“The question that sometimes drives me hazy: Am I, or the others crazy?”
― Albert Einstein

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Writing - Week 08

A snippet of a Work-in-Progress to be released in 2020.

Excerpt (River Run, Chapter 1)

Everyone in the Arche Tribe wakes when the cock crows at sunrise. To wake before the sun is believed to be a bad omen. I never believed in half the things my sister taught me over the years about our tribe and therefore every morning before the cock crowed and before the sun began to rise, I climbed the mountain that protected us from harm and waited and listened to the sound of morning. The birds chirping, the wind whistling through the trees, circling the mountain, and the sun warming my skin. Getting to bear witness to Zoldir’s creation the way I imagine the dragons must have when they roamed the earth, long before my tribe came into being, gave me the energy I needed to start the day.

I wonder now, as I find myself lost and alone, without my sister and without my tribe, if waking up so early, for all of those days, was worth it? Was my refusal to believe the omens and traditions of my tribe what killed my sister?

“Hold still,” Serene said, slapping me behind my head. Fidgeting was something I did best and only when it came time to paint my face. It wasn’t that I hated the paint or the tradition it carried, it was that I hated the color I would be forced to wear for another thousand days. My sister was lucky, she only had till sunset to wear yellow, the color of youth, before the ceremony when she would be smeared with blue, the color of maturity.

“Not everyone has the honor of wearing yellow, River,” I parroted along with her. This was a saying she repeated every time I acted like wearing the color was something I hated. She slapped me again behind my head and I sat still until she finished.

She was right, not everyone wore the colors. If your family passed on or you were born of another then you are not permitted to wear color. Only a family member by blood or by joining can apply the color. It is a tradition. And the Arche Tribe is built on tradition.

“Are you scared about tonight?” I asked her. She finished the last line of yellow above my eyebrow and turned my chin to one side checking that it was perfectly matched to the other. Serene always made sure my paint was as perfect as possible and I always made sure to end the day with one or all of my lines smeared or practically missing.

“Of what do I have to fear? It is just washing away my youth so that I may be seen as a woman. It is a tradition that has happened for centuries before me. There is nothing to fear. Mother was not afraid.”

Whenever Serene mentioned our mother her eyes would go still. They would no longer shine like they always did. Something deep inside her grew quiet and I could tell she wished she had not said anything at all. It is moments like these I wanted to reach out and comfort her. Tell her that it was okay to miss our mother. But women show no emotion. Emotions were reserved for children and my sister chose to cast aside her emotions when our mother died nearly three thousand days ago. She said it was practice for when she would come of age, but I knew better. I’d hear her crying softly every night into her pillow when the moon was high and the cock slumbered.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Writings - Week 07

Every Wednesday I'll share a small portion of my writing. Hope you enjoy what you're reading!
Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 7)

The further they walked along the dirt path trees surrounding them were denser. They could barely see in front of them and Spire kept walking into low hanging branches, which he found annoying but Nelle giggled every time. This went on for several minutes before Nelle picked up a thick branch from the ground and with her fingers splayed out, palm up, she called forth a ball of orange fire which hovered in the air above her hand. She touched it to the tip of the branch and it caught fire instantly.

“Perhaps this will help?” She shoved the branch into Spire’s hand and continued walking. She had walked this path plenty of times as she used to be a regular visitor to the Kings Castle. Her frequent visits to see the King were to remain a secret from everyone which is why she knew this path so well.

In the distance, Spire heard rustling. He grabbed Nelle and put a finger to his lips to keep her quiet. They remained perfectly still long enough for her to hear the same sound. She took the torch from his hand and before he could stop her, she marched in the direction of the sound. Spire worried it could be a wild animal out for a late-night feeding, but she knew exactly what she’d find when she pointed the torch towards thick bush.

A man had his arms wrapped around a young girl. They knelt side by side, hiding as best they could.

“It is quite alright, you do not need to be afraid of us. We won’t harm you. In fact, we’ve been looking for you. I am Nelle the—.”

“…one who has come to help you,” Spire interrupted, stopping her before she could reveal she was a witch. He saw the Royal Green vest the man wore and knew it meant he was a member of the Kings Army. He did not wish to find out what would happen should they be discovered to be a witch and a pirate.

She eyed Spire suspiciously, a frown on her face as she hated being cut off, especially by a mortal pirate. But perhaps keeping the fact that she was a witch a secret was not such a terrible idea. “We were wondering if we could be of some assistance to you.”

“I am Adelaide. you are pretty.” The little girl pried herself away from Traix who remained guarded as he watched both Spire and Nelle closely.

“What brings you two out here so late at night?” Traix asked, holding fast to Adelaide’s shoulders so she would not stray too far from him.

“What brings us out here? Why, we’re out here…” Spire started but couldn’t think of a good reason.

“We are lovers just out here trying to find a good place to lay upon the grass when we heard a sound. And now that we’ve found you and your daughter I am sure my companion will agree with me that we much rather be of service to you than to each other.” She smiled innocently at Traix, while Adelaide looked up at her confused by what she heard. Spire turned his face away and tried to suppress laughter.

