Sometimes, you have to make your own destiny.

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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, June 30, 2013

Chapter 5, Pt. 3

Silay thought the guard was coming to bring food the next morning, so she was surprised to hear keys turning in the lock. The door opened, revealing two of the Guardsmen who had arrested them. The one holding the key ring jerked his head to the side. "Out. Follow me."

Exchanging worried glances, Riya and Silay fell in between the two Guardsmen, one in front of them, one behind. They followed him back along the route that had taken them to their cell, and up the stairs to the ground floor of the Guard House. They went into a room off the central entrance. A man was standing there, waiting for them.

Silay looked around the room. Stacked on the floor in front of the man was all of her and Riya's belongings. She then looked up at the man, and her eyes widened in surprise. "Jarlen!"

The alchemist grinned at Silay, then glanced at the Guards. "I will take it from here."

One of the men hesitated for a moment. "You do understand that you are responsible for the actions of the thief?"

Jarlen nodded. "I understand."

"All right then." The Guardsman removed the collar from Riya's neck and started to leave, but turned back at the door. His eyes flicked quickly over the three people in the room. "Good luck." With that, he pivoted on his foot and left.

Riya rubbed her neck where the collar had been as she watched the Guard leave. "What was that?"

Jarlen tossed her a pack from the floor, and Riya caught it instinctively. "Grab your bags and follow me. I'll explain as we go."

Riya shouldered the pack, and grabbed another one, looking at Jarlen through narrow eyes. "So, I'm free to go?"

Jarlen helped Silay pick up her bags before straightening and answering Riya. "In a sense. You're free to come with me. Well," he amended, "You're free to go with Silay."

"With me?" Silay looked up in surprise from tying her dagger back on.

"With you." Jarlen raised his eyebrows. "I thought I told you that the Seer had asked people to be on the lookout for you. Did it not occur to you to demand to speak with the city seer or Healer?"

Silay's cheeks reddened. "No. It didn't."

"It should have." Jarlen hoisted the last pack onto his shoulders. "But that's not important anymore. We need to get moving. I have horses waiting for us."

"But what about..."

"I've arranged for your donkey and wagon to be boarded."

"All right." Riya dropped the bags she was carrying. "But I'm not going anywhere until I know the conditions of my release."

Jarlen glanced at Silay. "You know, when I said you should find someone to travel with, perhaps I should have been more specific."

"Riya's my friend!" Silay words were defensive, and proclamation surprised here, but she realized it was true. "Besides, she can help. She knows magic."

"Which is the reason I gave the City Council as to why she should be allowed to accompany us in this unquest of yours." He sighed. "Thanks to Talis, there's no longer any secret about the plague. I explained why Silay might be able to stop it and that you," he looked at Riya, "were assisting her. It was decided that if you succeed, you'll be a hero, and if you don't, you'll die earlier than you would if you stayed here. Either way, in light of the plague, punishing you seemed a bit arbitrary." 

Riya picked up the bags she'd dropped. "Thanks then, I suppose." She gave a sarcastic bow.

"There's still a problem." Jarlen and Riya turned to look at Silay. "I don't know how to ride a horse."
A little less suspenseful of an ending than the last few posts. And now there's another character joining the unquest! Dealing with dialogue between more than two characters is a challenge for me (perhaps because I also struggle with that in real life), but challenges are how you grow. Hopefully, it won't be so painful you don't want to keep reading. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chapter 5, Pt. 2

Silay sat on the floor, leaning against the back of their cell. Riya was pacing back and forth in the small space, tugging at the leather cuff around her neck.

"Would you stop?!" Silay snapped.

"Sorry." Riya slumped against the wall next to her.

Silay looked at her sideways. "Care to explain?"

Riya gave the collar another tug. "It keeps me from doing magic."

"Yes, I figured that out, on account of you not having unlocked the door. I meant, why have we been arrested?"

Riya sighed. "Remember when I said I'd had a bad experience here?" When Silay nodded, Riya continued. "I got caught stealing the orb that powered the city's wards.

Silay gave a low whistle. Bigger cities, like Sojan, used powerful wards to guard their walls. The wards were kept powered by bespelled orbs, almost like giant Farstones. If Farstones were valuable, the ward-stones were at least ten times their worth.

"Exactly." Riya nodded. "I was imprisoned here for a year, working off my debt to the city. When I was released, I was banned from returning."

"And you didn't think to mention this when you suggested we come here?"

Riya shrugged. "It's been a long time. I didn't think anyone would recognize me."

"You have a yellow donkey!"

"I didn't last time I was here," Riya snapped defensively.

