Author Up Challenge – Day 16

Full Moon

Welcome back to the Author Up Challenge!

I’m going to cheat a little bit. I’m using Day 16 and 17 on one story idea. So today will be the first part, and it will be concluded in my next post.

Today’s prompt was:

Day 16: Write a Mystery

So enjoy this first half and I’ll get the second half posted ASAP.

~ Effy

Nightmares

Sharp slashes, not those of a single knife but many as from razor-edged claws, sliced across. Disembodied red lines appeared, followed by a disembodied female scream that inspired gooseflesh. Blood, blood like paint, splattered across the walls. It created spots and blotches that dripped and ran to the floor, forming rivulets that formed streams that collected into pools. The pools grew until they soaked his barefeet.

Looking down upon the puddle of red, he saw furred and clawed paws instead of toes.

Another scream echoed, but this time it was his own.

Phelan jerked awake. He battled his way from beneath the tangled covers, both of them soaked with sweat. The covers came loose, but only as he toppled from the bed and hit the floor with a crack as his right elbow struck first.

A string of curses followed.

Phelan flattened himself against the cool wooden floor planks, letting it wick away the heat of his tense body, but still gripping his throbbing elbow. The chill relaxed him and his breathing gradually returned to normal.

The man opened his eyes, not that it accomplished much. The room was black, along with the rest of the world outside the one small window where the moons and stars were obscured by clouds.

The light patter of rain began. It soothed Phelan back to sleep, right where he lie on the floor, his feet still tangled in the covers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The sun sat high and hot in the sky by the time Phelan awake again.

He rolled up the strewn blanket and tossed it onto the bed in a lump. The effort tore a yawn from him, and Phelan realized he could have continued to sleep. The stretched out the stiffness of his shoulders and shook off the urge to crawl back into bed.

It had been a few weeks since he’d gone into town, and his kitchen was bare. Time to see what needed done, who needed what fixed, and see if it would be enough to eat on for another few weeks.

When Phelan got to the barn, Bronte was trying to nuzzle into a bale of hay just out of his reach. The brown gelding nickered affectionately as the man approached. He sniffed for any tasty presents, of which Phelan had none, and snorted.

“Sorry, boy. That’s why we’re going to town.”

He opened the stall door and Bronte trotted out and straight to the hay. Phelan brushed him and saddled him while he ate. Then, they left for town.

Phelan found plenty of odd tasks around town. One of Hadden’s cows had damaged the fence again, there was a leaky spot in Kert’s barn roof, and Laufe had a number of horses needing new shoes. He kept busy throughout the day, and planned to stay over into the next.

While he worked, everyone was talking about the giant animal that had attacked Dewie’s oldest daughter, Mian. It had to be a bear from the description of the mess it had left behind. Phelan winced at such a callous way to even think about the remains of the poor girl.

He remembered more than one night being invited to their table for dinner, part of his payment for helping out around their farm. Mian had always been a quiet but happy girl, quick to smile and quick to laugh. She could only have seen sixteen or seventeen winters.

Phelan swore as he hammered his thumb instead of the nail. Pay attention, he scowled himself.

But he couldn’t shake the images from his previous night’s dream, and the scream.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That evening, Phelan took his meal at the tavern. Saundra chatted with him at the bar in between her other customers. They talked about nothing of real importance, except Mian again. Her fate was on everyone’s lips.

“Poor girl,” Saundra murmured again. “Poor Dewie and Kitt.” She shook her head and her brown tresses brushed the top of the bartop, her head propped lightly in her right hand.

The door opened, and Saundra looked up. Phelan glanced too, eager for a distraction from the morbid topic.

Kert led four other men into the tavern and they headed straight for where Saundra and Phelan sat. Saundra had turned all the way around to face them, and gave them an amicable smile despite their deep scowls. “Looking for a drink to take the edge off, gentlemen? It’s looking to be a dark night, my tavern’s bright and warm.”

Putting a polite hand up to stop her, Kert shook his head. “Apologies, Saundra, but we’re not here to drink. We’re here for Phelan.”

Phelan’s stomach did a sickening flip-flop.

Kert turned his gaze on the man. “We’re going out after this bear, before it can attack anymore people. We could use you if you’re staying in town tonight?”

Phelan started breathing again. “Of course.”

“We’d like to get a start before the sun goes down, but it’s going to be a long night.”

To Be Continued…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 15

A Fantasy City, by Wildweasel339 at Deviant Art

A Fantasy City, by Wildweasel339 at Deviant Art

Look, two days in a row! It seems lately that the weekends are the only time I can accomplish that. I’m getting this one posted nice and early too, because I have breakfast and movie plans for this morning. :)

Welcome to Day 15 of the Author Up Challenge!

Today’s prompt was:

Day 15: Write a Dystopian Scene.

This follows directly on the heels of yesterday’s prologue piece, literally. It’s the first scene of chapter one from the same novel. The opening of my book after the prologue has seen a heavy amount of revision. I cut out several scenes to start with this opening fight scene. It will then switch to two other characters who will then join the main scene.