“There is a child present, what is wrong with you? Are you one of those ladies who spends her evenings in that Serpent’s Head? If so, there is absolutely nothing you can do for us, thank you. We’ll just be on our way and leave you two—.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday Writings - Week 06

A snippet of a Work-in-Progress to be released in 2019.

Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 6)

Spire did not understand what she was saying. Whenever Nelle spoke like this no one understood her. He became concerned with the change in her countenance and her jumbled words. He had no clue what was going on and knew Nelle was not going to tell him. His best way to uncover the mystery was to bring her to the Captain and demand answers from her.

“We must hurry back to the ship. The men will be asleep now. It’s the best time for us to sneak on board. We won’t be seen.” He started walking backwards towards his boat which rocked and bumped into the dock from the waves, but she did not follow. “What stops you? We must make haste. The Captain seemed intent on my bringing you back as quickly as possible.”

“You do not understand. If I am to do what she wants we must first pick up a few things.”

“Pick up a few things? No. My orders are to bring you to her and that is all I intend to do. I have never seen her like this, Nelle. If the men see her this way there will be questions. None of which I can answer.”

The yellow moon in the sky, now full, shone upon his eyes and Nelle swore she could see tears in them.

“I know you love her, Spire. I promise you, what I need will not take long to get. We must find a man and a child journeying along a dirt road and bring them with us to meet the Compass Maker who lives in a small village in Ebonthorn.”

“Are you mad? You want to journey to Ebonthorn? We cannot go there now. That is a full day’s walk and I don’t think she has that kind of time. I must bring you to the Captain—.”

“Do what you must, but if you bring me to her and I do not have what I need, you will suffer the brunt of her wrath when she discovers you wasted time arguing with me.”

He hated to admit it but she was right. He also hated having to follow Nelle’s orders but he had no choice. He needed her to come with him but knew she would not come quietly. And a witch as powerful as her wouldn’t be easily forced against her will.

“Fine. Lead the way.”

“Excellent. you have made the right decision, Spire. You just might make a decent Pirate someday. Now, first we must locate the dirt road and if I am not mistaken we will find the man and child well before the moon sets and the sun rises on the morrow.” She nudged him in the shoulder and winked at him, much the same way he winked whenever he thought he was being clever. He rolled his eyes at her back as she walked on ahead of him, past the Serpent’s Head, and into the night with the yellow moon guiding their way.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday Writings - Week 05

A snippet of a Work-in-Progress to be released in 2019.

Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 5)

“The man arrived just as he said, my lord.” The other guard did not speak but his demeanor spoke volumes. “And he had a child with him.” One of the guards from the front gate stood before King Rowan, giving his detailed report.

Corwinn was nearby listening intently, ready to interrupt if he felt his lie unravel. “And where are they now? Have you taken them to the dungeon?” He stormed towards the guard who did not so much as flinch, even as Corwinn walked right up to his face.

The guard was not accustomed to answering anyone who was not a ranking officer or the King, but in this case, he made an exception. “We were not instructed to apprehend him, sir. And he did not give us cause to seize him.”

“Why did you not order that madman be put in irons? He willingly left his post to save his own life. He’s a traitor to the crown,” Corwinn said, turning his anger towards King Rowan who sat in his chair, admiring his nails.

“Some say Corwinn the Coward is a traitor who should be put in irons,” the guard said under his breath, but well within earshot of Corwinn. He did not appreciate the way his King was being addressed.

“What did you say?” Corwinn readied to teach this guard a lesson and the guard gripped his spear so tightly his knuckles began to turn a pale white.

“Enough, both of you,” King Rowan shouted.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Wednesday Writings - Week 04

A snippet of a Work-in-Progress to be released in 2019.

Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 4)

Upon hearing the name ‘Paragon,’ both Corwinn and Krieger knew what needed to be done. For some, the Paragon was a tale used to scare the young into behaving. But there were those who believed in the legend of the Paragon and revered what it stood for. Krieger was a believer, while the only thing Corwinn believed in was what he held in his hand right now, a flagon of ale. Yet, the name was not foreign to him either. He remembered a day, many moons ago when King Rowan told him all he knew of the Paragon.

At the time, Corwinn thought it was complete lunacy and ravings of an eccentric King willing to say anything to command fear. Little did he realize the tale might be true.

A young, precocious boy by the name of Woodvale was destined to become King of Diamar, a smaller Kingdom surrounded by mountains that made it difficult for overzealous Kings to conquer. The people of Diamar were known for being extremely kind and not as ruthless as other neighboring kingdoms. Because of their eagerness to be liked by others they gave and gave until they had practically nothing left. Then, as luck would have it, a group of travelers, led by Tobias, found themselves passing through Diamar, in need of accommodations.

