Author Topic: A story I'm writing  (Read 214 times)

Fredd

  • Posts: 1823
A story I'm writing
« on: September 29, 2020, 01:48:40 PM »
 One of the ways I cope with losing a character I love, is taking a break and working on a novel I've been writing for a couple of years. I know, most of you are like "Fredd, I've seen your typos, how are you going to write a book-length story?" With spellcheck, and a ton of editing, of course! Anyways, I wanted to share with you the  short story i wrote that has since become the prologue. You can see the Arm inspiration in the story I hope, and I also hope you enjoy the read. It should take 10-15 min. if you feel up to it. The formatting isn't perfect because I just copy/pasted it.

Escaping Rondella

            By William Nalley



   My daughter was eight years old the first time she saw a witch's execution. We went as a family, to the side of me was my wife Lia. She was a little taller, with long black hair, olive skin, and caramel brown eyes that seemed to be just a bit deeper when put next to her blue tunic. Between us was our daughter Tilly. She had her black hair in a short bob because it framed her eyes, which she got from her mother.
 
   Because Tilly barely reached my chest, I lifted her onto my shoulders so she could see the stage. It stood as high as a man, and in the center was a large black metal spike with a pulley in front of it. I took a firm hold of
                        
her small ankles with my work-calloused hands and was thankful for the shade she provided from the summer's sun. She shifted left and right as she looked at the crowd that packed into the gray stone square, eagerly awaiting their first glimpse of the monster.

   It was a couple of hours before the executioner party began to walk through the crowd that created a path for them. In the front was a unit of guards, clad in white leather, dragging the prisoner backward by his bindings. He was dressed in dirty rags, with his hands bound behind his back. A crown of metal thorns cut into his shaved head, the only adornment it boasted was a single black gem that sat in the middle of the man's forehead.

   “Look, he has the crown of shame. It's the witch!” Lia cried out before the crowd let out a roar of curses and profanity so loud, that Tilly curled downwards and covered her ears for a moment. Shadowing the execution party was a woman clad in silvery metal armor, her face concealed by a white silk veil. Beside the veiled woman was a large man wearing a white leather hood and mask that marked him as the executioner. He was carrying his large, hulking hammer on his shoulder as the group passed us to the stage.
   
                        
   I smiled as the witch got dragged up onto the executioner's stage. Then the crowd began cheering as the witch was brought to its knees before the execution spike. The guards proceeded to unbind its hands and forced it to wrap its arms around the spike, its chin placed precariously onto the point. The guards tied a rope from the pulley to its wrists and pulled it taught before the executioner stepped to the side of the witch.

   ”Who's that?” asked Tilly as the veiled woman moved to the front of the stage.

   “That's a member of The Faithful, she brings the Cloud King's words, and protects us all." Lia explained to her as the Faithful raised a hand into the air to gather the crowd's attention.

   ”Rondella." she said aloud. "We are a city of prosperity and safety!" The Faithful paused as the crowd cheered vehemently, a single hand silencing them again in a practiced measure. "But the world isn't as safe as our great city."  She said, pausing again as her voice carried over the large square.

   “Outside the city, raiders pillage caravans and towns.
                        
Many of which worship gods that encourage cannibalism!"  The crowd roared again, many shouting their love for the Cloud King, while others condemned the heathen gods. The Faithful waited a moment before raising a hand into the air to silence the crowd again in a confident manner.

   “But the worst are the witches. The vile monsters of chaos and death that sell their souls for a power that destroys everything around them.” she said loudly, her voice carrying over the large square.

   “Thankfully the Cloud King protects you. He has trained us Faithful to root out this evil and cleanse it!" she said, her words eliciting another roar of approval from the masses. She turned and pointed at the witch, which had its eyes clenched closed. "This witch was caught practicing fire magic, magic that burnt down three houses." The crowd began hurling profanity and insults at the vile creature bound onto the stage. The Faithful let the crowd rile itself up before she silenced them again. "So let us show the world that when you dabble in destruction, you will be destroyed!" she called out, prompting another loud uproar from the crowd.

   She walked to the back of the stage while the
                        
executioner stepped closer to the witch, lifting his hammer high above his head when he stopped. As the hammer was held at its apex, the crowd seemed to hold it's breath. After a long moment, the executioner brought his hammer down onto the top of the witches head, driving the spike upwards through his jaw and skull and letting out a well-known sound in Rondella.

