Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Winner Is Not Me...

I did not successfully complete NaNoWriMo this year. Things got busy with schoolwork and I decided to put the story on the back burner. As a result I only managed 13330 words out of the 50000 goal. Still, I'm pretty sure that is more words than I've written for anything ever. I do plan to continue writing it and eventually complete it.

I thought I might share one of the flashback chapters (this one is very unfinished) that I made to break up the monotony of always being in a dungeon.


Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Chapter 4
Shadows aren’t Dreams
           
The jungle’s thick green vines wrapped the area in a warm, humid cocoon. Insects buzzed softly in the undergrowth. The canopy was alive with a cacophony of avian life. Fiorra was crouched behind a broad-leafed bush, watching silently as the peccary snuffled and rooted for food nearby. Carefully she unhooked the crookhorn bow from her back and nocked an arrow on the string of gut. Her breaths were measured and slow. The tension on the gut increased smoothly as she flexed her small but wiry muscles. Her mouth curled into a small smile as the peccary grunted with pleasure when it found a tasty morsel. She had missed the jungle pigs. Recently her father had taken her to one of the towns on the Great Lake for her fifteenth birthday. She had seen the common sows that the townsfolk bred and killed for meat. They were slow, stupid beasts. The peccary seemed to know it was free and reveled in it.
She waited until she was certain the shot would find its mark and then released the tension slowly, letting the arrow droop. Her muscles relaxed. She had never planned to kill the beast, but there was a certain thrill in going through the motions of a hunt. It was a taste that she had acquired as a younger girl. Her father had taken her out on many of the royal hunts, allowing her at first to ride with him, hugging his back as the hounds gave chase. Later she joined on her own steed, joining the men as they cornered the prey. Then, as now, she had no desire to kill the quarry. The men were happy enough to finish it off. She just wanted to feel the adrenaline coursing through her veins and the wind stinging her eyes as they galloped after.
There was a loud vibration in the air and the peccary squealed, its legs blurred as it started to run. A green blur shot out of the trees and pinned the peccary to the ground. Fiorra flinched and redrew her bow.
An insect the size and shape of a grown man held the small, squirming pig to the ground. Large translucent wings swirled from the back of the creature then became still and folded neatly. The squeals abruptly ceased and the pig’s limbs relaxed. Fiorra inhaled sharply. To see an insectoid was rare. They mostly kept to themselves and avoided human contact, choosing instead the wide band of the jungles of Xaae. She had heard people speculate about hidden underground insectoid cities and great libraries filled with arcane knowledge. It had only been after the Theraen kingdoms had rebelled against the Empire that the insectoids had interacted willingly with human society at all. Fiorra was fascinated and frightened at the same time. She had talked with the minotaur workers at the Nothampton docks and the reptilian traders from across the ocean in Vaeey. While definitely not human, they were, for the most part, relatable and friendly. Insectoids were not even remotely human. Nobody could speak to an insectoid in their language because human vocal chords were simply incapable of making the necessary sounds.
The insectoid stood, releasing the carcass of the pig. Its motions were unlike anything she had ever seen. It’s limbs moved in the manner of an eye, flicking instantly from point to point. Its head swiveled and revealed two orbs, covered in hexagonal compartments, seeing the world in a million fractured segments. On the top of its head two antennae twitched.
Suddenly Fiorra regretted very much her decision to venture so far from the hunting lodge. Her father and a detachment of the Home Guard would be there. They could not help her here.
A breeze stirred the thick air.
With a speed that bordered on precognition the insectoid shot backwards and then changed course, shooting directly towards her hiding place.
Fiorra let out a surprised shriek and loosed the arrow in fright.
The arrow stopped almost as soon as it left the bow. The air around it was as thick as sand. The world began to melt. The insectoid appeared huge holding itself only a foot or two away.
            “Fiorra”
Her vision swam.
            “The shadow riders are there. The shadow riders are there. They are not as they were. The light is shifting. Beware.”
            The insectoid swiveled its head to the side, looking into the distance.
            “The emperor knows.”
            There was a flash of light and the insectoid was vaporized. Every trunk, leaf, and twig cast a sharp shadow. The shadows converged on her like knives. They sunk into her and clawed at her mind. Clouds of shadows enveloped her thoughts.

A voice exploded in her mind, she had heard it before, and it tore at the fabric of reality. Let the light shine and the shadows deepen. Then shall I arise.”