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, February 23, 2014

Chapter 8, Pt. 8


They had gotten a later start than they had planned to, and the moon was already beginning to show herself when they finally arrived in Turvew. The thought of an inn, with beds and warm food, was about the only thing that had kept Silay slogging forward along the road as she tried to keep up with Jarlen's long strides. Now he had stopped just outside the town's gate. Silay peered around him and saw the door was wide open.

"That's odd. I thought everyone had closed off their towns to travelers."

"They should have." Riya joined Silay. The journey had been harder on her than on the others, and though her face was lined with pain, she was trying not to show it.

Jarlen took a step back. "Something is wrong."

"We should investigate."

The group turned and stared at Talis. "What? Isn't that what you all are supposed to be doing? Figuring out what's wrong, and fixing it?"

Silay glared at Talis. "Last time we investigated something, we were ambushed."

"All right then." Before anyone could stop him, Talis stepped through the gate. There was a silence before he spoke again. "So...there doesn't seem to be an ambush, but I do think you all should come see this."

Jarlen and Riya glanced to Silay, who shuffled her feet, uncomfortable with the looks and knowing what they meant. They wanted her to make a decision again. She took a deep breath, and turned towards the gate. Jarlen and Riya followed her, and they all joined Talis, who was staring at the sight.

"Gods." Riya swore under her breath. "It looks like...."

"Sojan." Jarlen finished her thought. "After you-- after they lost their Wardstone."

"Where is everyone?" Silay looked around, but the only movement she saw was from the birds picking at crumbs on the ground. She jumped when Jarlen placed his hand on her shoulder.

"That," he said, "is a very good question."
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Because it ain't a fantasy story until the heroes find an abandoned town. 

P.S. Have you liked the Facebook page, but don't see updates in your newsfeed? You have to visit the Facebook page every now and then, or 'like' an occasional post on the page to keep updates showing in your newsfeed. This goes for any other pages you like but don't see updates for. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chapter 8, Pt. 7


Before setting up a watch and getting some sleep, they got the rest of the story from Talis. After Kade had hired Talis, the two of them had gone back to investigate the area where Talis had captured Silay. There, Kade had gathered bits of bark and rope that Silay and Riya had left behind. All with Silay's blood on it.

Riya shook her head. "That couldn't have been a lot of blood. I doubt it's enough to use for any kind of spell."

"They knew where to find us," Jarlen pointed out. "Is it possible Wrigcyn's been tracking us?"

"He'd have to be an incredibly strong magician to work with such a small amount of blood," Riya was still doubtful.

"But what if he is?" Jarlen pressed.

"Then there is nothing we can do about it tonight." Riya stood. "I'll take first watch. Silay's idea about tying up Talis might not be a bad one for the night."

Talis protested, but Jarlen tied his arms together loosely, just tight enough that he wouldn't be able to escape easily. None of them slept well that night.
***
Silay woke up early the next morning and made her way out of the tent, careful not to wake Riya, who probably needed sleep more than any of them. Jarlen was already up, sitting by small fire. Next to him, Talis was scowling and making a show of rubbing his wrists where Jarlen had bound him.

Jarlen stood. "Want to train?" He held out the sword Aibas had given them since their others had been stolen. Silay had borrowed it the night before when going to get water. Now she shook her head.

"Why bother? Every time I've had a chance to use it, I just stood there."

"Because it's not about using the sword. It's about using your feet."

Silay glared at Talis. "Who asked you?"

He shrugged. "I saw you draw your sword when we attacked you. You handle it fine. You just didn't know how to move."

"And you do?"

"Hero training, remember?"

"He might be right," Jarlen cut in before Silay could respond. "And if so, it's my fault. I'm hardly a sword-master, and I've never tried to teach someone before. Starting with the weapon seemed to make the most sense, given the limited training time we had."

Talis had started shaking his head before Jarlen had finished. "I spent a year learning footwork before I started to seriously use a weapon."

Silay hesitated, pride arguing with reason. "Show me."

Talis stood and stretched out, then looked pointedly at the sword in Jarlen's hand.

He raised his eyebrows. "You're the one who said she had to learn footwork. You can teach that without a sword."

Talis grinned. "Worth a try." He turned to Silay. "Let's see what you know."
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I could give a play-by-play of footwork practice, but nobody enjoys that (trust me, no one. It's the most important part of fencing, but let's be honest, all everyone wants to do is to get to play with the sword). So, you're welcome for that. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chapter 8, Pt. 6


Talis refused to talk until he ate, and looking at his rough state, Jarlen and Riya had accepted his terms, though Silay personally felt they ought to hit him over the head and leave him tied to a tree. But calmer minds won out, and they were now all sitting around the fire, eating a small meal.