   * Thunk-Ting *

   It rung out over the crowd, a sound like a melon being crushed on an anvil. The people went wild, but Tilly watched in silence.

##

   


« Last Edit: September 29, 2020, 01:53:48 PM by Fredd »
I remember recruiting this Half elf girl. And IMMEDIATELY taking her out on a contract. Right as we go into this gith hole I tell her "Remember your training, and you'll be fine." and she goes "I have no training." Then she died

Fredd

  • Posts: 1823
Re: A story I'm writing
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2020, 01:49:09 PM »
My daughter was ten when our lives changed forever. Lia and I had brought her shopping with us. I remember it was a clear fall morning and the market air still held some of the chill from the night. The harvests were in so the stalls were packed with fresh fruits, vegetables, and people looking to buy them.

   We made our way through the bustling stalls of hunters, farmers and tradesmen to our favorite butcher's shop. Lia
                        
wore her best red tunic that stopped just below her knees, and she had dressed Tilly to match her in a simple red dress. I stopped by the door and watched as my wife and daughter entered the wooden building, hand in hand. The sight brought a warm feeling to my chest and a smile to my lips when I entered after them. The walls inside the building were lined with blocks of salt, which always made the air taste dry. Separating the shop into halves was a large wooden counter with a glass front which displayed packets of wax paper that were filled with meat and tied off with a bit of twine. Each stack had a small handwritten sign, displaying the type of meat, and the cost.

   The butchers, father and son, were working on what looked to be a sheep carcass as we walked in. It hung from a hook near the back of the building with a large wooden table nearby that was covered in larger cuts of meat that needed to be trimmed down. The father was a short man with strong arms short hair and a short beard. His teenage son was tall, seeming to inherit his father's tendency toward brawn, and wore his light brown hair in a long ponytail.

   As we entered he turned from the table where his father was separating a haunch down into hunks of meat before weighing them.
                         
   “Mornin'! What can I do for yah?" He said with a smile. We walked up to the counter and Lia let go of Tilly's hand before she smiled at the teen-aged boy. I reached down and took Tilly's hand when Lia began to speak with the shopkeeper. She was always better with people then I was.

   A soft smile and a simple joke later, he was handing her a pair of packages for a small discount. When she took them, she brushed her fingers on his wrist which elicited a bright blush from the boy. I couldn't help but feel a stir of jealousy when she turned back to me, blushing brightly as well.

   I grinned and opened my mouth to crack a joke, but before I could speak she dropped the packages of meat. The bright red blush was quickly spreading from her face, rushing over her throat and arms like a red eclipse. I reached out to her and asked what was wrong. But her only reply was a shriek of pain.

   Her body began to bloat when she collapsed to the ground, the air around her steaming as her scream died with a soft gurgling sound. A moment later the guards burst into the small shop with their swords drawn. Their eyes quickly found the boiling, misshapen corpse of my wife and I did
                        
the only thing I could think of.
 
   “Witch!” I yelled as I pointed at the boy. “It's a witch!” I shouted again as the witch opened its mouth to speak.
 
   “No Wait!" it pleaded, but the guards quickly cut it down, without a chance to utter another word. This was the second time my daughter saw a witch's execution.

##

   
I remember recruiting this Half elf girl. And IMMEDIATELY taking her out on a contract. Right as we go into this gith hole I tell her "Remember your training, and you'll be fine." and she goes "I have no training." Then she died

Fredd

  • Posts: 1823
Re: A story I'm writing
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2020, 01:49:57 PM »
My daughter was eleven when the earthquake hit. It was evening by the time I had picked enough cotton to feed us. When Lia was with me, we could be done by the afternoon if we wanted. But those days were behind me.

   It was an enjoyable walk home, but the closer I got, the more uneasy I felt. When I rounded the last corner and our small mud-brick shanty came into view, the ground beneath my feet began to shake. At first the vibrations were faint, so I ignored them. But as I got closer remaining upright became harder. When I stopped outside my home I saw others were running out of theirs, and then I heard her cry. Just underneath the sounds of buildings
                        
shaking, rocks bouncing, and scared neighbors, I could hear Tilly's crying.

   “Tilly!” I shouted over the noise as I opened the door and ran in with the panicked crowds sounds fading behind me. As my eyes adjusted to the light my breath caught in the middle of my throat as I saw my daughter.
 
   She was laying on her stomach with her purple calico dress sprawled around her as she looked up at me. I stepped closer and saw her shoulder-length black hair sticking to the tears streaming down her face and froze for a moment. My mind carving the image into my memory that I will never be able to forget.

