning to think you're as useless as she is. Now hurry up."

Silay struggled as Talis tried to get the gag in her mouth, but he was stronger than her and finally succeeded. She heard to two sets of footsteps walk away, and then a door slammed. Silay struggled against the ropes, ignoring the pain as they rubbed against her skin. She had to get out. She had no idea where she was, or if anyone would find her. But the ropes didn't give, and eventually she leaned back against the wall,  exhausted. The pain in her head was increasing, and she was having trouble breathing through the gag. She had to calm herself down. Forcing herself to breath slowly, she began to fall into a kind of half-sleep, half-stupor.
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Here are the important questions: Where are Jarlen and Riya? Who is the strange man? What has Talis gotten himself into? How am I going to write Silay out of this situation? And, of course...What happened to the character profile I said would go up on Wednesday?
Check back on Monday for the answer to one of these questions. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 3


Her head was the first thing Silay noticed. It felt like someone was hammering on her skull. She kept her eyes closed, hoping the pain would go away. It didn’t, but the pounding sound in her ears lessened. She opened her eyes. Everything was still dark. Had something happened to her eyes? But no. She could feel the cloth pressing against her forehead. A blindfold. She tried to take it off, and for the second time in her life found that her hands and been bound behind her back. Talis! It had been Talis again. And someone else. Kade. The seer Riya had sent her to back at the festival.

Gently, Silay tugged at the ropes around her wrist. They didn’t move. Her ankles, too, were tied together. At least she seemed to be propped against a wall instead of tied to a tree. She carefully took stock of her situation. She was tied up, blindfolded, and gagged, but other than her head, nothing else seemed to be hurt. That was good at least. If only she knew where she was, or what had happened to Riya or Jarlen.

“I think your friend is awake.” It was a man’s voice, one Silay didn't recognize.

“I told you, she’s not my friend.” The second speaker was Talis. “When will Kade be back?”

“When he’s done.”

“Done with what?”

“That’s not your concern.” A pause. “Check on the girl.”

Footsteps moved towards her, than a hand touched her face. Silay flinched and the hand pulled back.

“By the gods, Silay. I’m not going to hurt you.” Talis’ voice was right in front of her. “I’m just taking the gag out.”

The other man spoke. “You can yell, if you want. But I've warded the room against sound.”

Silay doubted she could have yelled even if she wanted to. Just the thought of loud noises made her head throb. She held still while Talis removed her gag. Something pressed against her mouth. A waterskin. Silay managed to gulp down a mouthful before Talis pulled it back.

“Where are Riya and Jarlen?” Her voice was raspy.

“They are secured. Like you.” Another set of footsteps moved toward her, someone with a longer stride than Talis. “There are some questions we would like to ask you.”
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Dun, dun, dahhhh! Intrigue, suspense, danger, and a splitting headache! What will happen next? Will Silay escape her captors? Tune back next week for the continuing adventure of Undestined!!!
Or, tune in on Wednesday to see a new character profile of Talis.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 2


“What’s wrong?” Asked Kade. “Not the people you were hoping to see?”

Silay stepped back. She could almost imagine she heard Jarlen and Riya reminding her of her training. Keep as much distance as possible between yourself and your opponent. That was why Jarlen preferred a sword. A sword! Silay had carried one on her horse ever since she’d started taking lessons from Jarlen. She took another step back, keeping her eyes on the two men, who were watching her carefully.

“What are you doing, girl?”

If you’re frightened, don’t talk. It will only give your fear away. That was Riya. Silay stepped back again, this time feeling for the horse behind her. She slowly stretched her arm along the saddle until she felt her scabbard. Never taking her eyes off her opponents, she drew the sword. The horse shied away, and she almost lost her balance, but managed to stay standing. Always keep the point of your sword pointed at the enemy. They must go through it to get to you. Jarlen again.

Kade laughed, not exactly the response Silay had hoped for. He nodded to Talis beside him. “According to your friend, you could barely even manage a knife a few weeks ago. You expect me to believe you can use a sword now?”

“Silay, please, just put down the sword.” Talis almost sounded like he was pleading. “There’s no need to fight. Jarlen and Riya aren’t able to help you.”

“Listen to him, girl. He’s trying to help you.”

Silay’s eyes flicked from Talis to Kade. Something wasn’t right here.

There was a sound behind her. Silay pivoted around, and slammed into something solid. The sword jerked from her hand, and she fell backward. Her head hit the road, and everything went black. 
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From time to time I read lists titled along the lines of "Cliches to Avoid While Writing" or the like. Interestingly enough, none of these have ever included the line "everything went black". Maybe I just read a lot of fantasy (okay, that's almost all I read), but this is a seriously overused phrased (in fact, it's the second time I've used it in this story). Also, I feel like it ignores the important issue of concussions. I'm betting pretty much all heroes in stories have had a concussion at some point, but no one ever addresses this.