Finally, Jarlen set his bowl aside, and leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees as he faced Talis. "So, some questions first. How did you find us?"

"I've been following you since you escaped.  Wrigcyn figured you'd get out eventually, and left me to watch."

"Wrigcyn?"

Talis nodded. "The magician." He noticed the change in mood as he said this. "Look, that's really all I know about him. He hired Kade, and Kade hired me."

"Hired you to do what?"

"That's not important."

"Oh?" Jarlen raised his eyebrows. "It is to us."

"Hey, I could have killed Silay back there, and I didn't. I came to you for help!"

"Help you wouldn't have gotten if you had killed Silay," Riya observed. "So that's rather a moot point."

"Not to me!" Silay felt it was time to interject, but fell silent at a glance from Jarlen. Clearly, her input wasn't required at the moment.

Talis stared at the ground for a moment before speaking again. "Look, I never wanted to hurt anybody."

Silay opened her mouth to speak again, but closed it when Riya nudged her. Talis saw the movement, though, and turned to address her.

"Truly, Silay, I didn't! Yes, I wanted the information you had, but that's just because I wanted to stop the plague first. But Wrigcyn...." His voice trailed off.

"Wrigcyn what?" Jarlen prompted.

"He doesn't care. If people get hurt, I mean. He told me he wanted to stop the plague, but..."

"But you think that might not be case?"

Talis nodded. "That's why I came to you. I could have just kept following you and reported back to him, but I can't. Not anymore. I want out."

Riya's eyes had narrowed during this speech. "And why can't you get out on your own?"

"Wrigcyn. When I agreed to work with him, he took some of my blood."

Silence followed this statement. Riya broke it. "Even if we could help you, I don't see why we should. You must have known the risk of making a deal in blood."

"And," Jarlen pointed out, "There is also the issue that as long as he's bound in his bargain he'll be reporting back to Wrigcyn."

"Can't we just follow him to the magician, then?" asked Silay.

Riya turned to her. "That could work, actually. Jarlen, what do you---"

But Talis was shaking his head violently. "You don't understand! It's not just me. He has Silay's blood too!"
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Duh, duh, daaaaaah! Also, "moot" is a funny word. I've always thought so.
Finally, it has recently come to my attention that "talis", a Latin adjective for "such as" or "Of such a kind", is also a Hebrew word for a prayer shawl. Which is interesting, but unrelated to the story. I typically use Latin and Greek as my basis for my names, in case you were wondering. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chapter 8, Pt. 5


The one thing they had to be grateful for, Silay thought as she knelt by the stream filling waterskins, was that whoever had kidnapped them had brought them back a little ways towards Sojan before leaving them. Even so, they had been over two weeks away from Sojan on horseback when attacked and even further on foot. Jarlen had already altered their plan this evening while setting up camp. Instead of making directly for Sojan, they would veer off a day to the east to a closer town. They could get horses there, and maybe the help they needed. And if there wasn't anyone who could cast a tracking spell, then at least their trip to Sojan would be that much faster, once they had horses. Silay and Riya had agreed, both silently hoping that this side trip would save them from having to return to Sojan.

Caught up in these thoughts, Silay didn't hear the footsteps behind her as she made her way back to the campsite. But she felt the cold metal tip of the sword that pressed into the back of her neck. She froze.

"Don't worry, I'm not a thief." The voice was all too familiar.

The point of the sword moved around her neck as the wielder circled to face Silay. Talis smiled grimly at her. "I don't know why you've taken to carrying a sword. It's not like you know what to do with it."

Silay didn't answer, though she wanted to scream in frustration. Talis. Here. Again. Just when they finally had a plan, finally had some idea about what they could do to try to end the plague, he showed up to ruin everything.

Talis looked at her curiously, as though trying to guess her thoughts, then shrugged. "Keep walking. We're going back to your camp."

Riya looked up when she heard footsteps, then jumped to her feet when Talis and Silay stepped into view. "Jarlen," her voice was terse. "You better get out here."

Jarlen stepped out of his tent, and took in the scene, maintaining an affected sense of calm. Panicking wouldn't help Silay. "You realize you're out-numbered now, don't you boy?"

Talis, to everyone's surprise, lowered his sword. "Doesn't matter. I'm not here to attack you. I just wanted your attention."

"Well, you've got it. What do you want?"

Talis sheathed his sword, and stepped into the ring of light cast by the fire. "I need help."
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You were wondering if I realized how impractical it would be for my characters to walk back to Sojan, weren't you? Don't worry, I keep track of time and distances in the story. One of these days I want to draw up a map of Ohicink. Any volunteers to help?
But, hey! Talis is back. Hope you didn't miss him to much.