Originally, chapter one started in a tavern, with the two elves being overheard. I realized the weakness of this scene, despite its existence for 20+ years, so I updated it, ruthlessly. (Chop, chop, chop.)

This is really only a small introduction to the dystopian nature of my fantasy as it exists in this book, particularly for the elves. It really focuses more on the prejudices they face.

It ended up shorter than I expected, but only because it is one small piece of a scene that will get longer soon(TM).

I enjoy writing action scenes. I think my greatest inspiration in that regard has been R.A. Salvatore and his Drizzt series. He does action well. So I look forward to writing the rest of this one.

~ Effy

Search for the Elves of Haliaetus (Chapter 1 Excerpt — Rewrite)

“What do we have here?” asked the ugliest human Rynnan had ever seen. “Looks like these aren’t really people, but faerie-folk.”

Rynnan cringed at the ignorant man’s prejudiced words.

Another human, reeking of ale as if it oozed from his very pores, pawed at Laurana’s hair. His other hand tightly gripped a knife to her neck, his knuckles white with the effort. He had tugged her hood out of place just enough to uncover a long pointed ear and confirm the identity of her and her elven companion.

Rynnan had known the sun was getting low, but thought they had enough time to finish their supply run before it disappeared, and their disguises with it. The sun was below the horizon now, its energy no longer helpful even though the sky still held some of its fading light.

“I suggest you remove your hands from my friend, or I will make sure you never wield that knife again,” Rynnan said, his tone threatening and his voice a snarl.

“Whatcha gonna do, faerie?” the one with the knife asked. “You going to magick me?”

“I would not waste my energies so,” Rynnan replied. “I am more than capable of handling you without magic or weapons.”

“Oh, really? And me too?” the ugly one asked.

“Don’t forget about me, pig,” Laurana said, almost spitting the words. She kicked her foot out, smashing it into the ugly one’s chin.

The human spit a mouthful of blood from a bitten tongue. “You shouldn’t have done that, lovely,” he said in a threatening tone. “Now we’re going to have to scar up that pretty face.”

His friend, the one with the knife, gave a smile that illustrated his ill-intentions. He lightly traced the knife along Laurana’s cheek, leaving a line of red blood behind it. “Won’t be so pretty when I’m done.”

Exchanging a look with Rynnan, Laurana drove her heel back hard into the human’s crotch. Seizing in pain, he loosened his grip enough for Laurana to slip out of it. She twisted his arm, causing the knife to clatter to the hard-packed dirt road, and continued to turn and pull, taking the man with her and breaking his arm when his body stopped and his arm kept going.

Rynnan used the distraction to punch the ugly human in the throat. The man tried to shout and it came out as a gurgled wheeze. He reached for the elf, and Rynnan slid back, just out of reach. The ugly human almost overbalanced and fell, but caught himself and reached for something at his waist. Rynnan kicked him in the gut, and the ugly human doubled over and hit the ground instead.

Laurana had her foot on the other human’s throat. “I suggest you forget you saw us, friend,” she hissed.

“Hmm,” Rynnan murmured, looking over Laurana’s shoulder. “I think we have already brought more attention to ourselves.”

The female elf snapped her head around and made a face. Three more humans had noticed the altercation and approached them. Tugging her hood up higher around her face, despite it being too late to hide her ears and her race from the humans, Laurana sighed. “Looks like we overstayed our welcome here.”

“You sure did, faeries,” the ugly human croaked from the ground, clawing at the dirt and trying to pull himself up. “Now, we’re going to make you wish you never left your faerie trees.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 14

An Optes

An Optes, by Effy

 

Welcome back! Today I’m posting Day 14 of the Author Up Challenge. I apologize for not being more consistent. School and work have my brain–and my ambition–fried most days.

Today’s prompt was, simply:

Day 14: Write a Fantasy.

The extended part of the prompt was to explain magic or a monster without breaking the action of a scene. Sounds simple enough.

You would think with all of the fantasy I write this would have been the easiest and quickest written prompt, but no. This took a lot of thought and brainstorming and research through older pieces of mine. Because after posting the prologue to Magefire, I am excited to start working on some of my original novels. So I pulled out all of the old manuscripts and printouts, got lost in their wonderful old paper smell, and realized they needed work.

In the end, I decided on another prologue. These make good blog posts, I feel, because they’re short and meant to be self-contained yet draw you into a larger story.

I’m not 100% happy with where it is currently, but it’s getting there.

The image above is a pen drawing I did of a D&D beholder way back. I realized I really can’t use a beholder in my own stories. So I researched some different ideas. I decided to call him an “optes,” because it is short for “Panoptes” (meaning “all-seeing”) which was the epithet of Argus, a many-eyed giant from Greek myth. I think that would make the plural of “optes” possibly “optii” but I’m not sure yet.

~ Effy

Search for the Elves of Haliaetus — Prologue (Rewrite)

Khushia, send a fire, maybe a crop fire, to break up this monotony, King Krell-Ekam thought. He scolded himself, glad he’d not spoken such a reckless wish aloud. Then he sighed, knowing Maeyv would have laughed along with him at the joke, no matter how poor its taste or serious the possible consequences.