Woodvale’s parents owned a home not too far from the castle. They worked for the throne but had no direct lineage to it. The travelers arrived to see speak with the king of Diamar very late and knew they would not be admitted at such an hour. As luck would have it, they saw a light shining in the window of a home nearby and decided to ask the inhabitants if they could stay there for the night. Woodvale’s parents took one look at the attire of the travelers, adorned in fine clothes and jewels, and decided to let them stay. That night the travelers, to show gratitude for the hospitality and meal they were given by a family they knew had very little to spare, put on a show in the form of magic. Woodvale was instantly mesmerized and Tobias saw something in the boy’s eyes, unlike anything he’d ever seen before. Without consulting his traveling companions, he decided to take the boy under his wing and sneak him away with them when they were finally given entry to see the king.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Wednesday Writings - Week 03

Every Wednesday I'll share a small portion of my writing. Hope you enjoy what you're reading!
Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 3)

The Serpent’s Head. The oldest tavern in the Kingdom of Gaspar. It also happens to be the only tavern near the coastline where a man knows he is sure to find some liquid refreshment. As Traix gripped Adelaide’s small hand in his, he walked through the front door. It was nearly empty, save for a few patrons sitting at the bar and a table in the far corner where four men sat, having a lively discussion that no one could comprehend unless they were there when they first started drinking. No one seemed to be bothered by the appearance of Traix, accompanied by a little girl. He did not want to take any chances that one of the men would notice what he wore and question him, so he made for a table that was both far away from the drunk men and the bar.

The stench of sweaty men and beer wafted up to his nostrils and his stomach suddenly made an all too familiar sound. “Wait here, I need a drink.” He took two steps from the table, then stopped when he saw the look on her face. What made his stomach ache for the drink was making her wince in disgust. “Do you want something?” he asked, hoping there might be some sort of drink or food this place would have that could give her some comfort.

She looked around the room and had the same thought he must’ve; this place probably wouldn’t have something a little girl could drink. She shook her head at him and pulled the swords belt over her head so she could hold it in her lap instead. The men continued to pay them no mind but she still feared they might try and take it. Traix was more concerned someone would take her. He eyed the men seated at their own table cautiously, but they remained huddled in whispered conversation.

He approached the bar and slammed his hand down on the table to get the attention of the barman at the other end. He was in the middle of pouring a pint of beer for a gentleman who could barely hold his head in an upright position. The barman stared Traix down with anger in his eyes, until he saw the Royal Green of his vest, and suddenly a smile appeared on his face. He snatched away the pint of beer he had finished pouring for the inebriated patron and walked it over to Traix, slamming it down in front of him.

“Welcome, good sir. What brings you to the Serpent’s Head? Is the Kings ship back already? What news do you bring of the great Captain Hinde and his quest to defeat Silverblade?” He raised his voice so the few who were there could hear him, and made sure to spit just as loudly on the ground next to him. It was a sign of loyalty to the King if the name of Silverblade was ever uttered to spit out their disgust for having spoken something so foul.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday Writings - Week 02

Every Wednesday I'll share a small portion of my writing. Hope you enjoy what you're reading!
Excerpt (Daxton, Chapter 2)

Traix climbed down a nearby ladder on the opposite side of the ship where no one would see him. When he entered the choppy waters, he could feel a body, mangled beyond recognition, floating near the surface. He gave himself a few moments for his gag reflexes to temper themselves before he grabbed ahold of the body and kicked his feet slowly, trying not to catch the attention of the sharks nearby. Together, Traix and the corpse had the appearance of two dead men floating down the channel. Saltwater mixed with the blood of his fallen brothers, including that of the man whose torso he grabbed, seeped in and out of his mouth. He tried helplessly to keep as much of the rancid water out of his mouth, but he valued breathing more and suffered through it. The body he held tightly began to take on the temperature of the water, cold, and his fingers got slippery. He struggled not to let go.

The Pirates could see body parts on the surface of the water, but the carnage of sharks searching for fresher meat was too much even for them. They avoided looking too closely at the water as much as possible while they boarded the enemy ship. None of them found it odd, or worth investigating, the two bodies, one of which was remarkably intact bobbing in the water, moving against the current. And Traix, member of the Royal Army, was glad of that.

“Where are we, brother?” he asked the corpse. One of its legs was completely ripped away and he did not dare check, but he wagered the arms were missing as well. He pondered why the sharks would leave what he perceived to be the meatiest part of the human body, the torso, behind? But as he could just about make out land not too far from his current destination, he cared very little for their actions and appreciated the opportunity afforded him to escape. However, out the corner of his eye, he saw a ship waving a Pirate flag. They were not headed for him, but their heading would take them dangerously close enough to notice whether what was in the water was dead or alive. He took a deep breath and changed his hold on the floating body from his side to just below, then plunged his head underwater and remained under water, holding the body and his breath for dear life. As luck would have it the ship passed him at a rather quick pace, making it difficult for them to take notice of him or his mangled companion. Not willing to risk getting caught, he held out as long as he possibly could before he opened his eyes underwater and came face to eyeball with the body he continued to use as a decoy. He screamed, letting a rush of water into his mouth. He erupted to the surface, coughing and gagging, frantically looking around but there was no ship or sharks. Nothing but the open water. With newfound vigor, his feet paddled even harder.

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