Sorry if this post is a little lackluster. The original version was great before my computer ate it. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chapter 7, Pt. 1


They were approaching another intersection between the main road and their path when Silay pulled on her horse's reigns, and was momentarily surprised when he actually stopped. “Did you hear that?” She asked.

Jarlen and Riya circled back to her. “Hear what?”

“It sounded like…” a shout came from the direction of the main road. “…that.”

Riya turned towards the road. “That sounded like a call for help.”

There was a another cry, this one higher pitched. Jarlen frowned. “It sounds like a child.” He looked at Silay. “What should we do?”

Silay was startled. “Why are you asking me?”

“Because this is your unquest. Your mission. You decide what we do. Go on our way or investigate.”

Silay looked back and forth between him and Riya, who were both looking at her expectantly. She wasn't sure she liked this sudden feeling of being in charge. She sighed. “We investigate.”

Silay tried to point her horse towards the main road, but only succeeded in making it take a few steps sideways. Riya had galloped off as soon as Silay had spoken. Jarlen waited to make sure she got her horse pointed in the right direction, then raced after Riya. Silay followed them at a slower pace. She was still nervous about riding the horse at faster speeds.

When Silay reached the intersection, she didn't see anyone. “Riya? Jarlen?” There wasn't an answer. Unable to get the horse to circle around so she could look down the rest road, she dismounted. She couldn't see anyone in any direction. “Hello?” Still no answer. Silay turned to get back on the horse when she heard a noise behind her. She whirled around. “Riya?”

“Guess again.”

From the bushes beside the road, two figures emerged. Talis and Kade. 
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Yay! Some old faces are back (less exiting, perhaps, for Silay)
So, I had this post and the next all written, when *poof!* they vanished from my tablet :(. So this is my second version of it. I liked the first better, but it appears to have completely vanished from every location I can think it might have saved to. Also... some insight to my writing environment. While I as planning for Kade's encounter with the group (yes, I do plan...a little), my husband found my list of possible results of the meeting and added his own suggestion: "Kade makes them go fishing and they all eat fish. Fish, fish, fish!" This will not be happening. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chapter 6 Epilogue


"How do they function?"

"Sire?" The scribe looked up from his work to see the king pacing in front of the map again. The map was huge, taking up nearly an entire wall in the scriptorium, and showed the different cities of Ohicink.

"Them!" The king thrust an angry finger against the wall. "How do they function? No king, no ruler, just cities all with their own little laws running amok. It should not work!"

The scribe pushed aside the documents he was working on and joined the king by the map. He was, of course, right. By all accounts, Ohicink should not exist as it is. Other un-unified lands either fought amongst themselves until they were conquered by another country, or one of the cities rose to power over the other. Yet Ohicink had remained unconquered and peaceful for as long as any records showed. Which was, of course, why something had to be done. It just wasn't right, a country like that.

The scribe reminded the king of this. "Give it time. The Magicians say it won't be long now."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 5


Silay continued to think about Healers, magic and the plague until they stopped to rest the horses and eat.

Riya reached behind Silay's ear and held up her hand, now containing a small coin. "Copper for your thoughts."

Silay smiled and took the coin, vanishing it like she had when she had first met Riya at the inn. "Just thinking about the plague."

"What about it?"

"Well... I was wondering... if it could be magical somehow."

Jarlen looked up at this. "You mean because it can kill the Healers?"

Silay nodded. "I don't know much about magic, but from what you said earlier, it sounds like it just naturally burns up any disease. So if it doesn't..."

"Then something is stopping it. Like another magic." Riya looked at Jarlen. "Is that possible? I haven't exactly studied magic either. It's just something I do."

Jarlen rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I've never heard of such a thing, but I suppose, technically, it would be possible. There is one way we could find out for certain."

"What's that?"

Jarlen looked at Silay. "If, when we get to Dilest, you don't become sick."

Riya raised her eyebrows. "Any other way to find out? Without exposing ourselves to disease?"

Jarlen shrugged. "I'll think about it."

"There's one thing that bothers me about your idea, Silay."

Silay looked at Riya. "Just one?"

"All right, several things. But one more than any other." She paused. "If the plague is magic in nature, then that suggests someone created it." Riya looked at the two startled faces staring at her. "That's what worries me," she said grimly.