"And you didn't think anyone here might know you do now?" Silay shook her head. "If you had told me, I could have gone in by myself and gotten the supplies we needed."

"I know." Riya rubbed her eyes. "That makes sense, now."

"Now?!" Silay jumped to her feet. "How about yesterday? How about before we got arrested?"

"Silay, please don't yell at me." Riya's voice was weary.

"Don't yell? This was me giving you a second chance after you stole from me! I trusted you again and you got me arrested!" She drew a breath. "And on top of it all, while we are sitting in jail, Talis is out doing gods know what!"

"Silay, shut up!" Riya's shout echoed around the cell, and Silay took a startled step back. "I'm sorry. I made a mistake. You have every right to be mad, just please..." she shut her eyes and massaged her temples. "Please stop yelling," she finished softly.

Silay's brow furrowed in concern. "Are you all right?"

Riya shook her head. "Magic isn't just something I do. It's part of me. Having it blocked isn't just an inconvenience. It hurts. A lot." She sighed. "I was stupid. I made a mistake, and I'll pay the price. I'm sorry you got dragged into this, but you'll be fine. You didn't steal the Farstone. That will be easy enough to prove, and then they'll send you on your way."

"And you?"

"I'll be fine." Riya gave a small smile. "I always am."
Riya's past catches up with here, and we learn a little more about the nature of magic. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chapter 5, Pt. 1

Riya had shot upright when the pounding on the door started. When the voice called "City Watch," she grabbed her bag and ran to the window. She grasped the frame and struggled to open it.

"Help me out here," she hissed.

Silay joined her by the window. "Riya, what on earth..." she was cut off by another shout from outside the door.

"Open up!" The pounding stopped as suddenly as it had begun.

Silay turned to look at the door, just as the frame splintered and the door swung in. Two men and one woman wearing the City Guard uniform rushed into the room. Riya was still struggling with the window when one of the men grabbed her. He held her still, hands behind he back, while the woman snapped a leather cuff around her neck. The second man moved towards Silay, but when he saw she wasn't trying to go anywhere, he stepped back and blocked the door. Riya, still being held by the first Guardsman, dropped her head. "Sorry," she whispered, glancing sideways at Silay.

The Guardsman at the door surveyed the room. "Riya Quillman, you are under arrest for entering the city walls of Sojan".

Riya squirmed against the man's grasp. "You have no right to hold me here."

The Guardsman raised his eyebrows. "We have every right. You were banned from Sojan three years ago."

Riya scowled. "Fine. But let her go." She nodded at Silay. "She's done nothing wrong."

"Nothing expect traveling with a known thief," the Guardswoman interjected.

Silay, who had been frozen since the Guard broke down the door, looked up at that. "I'm not a thief".

"That remains to be seen." The man by the door nodded at the woman. "Search her."

The woman stepped towards Silay, causing her to flinch. The Guardswoman noticed. "'S'alright, girl. I'm not going to hurt you." She quickly ran her hands down Silay's arms and legs and found the pouch containing the Farstone, which Silay kept on her even when asleep. "What do we have here?" The Guardswoman turned the pouch upside down over her hand. Her eyes widened, and she held up the Farstone so the other Guards could see.

"Not a thief, huh?"

"I'm not!" Silay reached out to grab the Stone, but the Guardswoman stepped back out of reach. "That's mine. It was given to me."

"Young girl, traveling with a thief, in possession of a valuable magical object?" The Guardswoman shook her head. "That doesn't look good."

The man at the door nodded in agreement. "Arrest her, too."
Because what sort of adventure story doesn't have its main character thrown in prison?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Chapter 4 Epilogue

Healers, once they took their oaths, never stayed in one place for more than a year or two. They were assigned to regions, and rotated regularly so they could learn new things and share that knowledge with each other.

The Healer in Dilest had nearly forgotten about the boy with the fever when he was called to the side of an old fisherman. The man had a slight fever, and shallow cough, nothing unusual. The Healer took the diseases into himself, then went home to recover. He awoke the next morning to a pounding on his door. The fisherman's fever had come back, even worse than before, and now there were small red sores covering his arms and chest. And three other people in the village had fallen ill.

He didn't dare do another Healing so close to his last, but he went to inspect the sick. A young girl. A middle aged man. A teenage boy. All from different households, all different ages, all with the same symptoms. The Healer returned home and contacted the other Healers and and seers who had been watching for the plague. His message was short. "It has begun. Send help."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chapter 4, Pt. 6

Sojan, like Griffin, was a walled city. Unlike Griffin, it had no barricade blocking the road. Silay and Riya entered without trouble and, after asking directions, had made their way to an inn. After seeing to the donkey and the wagon, they had settled down to their own meal.