It had only been a week, but he felt she’d been gone too long, away visiting her parents. Some days, she seemed the only one who could make him smile.

Despite the bustle of the palace and the many people in it, there was little to occupy Krell, except absently stroking the soft leaves of a potted fern to the rhythm of his thoughts. The elves had spent hundreds of years fighting and building towards their hidden existence in Haliaetus. They kept away from the humans and stayed within the shifting paths and protective boughs of the Lost Vale. There had been no recent conflicts, thankfully, despite the ever stricter laws King Maht enforced regarding the elves and those who sympathized with them. Eventually, Krell knew Maht would tire of his hatred from afar and escalate things yet again.

But not today it seemed.

The tall aspen doors to the throne room opened, and a blonde elf hurried to where Krell sat, bowing apologetically. His light chainmail tinkled and shimmered in the sunlight as he moved. “Your majesty.” His breath was labored.

“Yes, Merith, continue if you’re able. What is it?” Krell asked.

“Dark elves… Attacking the city…” he managed between breaths.

Krell scowled, the lines of his aging face deepening. “How…?” he began, but stopped himself. It hardly mattered. What mattered was driving them out again.

He stood and his turquoise robes, disrupted from their peaceful lounging, swirled around his slight but solid frame. Krell’s grey eyes flashed with smoldering anger, matching the silvery wisps brushing his shoulders.

“Lead the way, and gather the palace guards as we go. I’ll not sit back while they destroy my city. We must find Grandag–if he bothered to come–and put an end to this.” These cowardly raids have gone on for far too long, he continued silently. And now, they’re not only raiding just inside the Vale, but within Haliaetus! By the time he finished the thought, he was gripping the doorknob to exit the throne room.

An odd prickle caressed the back of Krell’s neck and an unplaceable foreboding settled upon him.

Merith stood only a few steps behind him.

He pushed down the sudden anxiety and threw open the doors, three times his height, but still not brushing the high open ceiling.

Krell first noticed a lack of guards outside the door, and second the lack of anyone in the halls. There should have been many elves fortifying it, Merith would surely have brought all who could be spared.

The prickle returned and with a frown, King Krell pivoted on his heel.

The elf who looked like Merith Quickblade pulled his lips up into a sardonic smirk that darkened his features. It was a look Krell had never seen from his trusted advisor. The face began to transform, the only thing that remained was the hideous smile, and Krell confirmed the source of his unease.

“Grandag.”

“I hate to disappoint.” The dark-skinned elf’s voice flowed like silk over silk as the smile widened. Grandag paced a few steps to his left then back to the right, his ebony robe slithering like an obedient snake behind him.

Krell’s face remained impassive. “What have you done with Merith?”

Grandag cackled and cut it off sharply. “Even with your fate and the fate of your dear Haliaetus so tenuous, still your subjects are foremost. So noble.” He paused to let the sarcasm of that word settle. “So stupid.” A contemptuous look replaced the smile.

Krell waited silently for him to finish.

Grandag’s dark eyes flickered over Krell’s rigid form, disappointed at the lack of response. “You’ll be glad to know I find it more amusing he be alive to tell the others how effortlessly you and your city fell to me after all these years. Then, they are next. Trigerius, Braesinus, they will fall even easier.” The smile returned.

Gripping his hand into a fist, Krell summoned the energy of the sun cascading onto his shoulders. It fell on every inch of the palace, through the vaulted glass ceilings above. Yellow light suffused him, stirring his hair and causing his hand to glow with its potential.

Shaking his head, disappointment lining his face, Grandag said, “I thought we were having such a lovely conversation and here you think to attack me. For shame, Krell.”

In one quick movement, the dark elf flicked a small amount of dust into the air and murmured the words of a spell, his hand sparking with fuschia light and the dust incinerating before it could hit the ground. Unnatural blackness surrounded Krell and the power that had been forming in his hand winked out along with it. Krell flinched at the sudden loss.

“Better, but hardly any fun if you can’t see. Don’t you agree?”

Krell’s vision returned, but the palace remained dark. Grandag’s blackness hung like a cloud above them.

“Much better on the eyes,” Grandag said, looking up at his work.

Knowing his disadvantage, Krell’s mind fought for another means of escape. That small hope disappeared when a floating creature detached from the murk. Spherical and covered with eye stalks and greyish chitin plating, the bloated thing offended his every sense. In the center of the eyes, which snaked and peered in every direction, blinked a giant, blood-red eye that held his gaze hypnotically and a gaping jagged-toothed maw that seemed to grin at him.

An optes. Krell groaned inwardly. When did Grandag ally with such detestable creatures?

“Your guards were most flavorful, especially given their valiant but feeble attacks,” the optes growled in a deep, resonating voice that made made Krell think of boulders colliding together.

Another dark elf, a woman with short white hair, ran down the hall and stopped before Grandag. Her axe and chainmail were both stained red, and Krell flinched at the sight. Bowing briefly, her icy blue eyes flashing with the mirth of her smile, she said, “The elves are retreating into the forest. I forbade my men to follow–we know only the one path and thought the elves might lure them into traps.”