   “Help me, Daddy..." She said in a pitiful mew. Her voice pulled me out of my frozen shock and I dropped the small bushel of food I was holding and rushed to her side, barely able to keep balance as the ground bounced beneath my feet, as if each step was bringing me to the center of the earthquake.
 
   ”It'll be alright Tilly... I'm here now," I said as I scooped her up into my arms. As she left the ground, the shaking came to an abrupt halt that left a sinking feeling
                        
in my chest. As if my daughters contact to the ground was the catalyst for the destruction. I slowly looked down at my daughter and saw her looking back up at me, the fear of that day three years ago shining in her tear-reddened eyes. "It'll be alright..." I repeated aloud. But this time it was for my benefit.

   I took a deep breath and moved out into the street, cradling my daughter's sobbing form in my arms. The crowded streets were thick with the murmurs of anxiety and the sounds of people crying. Surrounding the crowd was a scene of devastation. Shanties had collapsed for blocks in either direction and the breeze swirled the smoke from several burning structures through the streets.

   I placed Tilly on the ground and looked around the
streets carefully, spotting what I feared immediately. A man clad in silvery armor and a white silk veil was looking around carefully. Shit! I thought to myself. The Faithful are here already! Just as I was looking away, the Faithful looked directly at me and started toward us.

   “Halt. In the name of the Cloud King.” he called out to me.  My heart pounded in my ears as I tried to grab Tilly and run. But I couldn't even manage to take a step.
                         
   As I reached out, the Faithful shouted again. "Halt!" The word echoed through my mind, each reverberation louder than the last until the sound felt like it would burst through my skull. The disorientation and pain sent me reeling to my knees where I tried to hold my skull together and screamed in pain. When the Faithful drew his saber and approached me all I could do was collapse helplessly. I wasn't sure what happened, but I knew I couldn't save my daughter.

   The Faithful readied his blade and loomed over my helpless form while I turned my head to look at my daughter as I died, just in time to see her scream.
                        
   “No!” she screamed the word with all her might. When she did, the world responded to her. Dirt and sand launched itself from the ground and into the unsuspecting Faithful's eyes.

   “No! No! No!" She screamed, over and over, each time increasingly larger chunks of debris were flung at the Faithful's face until the sand became pebbles and whole stones from the road. After the pummeling knocked the Faithful to the ground, Tilly got to her feet and called out to me. "Run Daddy!"
                        
##

   We ran until it was dark, losing any pursuers first in the crowds, then in the dense labyrinth of shacks that made up the slums of Rondella. After running for what seemed like hours I leaned against a wall, panting for breath. “I think... We can rest.” I said as I inhaled large chestfuls of air in an effort to steady my heart.

   I watched my daughter for several moments, trying my best to come up with the right words to use, but eventually I gave up and, in an exhausted tone, I asked. "Where did you learn that?" Tilly took one last deep breath before looking over at me and speaking.

   “I... didn't. I was just sitting at home..." She said with anxiety inching into her voice. "I was just sitting there... I felt a tingle... And the ground started shaking... And shaking... Why's this happening Daddy, was I bad?" She asked, looking at me in wide-eyed anxiety, waiting for an answer. But I had no answer that would let her make sense of it all. I shook my head, feeling both relieved, and deeply saddened by my daughter's news.

   “No Tilly...It's not your fault..." I said with
                        
emotions churning within my chest and choking my words. Tilly then looked back at me with tears welling up in her caramel brown eyes.

   “Mama would hate me..." She said with a voice that was just barely holding together before she blinked, sending the tears rolling down her dusty cheeks.

   I opened my mouth to assure her of her mother's love when I saw terror creeping into her face.

   “Will they make me wear that crown?" she asked in a scared voice.
   I was taken aback by my daughter's words. Both the insinuation and the fact that she already knew the answer. I shook my head fervently, clearing it and denying my daughter's fears.

   “No Tilly... I won't let them hurt you." I said, putting as much certainty into the words as I could.

    She looked back into my eyes and did not look away as she spoke. "What did the Faithful do to you?"

   I glanced from her and towards the wall as if I would
                        
find a way of explaining it written on the bricks. “I don't know...” I said, pausing to put the whole thing into words. “He told me to stop, and it was like he was screaming in my head, over and over... It hurt.” I said.
 
   She tilted her head to the side and took a long thoughtful moment before she spoke again. “So the Faithful are witches too?” she asked. The thought sent my mind spinning, but I couldn't see any other answer.