"Mmmmm." Silay took a long sip of the strong and sweet hot tea in her mug.

Riya looked at her over the mug of beer in her own hand and grinned. "Sure you don't want anything stronger?"

"Nope. This is perfect." Silay surveyed the empty plate and bowl on the table in front her. "I don't think I've ever been this hungry." Even though they had been less than two days from Sojan, Riya had insisted they ration their food 'just in case'.

Riya snatched a remaining olive off Silay's plate. "Welcome to life on the road. Not as glamorous as your books make it out to be, huh?"

Silay shook her head. "The stories leave out all the boring parts, walking, eating, sleeping. But it turns out those are the hardest things to do."

"Speaking of sleeping..." Riya pushed her chair back from the table. "Let's pay for our meal, and head up to the room."

Silay also stood, and after paying the innkeeper, followed Riya up the stairs. The inn wasn't very crowded, so they were fortunate enough to have a room to themselves. When Silay got there, Riya was sitting in the center of the room. There seemed to be a line running around the room, glowing faintly. Silay stepped over it as she entered.


Riya smiled. "It's a kind of ward. It will keep anyone from eavesdropping on us."

"Doesn't look like any kind of ward I've ever seen."

"My own spell. My specialty is illusions, remember? Only this one tricks the ears instead of the eyes."

"And we're tricking people's ears because...?"

"Because it's time we check in with your Seer."

Silay nodded her agreement, and joined Riya on the floor. She took the Farstone from its pouch and handed it to Riya. Riya wrapped her hand around it, then closed her eyes, concentrating. After a few minutes, the stone began to glow. A voice came from it.

"Riya, again, unless I'm much mistaken."

"It's me. But I'm with Silay this time." Silay didn't bother speaking. She and the Seer had experimented with the Stone before she'd left, and her voice didn't carry through it.

"Good. She is safe?"

"Yes. Talis had attacked her, but she's fine now. But Talis knows about the plague. He's...."

The Seer cut Riya off. "I know. Griffin is not the only city he's warned. The situation is getting worse. Jarlen has left to join you."


"Silay will explain. Stay put in Sojan until he arrives. It should be tomorrow or the next day."

"We'll wait."

"Good." The Seer paused. "The best of luck to all of you. The visions of the plague are becoming more and more confused. I'm not sure of anything I see anymore."

"We'll be careful".

"Good," the Seer repeated. "Take care. I will contact you if I learn of anything new."


Feeling clean for the first time since she had left Dagrosa, Silay gratefully climbed into bed. She hadn't slept under a roof in over a week. She was deep asleep when she was startled awake by fists pounding on the door.

"City Guard! Open up!"

*End of Chapter Four, Trust and Betrayal*
Check back Wednesday for the Chapter Epilogue
Uh-oh. What do they want? And what is Talis up to? So many questions. so little time... well, actually, just until next week. I hate chapters that end with cliffhangers, don't you?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Chapter 4, Pt. 5

"This is bad." Silay patted the donkey on the nose. They had stopped at the branch of the road to regroup. "The Seer wanted to keep the plague secret to avoid panic. Who knows what could happen now." She paused, her hand moving to the pouch that contained the Farstone. "Maybe we should call her."

Riya shook her head. "Not on the road. You don't want to tempt thieves."

"Like you?" Silay met Riya's eyes, then looked down. "Sorry".

Riya shrugged. "It's true. Not nice, but true." She sighed, then stood and walked over to the wagon, pulling hers and Silay's bags down. "Let's check our supplies and the map, and figure out what we want to do next."


They looked at the supplies they had laid out. "That's..." Silay paused, counting, "not very much."

Riya shook her head. "I left in a hurry, and you only brought enough food for one. Even if we ration, that's three days, tops." She looked at the map in her hands. "Which means we have to stop at Sojan. It's about a day and a half away."

Silay took the map. "A day and a half in the wrong direction."

"Which means Talis won't have gone there." Riya traced a route with her finger. "It's a longer way around, but we can get to Dilest this way. We'll board the donkey and rent a couple of horses. With luck, Talis is still on foot."

"I don't know. It just seems like long way around."

Riya's voice was grim. "Look, I don't like it either. I had a bad experience in Sojan once and am in no hurry to go back again. But at this point it's go there, or head back to Surwas. We don't have enough food to do anything else." She looked at Silay. "Your call."

Silay rubbed her eyes. "I guess we keep going forward, then."

"All right. Now help me load the wagon back up."
Well, Talis wanted to delay Silay. He's certainly done a good job of it. You're welcome that I didn't give a whole list of the supplies Riya and Silay have (unless you were hoping for one? In which case, sorry).