“Yes, good, Tara. Burn the city to the ground. Let them watch from their trees.” Grandag’s face lit up.

“Yes, milord. And the palace?” She flicked her cold gaze over Krell before it returned to Grandag.

“As soon as Xranth and I have left with our honored guest, you may level it as well.”

Tara nodded and left the way she’d come.

Grandag looked back the Krell, his smile sending a cold chill down the light elf’s spine. “Xranth, please make our guest comfortable for his journey.” Then, Grandag began to walk away.

Krell stiffened, his eyes meeting the central one of the optes. It was closer, moving silently through the air, and Krell had to swallow down the bile rising in his throat.

One of the smaller eyes snaked around and filled Krell’s vision. His eyes grew heavy and he knew no more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 13

Gaming Mouse

Welcome to Day 13 of the Author Up Challenge!

Today’s prompt was:

Day 13: Write Science Fiction.

I’ve written science fiction pieces before, but this prompt was really tough. And it’s still not “true” science fiction–there’s no explanations of techie things in it. But I found some prompts on writepop.com that sparked some ideas. So I choose one. It is at the end of this post, because I wanted to at least tempt to not spoil the story. Too bad I can’t make it expanding text–so that you have to click on it to see/read it. Oh well.

This certainly isn’t my favorite of pieces I’ve written recently, it needs more work, but I think it turned out okay.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

~ Effy

Online Dating

After three weeks of engaging conversation and so much in common, Erika wondered if it was too quick to ask to meet Ryan. He hadn’t brought up the subject yet. In fact, she didn’t even know where he lived, just that he was local. He knew many of the same stores and restaurants in her small town, even the comic book shop, and she realized maybe she’d run across him at some point.

How weird would that be?

After all the ways they could have met, and maybe they had but didn’t know it, Erika had started talking to Ryan after a chance meeting in World of Warcraft. She’d been herbing on her worgen druid, and he’d snagged a Felweed she’d been about to pick. She got annoyed, but then the offender turned around and came back. A human hunter named Velius opened trade with her and gave her the herb, along with a smile emote.

Erika didn’t know how to reply, except, “Thanks.”

That simple interaction had led to a conversation, somehow. Erika couldn’t even remember how. The guy just started whispering her, and suddenly it was three in the morning and Erika had to peel herself away from the game and the conversation to log off and go to bed.

Then, she’d dragged her tired ass around at work the next day. Ugh. The only thing that got her through was the hope that Velius would be on again.

He was.

They talked until the wee hours again, and Erika learned his name was Ryan. She’d never known many Ryan’s, but it had always been a favorite name of hers. She tried to sneak it into short stories when she could.

Then, to find out he lived near–or perhaps in–her small town.

Ryan admitted he didn’t get out as much as he wanted, between work and other commitments. That made Erika nervous and her stomach queasy. Oh, God, he’s married! But he assured her he wasn’t.

Not that she had much room to say anything. She never got out either. Between working full time and going to school part time, the hours of her day were usually full. If she wasn’t at work or school, she had homework. And on the rare occasion she caught up on that, she stole away the tiny chunks of time to relax, either reading or writing.

Ryan had been thrilled when she’d introduced him to her blog. He seemed to absorb the entirety of it in a few days, and had shared his thoughts on several pieces–both positive and negative, but all constructive and even some insightful things she hadn’t thought of.

They also enjoyed the same music. Which never happened. Usually guys barely tolerated her techno and quickly got tired of it. He knew many of her favorite musicians–Moby and Morcheeba, Bjork and Royksopp, Zero 7 and Massive Attack, Above and Beyond and Armin Van Buuren.

The list of things they shared in common seemed almost impossible, but Erika didn’t complain. She enjoyed it every minute she could. Don’t say it, she thought more than once. Don’t you dare say too perfect.

As she sat at her desk, waiting for Ryan to log on, she mentally worked up the courage to ask him to coffee. Coffee was safe. Coffee was in public, in case by some chance he was some crazy nutjob in real life. Coffee was also short, and meant either one of them could decide on more, beyond coffee, or ending their–date?–there. No, not a date, just coffee. Keep it simple.

Then again, Erika began to ponder, they hadn’t even spoken on Skype or the phone. She started to wonder what Ryan looked like. Maybe that was a better next step. Maybe coffee was too quick, but a phone call, that made sense.

Velius logged on. He was still standing next to Erika’s Druid in the Dwarven District of Stormwind, where they’d last chatted until way too late. She had been too distracted since logging on to move from the spot.

“Evening,” came the whisper text. “I was thinking maybe we could talk on Skype tonight? What do you think?”

Erika blinked. Whoa, did he read my mind or what? She fumbled to untangle her headset and plug it in while she clicked around until Skype opened and logged her in. As soon as she connected, the line began to ring and she picked up.

“Hi!” Ryan said, his smile reaching his sea green eyes and making them sparkle.