   “I think so, Tilly... But we're not sticking around to find out. We're getting out of here." I told her as I struggled to conceive ways to smuggle ourselves out. “The gates are closed for the night, but maybe you can do what you did to the road, to the wall. Or maybe we'll find a way over. Either way, we're getting out of here.” I said to Tilly, giving her a reassuring smile and pushing off the wall. “Now c'mon, let's get moving.”

##

   I breathed an audible sigh of relief as the top of the wall came into view. I wasn't certain if Tilly could get us through it, but it was worth a try. A glance down at my daughter told me that she had the same worry. "It'll be
                        
alright Tilly." I said, placing a hand on her shoulder and giving it an affectionate squeeze.

   She looked back up at me to speak, but before she could, a man's voice cut through the darkness. “It is my belief... That you are very mistaken.” He said in a patronizing tone.

   One of The Faithful stepped out from a pocket of deeper shadows. His scratched armor and bloody veil told me that it was the same one as before. I quickly stepped in front of my daughter, spreading my arms wide so he could see I wasn't armed. "We're leaving! We won't bother the city none, just let us leave!" I said in a desperate plea.

   The Faithful stepped forward and drew his saber. "That's not how it works, and you know it." He said moving a little closer. As he moved forward, he entered a beam of moonlight that illuminated the white cotton bandage that covered both of his eyes. I backed up a step, bumping into Tilly and she stumbled backward.

   “But you're a witch too!" I said, not understanding why someone would do this to their own kind. The Faithful stopped his approach for a moment, his head tilting to the
                        
side as if amused.

   “A witch? Witches are vile creatures of chaos that destroy everything around them." He said with an arrogant chuckle. "No, our power comes from control, not chaos. The Cloud King teaches us to control the mind, so we might root out the monsters, and keep his people safe." He explained in a tone that let you hear the bemused smirk hidden behind his bloodstained veil.

   “Did you know that the mind controls what you feel?" he said as he lifted a hand to point at one of mine. "Doesn't it feel like some sort of parasite is burrowing into your thumb?" he asked as if he was genuinely curious.

   As he finished speaking a piercing pain shot through my thumb. I gasped loudly and grabbed my wrist with my other hand and looked at the source of my discomfort. "Good..." He said before chuckling and lowering his voice into a sadistic tone. "Now, burn for me..."

   The searing heat started at my head and worked its way downward. As the singeing sting covered my throat I grabbed my face and screamed, which caused the pain to start spreading over my hands. Falling to my knees from the agony
                        
I saw no flames licking my skin, but felt their broiling pain as clearly as one feels a wall. But the pain was almost overshadowed by the shame.

   I'm useless! I thought to myself as I looked over at Tilly. I opened my mouth and tried to tell her to run, but all that came out was another scream of pain. So I lay there, unable to do anything but watch as Tilly spoke to the Faithful, her words drowned out by my agonized wailing.

   I writhed on the ground as I saw the Faithful raise a finger at my daughter. My screams ended with sobs as I watched my daughter let out a shriek of misery not unlike my own. And I saw her fall to her knees, turning her head to look over at me. For just a moment, our eyes met. Then her lips parted to create a truly deafening sound that stirred the very ground beneath us to life.

   The ground bounced against my cheek as the Faithful dashed forward to impale Tilly. As he stepped forward with his right foot, the ground around him cracked and opened up. The newly formed sinkhole sent him plummeting into churning masses of sand, muck and sewer water. A moment later, the pain stopped, and we both slumped onto the ground and breathed heavy breaths.
                        
   After a few long moments, I managed to collect my wits and stand up.  "C'mon, we gotta go," I said as I helped Tilly to her feet. The streets were starting to fill up with panicked spectators and dust from collapsed homes as we walked up to the wall. I looked down at my daughter and smiled. "Can you do what you did to the ground, to the wall?" I asked her.

   Tilly took a deep breath as she touched the wall and closed her eyes. “Please let us through...” She whispered to the wall in a soft plea. The wall responded with a spiderweb of cracks that extended from her hand before it collapsed inwards in a loud crash. As we climbed the pile of rubble to our escape, the frightened crowd did the only thing they could think of.
 
They cried witch.
I remember recruiting this Half elf girl. And IMMEDIATELY taking her out on a contract. Right as we go into this gith hole I tell her "Remember your training, and you'll be fine." and she goes "I have no training." Then she died