End of Chapter 6: Concerning Magic
Check back Wednesday for the Chapter Epilogue

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 I've struggled with the plague plot ever since I developed it. How do you make an antagonist out of a disease? And then... Silay started to wonder about the causes of the plague. It's always a little surprising when my characters have better ideas than me. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 4


It took Riya much longer to meet back up with Jarlen and Silay than they had expected. Silay looked at her with concern when she finally showed up.

"Is everything all right?"

Riya held up the bag of supplies she had gotten. "Mostly. People were glad for the business. It seems all the towns and cities are blocking visitors. I had to prove I had magic before they would let me in, though."

Silay thought about this while they re-packed the supplies and started off down the road. "But you aren't a Healer."

Riya glanced back at her. "Where did that come from?"

"I was just thinking. You said you were safe because you had magic. But I thought only Healers could...well, heal."

Jarlen snorted. "That's what they want people to think. Truth is, anyone with magic can heal themselves. What sets Healers apart is that they can heal others."

Riya nodded in agreement. "My magic burns up any diseases that get inside of me. When a Healer helps someone else, they don't actually burn up the sickness inside the other person. They draw the sickness into themselves, then burn it up inside of them. It takes a lot of training."

"The problem is," Jarlen interjected, "They don't always get all of the disease out of a person. And people get so reliant on them that they don't take basic precautions to prevent themselves from getting sick in the first place."

Silay followed this exchange with interest. Magic had always fascinated her, especially since it didn't seem to affect her. "So, if I got sick..."

Jarlen gave her a smile. "You'd have to come see me. Or another alchemist. A Healer wouldn't be able to help you."

"All right. But here's what I don't understand. One Healer has already died from the plague. And the Seers have seen others dying."

Silence answered her. Finally, Jarlen spoke up. "That's what makes this plague so dangerous."
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Some more information on how magic works. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 3


The next morning, no one joined Silay for her training, so she got up and ran through the exercises Riya had taught her first, then the few sword drills she had learned from Jarlen. When she finished, she built up a small fire and started heating what remained of their bread for breakfast. She had just started boiling water when Riya came out of the tent. Her eyes were red with dark circles under them.

Riya looked at the pot of water. "Oh, good. Tea." She nodded at Silay. "Thanks. And good morning."

"Good morning." Silay took the pot off the fire and added the tea leaves to it to seep while Riya walked off in the direction of the privy they had dug last night.

When Riya came back, Silay poured tea into cups for each them. They sat in silence for a moment. Finally, Riya spoke. "I'm sorry about last night."

Silay shrugged. "It's all right."

"No, it's not. What we're doing... what you're doing... it's important. Too important to let past problems get in the way. The future has enough problems of it's own."

"If there is a future." The two women jumped at the sound of Jarlen's voice. He walked over to the fire and accepted a cup of tea from Silay before sitting down. He looked at Riya. "I truly don't know if I can find it in myself to forgive you. But I can set the past aside for the sake of the future. It will be helpful to have someone who knows about magic with us." He paused, shifting his gaze between Silay and Riya. "Is that acceptable to you?"

Silay desperately wanted to ask about  what had happened after Riya stole the Wardstone, but felt this wasn't the time to ask. Instead, she nodded her assent to Jarlen's proposal, as did Riya.

"Good." Jarlen stood and stretched out his back and arms. He pulled a small bag of coins from his pocket and tossed it to Riya. "Your plan for getting supplies is the best. Silay and I will stay on this road, and you can take the main road through Fela. The roads join up again just outside the city."

Riya pocketed the coins then also stood. "Let's get going then."

As Silay helped break down the camp, she noticed that while Riya and Jarlen still didn't speak to one another, they also weren't actively avoiding each other. She was surprised by the amount of relief she felt at this. Apparently the tension between the two had been bothering her more than she had realized. But now that concern was gone, Silay felt her worry about the plague growing stronger. Both Jarlen and Riya felt that they were doing something important. The problem was, Silay still had no idea what she was going to do.


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There are a lot of pacing issues in this story, I know. Not to mention some struggles with keeping a consistent voice between all the characters. This is because this blog is essentially a rough draft of a story. I edit each individual post, but I don't go back and edit the piece as a whole. Which has some mixed results. Once I do finish the story, however, I plan to go back and smooth things out. 

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Also, check out the new 'Artwork' tab! Thanks to Lirantha for sharing her sketch of Silay. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chapter 6, Pt. 2


The days quickly fell into a pattern. Ride until dusk, set up camp, and fighting lessons first thing in the morning. After his comment about 'dirty fighting' Jarlen started alternating days with Riya, teaching Silay the basics of fencing, with two of the swords he had packed. While Silay found this interesting, she secretly thought that Riya's lesson were more useful. She didn't say anything about it though, for fear of stirring up trouble between her two companions.