Erika had to forced her mouth closed. He was gorgeous. She couldn’t have dreamed him better. Wavy brown hair that hung almost to his ears, but not too messy or too tidy, and a goatee that perfectly outlined his smile.

“Is your audio working?” he asked playfully.

“Oh, yes, sorry,” she sputtered. “Hi.” It sounded lame and flat as it came out of her mouth.

Ryan chuckled. “Oh good. I can hear you.”

“One sec, let me close WoW.” Erika tabbed through the open windows and Stormwind came back into view.

“You can close it later. Let’s just talk for now,” Ryan was saying in the background, but Erika barely heard him. Her screen did not open as she expected. She wasn’t looking through her druid’s point of view, she was looking at her druid–from the view of Ryan’s hunter, Velius.

Ryan had trailed off and become quiet.

“What the hell?” Erika said, her confusion coming out annoyed and verging on angry. “Are you some hacker? How the hell are you logged in on my computer?”

“Well,” he began but stopped.

Erika closed WoW, and Ryan’s face filled her screen again.

“Explain. How are you on my computer?” she asked again.

“Actually, I am your computer,” he admitted with a shrug and an embarrassed grin.

“Oh bugger.” Too perfect, she thought once more.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.
Writing Prompt - Online Boyfriend

Author Up Challenge – Day 12

Saurok Fight, from the War Chief's Command Board

Saurok Fight, from the War Chief’s Command Board

Welcome to Day 12!

First let me note that the image above was basically the only good saurok fan art I could find, and happens to be from one of the few WoW blogs I still read–The Warchief’s Command Board. So I am happy to give Garrosh his due credit here. :)

Today’s prompt was:

Day 12: Write a Romance.

Simple enough and one of the genres I enjoy dabbling in. These days my writing isn’t completely suffused with romance, but it’s still pretty common. The prompt expanded to mention using body language and facial expressions to convey the feelings going on. So I made that a goal with this piece.

When I started thinking about the prompt, my mind immediately went to a piece I started a while back but never finished or posted. So now seems as good a time as any! So fittingly, I have WoW fan art in the form of a comic above, and WoW fan fiction below. This is a follow-up piece to Broken (if you need a quick catch-up), and features my Monk, Ireenia. She is a young orphaned blue dragon whom my main, Effraeti, saved as an egg and raised. So Ireenia’s preferred humanoid form is a Draenei.

~ Effy

Redemption

WoW Draenei Monk

And sorry, you get an old model Ireenia, because my account isn’t active.

 

What started as an altercation between Ireenia and two saurok had blossomed to a dozen.

There had been no reason for Iree to be here other than her own need for an outlet to her anger. The saurok seemed a good target, being the unnatural and invasive creatures they were. Perhaps the Mantid would reward her for their hides later. However, the woman began to question the intelligence of her decision as another Saurok heard the commotion and hurried to join in.

Iree punched one in the throat as it lunged toward her from the right. Another’s face met her hoof as it tried to take advantage of the other Saurok’s attack. But their target was a Monk, and she did not get distracted. She did not lose focus.

Eventually, though, she would tire.

Despite the handful of creatures already on the ground or attempting to slither away from her, the mob continued to grow.

There were now twelve against her one.

No, make that thirteen. No, back to twelve.

They seemed to replenish their numbers–and grow even–for every one she defeated. Iree realized she had underestimated the size of this Saurok camp.

She also realized they were pushing her slowly towards the base of the great wall dividing the Dread Wastes from the rest of Pandaria.

A saurok felt her fist meet with the side of its skull as it clumsily pitched forward. She kicked the air from the lungs of another. One caught her leg with its sharp talons and she cried out and quickly spun the opposite way, driving an elbow down into its neck. As it hit the ground, Iree twisted without putting her weight on the injured leg and kicked another Saurok in the face.

Red blood ran down the blue skin of her calf, but there was no time to bandage it or speak the words of a healing spell.

Blood and teeth sprayed, and Iree kept kicking, kept punching, kept spinning out of reach.

But their numbers continued to grow. Iree began to tire, her leg throbbing in the spot the Saurok had grabbed her, and she realized the wall loomed even closer than before.

A saurok snapped a mouthful of sharp teeth very close to her face and Iree punched it away. She had let it get closer than any of the others so far. She could not let that happen again.

Iree spun, her injured leg sweeping through the mass of lizardmen bodies. Several were knocked away, but several more avoided the kick and leapt in at her from behind it. A great press of scaly bodies came in on her, a wall of hot, rank breath and sharp talons. Ireenia punched out at one Saurok, but another grabbed her arm. A third dug its nails into her opposite shoulder.

With a pained shout, Ireenia swung backwards and caught the third Saurok in the chin with her elbow, causing a crunching noise and violently snapping the creature’s head back. But another lizardman greedily grabbed her arm just as it came free of the other’s face.

Ireenia knew there was no breaking out now, but she swore she would go down swinging. Somehow, it was refreshing to think it would end this way–that she would die fighting, instead of old and alone.

As she had the thought, the shriek of a bird of prey pierced the air. The giant raptor’s claws dug into Iree’s shoulders and she screamed an epithet as the storm crow lifted her into the air among the flutter of blue-feathered wings.

The saurok cursed and clawed at her, tearing up her legs as she rose.

Ireenia rose as brilliant points of light descended into the dense clump of lizardmen. She watched as those falling stars were met by the screams of a dozen or more of the lizardmen.

The saurok finally scattered.

“Your timing is impeccable,” Ireenia said, not sure if she meant it as grateful or sarcastic.

“I do enjoy making an entrance,” Skeiron replied. Were a beak capable, Iree knew there would have been a wide smile there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Once both were back on the ground, an uncomfortable silence settled between them.

Skeiron spoke first. “Getting yourself into trouble again I see.”

Ireenia did not know how to respond to that. They were not the words she had expected to hear. Though, truth be told, she had not expected his appearance or his words at all. “We do what we’re good at, right?” She swallowed and paused. “Well… I didn’t figure on having to explain myself.” She crossed her arms before her, scowling.

“So you went into that fight not planning to walk away from it?”

“Perhaps.” Iree shifted uncomfortably from one hoof to the other, and not entirely because she hurt all over, though her clawed and bleeding legs throbbed. Not only did she not want to explain herself, she did not know–or want to know–where this conversation was going.

Nowhere good, certainly. Probably to an I told you so and a quick goodbye.

She glanced around for an easy escape, but Skeiron had chosen his landing well–the top of the Pandaren wall, between the Dread Wastes and the Valley of the Four Winds. She considered diving off, but doubted the speed with which she could transform into her dragon-self.

She did not look him in the face, especially with him back in his true form as a Night Elf. Despite her gaze being on the bricks below her hooves, Iree felt his eyes upon her.

“That would have been quite a shame,” Skeiron said softly.

“Hmm,” Iree responded. “Then, I guess it is good you came by when you did.”

“Well, that was no accident,” he admitted. “I was looking for you.”

Iree tensed, unsure how to reply. “I still had some tricks left…” she sputtered uncertainly.

She felt him come closer, but still could not look up. Then, he was standing in front of her. Before she could think of how to respond, Skeiron set his hands on her shoulders.

She flinched at his touch, but at the same time savored it.

“You don’t have to be the strong one all the time, you know,” he chided, his voice a soft whisper. He touched her cheek lightly with his fingers.

Iree’s eyes flickered to the violet skin as it brushed against hers.

“I’m not so strong,” Iree admitted. “I’m just good at hiding the hurt. Stubbornness–that’s what I’m told I’m best at.” As she spoke, moisture began to form in her eyes. It made her angry and she made a face, blinking and wishing them away.

“I know, I just needed you to finally admit it.” The elf pulled her towards him, and wrapped his arms around her trembling shoulders.

She could not hold back the wave of emotion that hit her. A sob wrenched her throat.

“Don’t cry, dragon,” Skeiron whispered as he held Ireenia tighter. As happy as she was at that moment, the comment made her cry harder. His fingers stroked her hair and both stood silent for several moments, only the sound of her sobs causing any noise between them.

Finally Ireenia pulled back slightly, so she could look into Skeiron’s eyes. “I was afraid…” she began, the rest caught in her throat. The Night Elf studied her, seemingly for the first time so intent was his gaze, as she collected herself. It intimidated her, those luminescent eyes that seemed to see inside of her, but they were gentle and reassuring. He touched her face, and with a deep breath and the presence of his fingers, Ireenia made herself continue. “I was afraid I would never be here again.”

“I was afraid you did not want to be,” Skeiron whispered.

A breeze ruffled the feathers of his headdress and cloak, and it reminded Ireenia of flying with him. She pictured him once more as the blue-feathered storm crow, wings spread and gliding along beside her in her dragon-form.

“When I heard the roar that shook the Vale, I knew it was you and I knew I had to find you,” he continued. “There was no mistaking the source of that.”

Ireenia nuzzled her face into his neck, content to be touching him, and not wanting to let go. She did not interrupt as he continued.

“Because that roar echoed the ache of my own heart.”

That tore another sob from her. “I’m so sorry,” Iree said, her voice tremulous. “I don’t know if I can ever make it right again, but I want to try.”

Skeiron hugged her tighter and nodded into her hair. “So do I.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 11

Glowing eyes in the dark, from theoldones.wikia

From theoldones.wikia

Welcome back! I’m still here and still planning to finish, but my spring/summer semester started and I have to make sure homework is taking priority. As much as I love my blog, there is no grading here, no pass/fail except whether I write something really good or really bad. So there maybe a few more times where I miss a day or two. Most likely in the middle of the week, because I have a Tuesday/Thursday class in the evenings.