The growing silence between Jarlen and Riya was the one thing Silay couldn't understand. Neither had done anything to openly offend the other, at least as far as she could tell, but the animosity between them was clear. Riya had said that some people just didn't like magic, but Silay wondered if it was more than that. Of course, Jarlen could just be upset about the delay Riya had caused by getting herself and Silay arrested. Either way, they continued to go out of their way to avoid each other, until, after a week on the road, Riya approached Jarlen at dinner.

"We're running low on food. We can ration, but it would be better if we could stop and restock."

Jarlen rubbed his chin, which he had somehow managed to keep clean-shaven, but before he could answer, Silay chimed in.

"I could fish!"

Riya looked at her. "When? While you're trying to ride your horse, or during the few hours of sleep you get?"

"I could skip training tomorrow."

"No!"

 "Absolutely not!"

Silay blinked. She was pretty sure it was the first time she had heard Riya and Jarlen agree on something. "It was a just a suggestion."

Riya smiled. "I know. And if it comes to that, I can hunt. But hunting and fishing take time," she glanced at Jarlen, "and time is something we don't have a lot of. Well, that and food," she amended. "The best thing would be to go through a town and pick up supplies along our way."

Jarlen straightened his back. "I haven't been keeping us to side paths for the fun of it, you know."

"The plague, right?" Silay looked at Jarlen, and he nodded. "We don't know what causes it yet, and still aren't sure of the early signs. If one of us got sick..." Her voice trailed off, and Riya raised her eyebrows.

"You mean if you get sick, Silay," she said. "Jarlen and I are just along for the ride, remember? You're the one that doesn't have death in her future."

"Because I have nothing in my future, for all the good that does me," Silay retorted. The group lapsed into silence for a moment, before Silay spoke again. "So, supplies?"

Riya nodded. "I'm no Healer, but my magic should protect me at least from getting sick. I could cut through one of the smaller towns, pick up supplies, and then meet back up with you."

"And by 'pick up', you mean steal, I suppose?" Jarlen asked lazily.

Riya's eyes flashed. "By 'pick up' I mean buy."

"With whose money?" When Riya didn't answer, Jarlen gave a triumphant "hmph."

"Look, I didn't exactly plan to end up on a month long quest to stop a plague when I left Surwas"

"Which, if I remember correctly,"Jarlen replied, "you did because you had stolen Silay's Farstone."

"That was an accident." Riya jumped to her feet. "What the hell is your problem? I've tried my best to stay out of your way, but you  just can't le me be. So tell me! What is it? What is you hate about me so much?"

Jarlen stood slowly, until he was taller than Riya. He looked down, meeting her eyes. "I was called to Sojan for help. After you had stolen their Wardstone."

Riya sat down as suddenly as she had stood up. "Oh."

"Oh?" Jarlen wasn't yelling, but he might as well had been. "Is that all you have to say? 'Oh'? People died there, Riya, and there was no need for that to have happened. People died because of you."

Riya looked up, meeting his eyes. "I know. Which is why I turned myself in and got it back for them."  She glanced back down, towards the fire. "That was it, you know. The end of my time as a thief. I've never forgiven myself for what happened."

"Nor I have I."

With that comment, Jarlen rose and went to his tent.

Silay looked at Riya, and was surprised to see tears in her eyes. "Riya, are you all right?"

Riya brushed her hand across her eyes. "I'm fine!" Then, so soft that Silay could barely hear it, Riya whispered, "I'm always fine." She got up and went into the tent she and Silay shared.

Silay sat by the fire for a few minutes longer, before putting it out and heading to bed herself.
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So... a little backstory on Riya and Jarlen. Don't worry, there'll be more.
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I was reading the introduction to an Orson Scott Card book (I, I know, he's a jerk, but he is a good writer), and he was describing the difficulty of distinguishing between different characters, and how each character is different depending on whom they're with. So not only is there Silay, there's also Silay-with-Riya, Silay-with-Jarlen, and Silay-with-Riya-and-Jarlen. And so on, for each character. Which is a lot to keep track of. I have noticed that as a result of this, Silay has lately become more of a background character. After all, it's Riya and Jarlen who are the experienced travelers. They might just be "along for the ride", but they know more about riding than Silay and so have taken charge. But don't worry... Silay is still the main character here, and I won't let her fall by the wayside.
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P.S. You may have noticed the invite to share artwork at the top of the page. If not, scroll up and check it out :)