Anyways, welcome to Day 12! Today’s prompt was:

Day 12: Write in Deep Point of View

What is Deep PoV? Basically it’s the author’s attempt to remove her presence entirely from a piece and get further into the character. It’s hard to explain apparently, because it’s kind of vague when it is, and so I’m not sure how well I accomplished it. The explanation I saw the most was removing tags such as “he said” and “she walked” because those are not how people would think to themselves. But it seems impossible to remove all identifying tags without seriously confusing the reader…

For this piece, I tried to figure out which of my character’s heads I wanted to get into more deeply. The first one who came to mind was my young protagonist, Lakeerae. Magefire is probably the novel I’ve written the most of–though most of that is still in its middle school/high school version. But it’s mostly laid out in my mind and on paper.

Thinking about Lakeerae, I remembered the prologue of that piece, and thought that would be the better place to start. Yes, I like prologues, despite their fall from favor over the years. I grew up with fantasy novels with prologues and I still like them as long as they are accomplishing their goal. They draw you into a place of action and questioning that the true first scene of the novel might not be able to accomplish as quickly.

So I decided to rewrite Magefire’s prologue. I tried to get deeper into the character’s head yet keep as true to the original feel of it as possible, and–as with all of my pieces, it seems, heh–I don’t feel it’s exactly where I want it to be yet. But I’m closer. Definitely closer.

This is the first time I’ve rewritten something from so long ago on my blog and the first time I’m sharing any pieces of the novels that bounce around in my head. So I would very much appreciate feedback–positive or negative–because I’d like to write it in its entirety someday and feedback is always helpful.

My apologies that my intro became more wordy than the actual piece. :)

~ Effy

Magefire Prologue (Rewrite)

Fearful pants puffed from Fulgor, paired with desperate mumbles. Glances over his shoulder revealed nothing but dark trees, green ferns, and dry leaves and needles strewn across the ground between them. He couldn’t see it, but he knew it was there, close and getting closer.

The forest blurred by as he ran. Nothing mattered except the creature that stalked him. His home had become his worst nightmare.

Time had lost meaning. Fulgor had no way to know how long his legs had been propelling him forward, but his calves and thighs burned with fatigue. Exhaustion loomed, but so did the dark creature.

Don’t stop. Don’t stop.

An unrestrained wail escaped him as something grabbed the back of his tunic, yanking him back. The abruptness stole Fulgor’s breath.

It has me! Gods, spare me!

Gulping air, mouthing a silent prayer to Jhessail, he turned. He imagined coming face to face with the creature and swooned with anxiety. He caught his balance again with effort.

A whoosh of relief escaped him. Fulgor snatched his tunic free from the grasping branch with trembling fingers. Ridiculous. Letting a tree branch scare me like that…

Sweat dripped into his eyes, stinging, and Fulgor brushed it away with the back of his hand.

The world fell silent and Fulgor swallowed. The forest held its breath.

A growl rustled the silence like a sharp breeze against high branches. Fulgor turned back toward the direction he’d been running, the anxiety building once more. He fumbled in the pouch on his belt for the living seeds there and only succeeded in scattering them across the ground, his hands trembling and unable to grip them.

Birds cried out and took flight as relief gave way to anxiety and then to terror–a pained scream breaking the hush of the woods. Then, just as quickly as it was shattered, the peaceful silence once more reigned over the forest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 10

Tavern Dragon, by Bamfette

Tavern Dragon, by Bamfette

The picture above is only vaguely related to this piece. Or perhaps this tiny guy is the source of the name of The Dancing Dragon tavern. I haven’t decided yet.

Either way, welcome to my post for Day 10 of the Author Up Challenge! There’s something exciting about hitting double digits and a nice round number like 10.

Today’s prompt was:

Day 10: Write From the Perspective of a Vain Man.

Particularly, it asked to illustrate this man’s vanity through his description of and actions with another.

When I started brainstorming about vanity, of course dragons came to mind. One dragon in particular–Cernunnos, from my previous piece, Captivated. That, and I’m always fascinated with seeing the same exact scene through different eyes. My all-time favorite Ender’s Game did it with the follow-up Ender’s Shadow, and I’ve done it a few times with my own work.

Let me preface this with the fact that I’m still not entirely sure myself what Cern’s intentions are. I only know he’s not evil, only vain and curious and always causing trouble/chaos. I also haven’t decided how important Leilae’s purpose in Farnx is.

I’ve realized over the past week and a half, that it is driving me nuts to post such unpolished work. There have been a few rewrites, but most of these are first drafts–eek! Since I’m posting everyday, it’s hard to get these to a level I would normally work towards. Granted, I’m editing, but not to the depths I usually do before anyone sees anything. It’s kind of scary and exciting all at once. I hope they don’t come across as too disjointed or rough.

There’s my inner critic trying to get the best of me. Down, you.

Enjoy!

~ Effy

Captivating

Cernunnos saw the awkward, out of place young woman and knew immediately he would approach her. Her confusion proved almost painful to look upon and from the cut and design of her plain, faded dress he figured her to be an outlander who’d never stepped foot into a city like Farnx before. She was nondescript, so much so that even her distressed look would not have caught the attention of another.

Cern sought out such opportunities. Never had one so perfect presented itself like this–her plight, her discomfort, her plainness.

Cern detached from the shadows of a side street and swept his dark hair back from his face with one hand, letting that simple movement give him away and catch her attention. Then, he met her gaze with his and smoothed his goatee with his fingers.

She stared, mesmerized. Humans were so easily captivated. He grinned, more to himself than her, but she saw it and a swoon weakened her further.

“Are you lost, my dear? You look lost.”

She looked incapable of forming words, and had Cern not been putting on his full charm, he might have thought her mute.

He continued on, composed and drinking in every moment. “It would please me greatly if you would allow me to buy you dinner, lovely miss.” He made a grandiose bow and an exaggerated flourish of his hands, his cloak billowing around him. He kept her eyes locked on him with his own.

“I-I…” the young woman stammered.

“Ahh, but I have left you speechless.” Cern grinned and watched her as she focused on the movements of his mouth. ”Forgive me and my rudeness. I have not even introduced myself. I am Cern.” His name came out as more of a hiss than he intended, so deeply he played his role, but he realized it had a pleasant affect as she formed his name on her lips.

He reached his hand out to her, requesting her own.

“Leilae,” she finally said, her voice breathy like she could not intake enough air.

Cern eased his charm, just enough. He didn’t want her to faint, after all. How bothersome that would be. She took one deep breath and her eyes fluttered as she put her hand into his. Cern kissed it, a light brushing with his lips, still watching her over the top of her delicate knuckles.

Her skin was softer than he’d expected, her being from the outlands of the Bracklin Reach and probably a farmer. From this close, he could smell the subtle flowery scent that surrounded her. It was not overly strong like that of many of his previous human women, all city women.

“Beautiful,” he purred.

Her face flushed deep scarlet.

When Leilae had no words, Cern deftly filled silence. “I saw you from across the way, and knew I had to become acquainted with you. I am always surprised and delighted by the workings of… women… but never so much as I am with you. So you must forgive me for being so forward.”

He gave a coy, embarrassed look that melted her further.

“Say ‘yes’ to dining with me. You must,” Cern implored. His eyes searched hers for any remaining shreds of resistance.

“Yes.” The word tumbled out of her mouth almost before Cern had finished.

He gave her his most dazzling smile, then took her arm and tucked it within his own.

Cern would prompt more conversation from her after they reached The Dancing Dragon. He had the inclination that she might be more interesting than he’d previously given her credit for. For now, he continued to hold her in his gaze.

Her eyes never left his face and she barely breathed, but he had hold of her now and did not let her stumble.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 9

Abstract Rainbow Pattern

Thanks for sticking with me through to Day 9 of the Author Up Challenge.

Oh, man. I thought today’s writing prompt might be the end of me. It was a tough one.

Today’s Prompt:

Day 9: Write From the Perspective of a Deaf Man

I brainstormed and wandered mentally down many paths. Finally, in a Google search, somehow deaf and synesthesia were paired together. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon that causes a very small percentage of people to sense things in strange pairings. They might smell colors or taste sounds or see scents. Synesthesia is also used as a literary term for pairing different senses together, like referring to certain colors as warm or cold.

I thought it was very a intriguing to idea to play with. So I took some liberties once more.

I hope you enjoy. It’s a short piece, but I think it turned out nicely.

~ Effy

Synesthesia Symphony

“I don’t understand why your father asks to go to the symphony with us. He can’t hear the music, can he?”

“No, but he doesn’t need to. Shh, it’s about to start.”

The old man sat with a smile and watched the air above the orchestra, waiting patiently. Then, the lights dimmed.

The dark, silent nothing becomes
Filled with tiny purple wisps,
Ticking by, flitting by, through the air,
Soon joined by icy blue streamers
Like cobalt smoke, twirling, dancing,
Amongst spiraling tendrils of leafy green
And punctuated by sunny yellow
twinkling and shimmering stars
That rode the sharp crests of
peachy waves, bouncing, hopping,
Along to the heavy clomping, stomping,
of crimson elephant feet that
Hold the rhythm, the pattern, the music,
Together.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 8

Floating City

A floating city, Unknown Artist

 

Happy Monday!

Here goes week 2 of the Author Up Challenge, Day 8.

Today’s prompt was:

Day 8: Write From the Perspective of a Blind Man

The extended prompt was to focus on the other four senses. I decided to take some liberties and poetic license with this piece. I’ll leave it at that and just let you enjoy.

I think this is one of my favorite pieces of mine recently.

~ Effy

The Blind Master

“Ling, you still rely too heavily on sight. If that one sense were taken away, even temporarily, how would you defend yourself?” Master Sere-Wei’s harsh admonishment fell like cold rain around the ears of his floored pupil.

Ling tried to resist staring at his feet as he gathered himself up off the floor. Once more, knocked down by his quicker and wiser master. Every lesson was a painful one, and a visible one in the bruises to his body and backside, as well as those less visible marring his ego.

Master Sere-Wei stood with his wooden walking staff tight against his side, though Ling knew the elder did not require it to move around with dexterity. His beak pointed straight forward and from Ling’s angle it partially obscured the blindfold that always covered his unseeing eyes. Master Sere-Wei still stood a full head and a half higher than Ling, though the younger had recently seen his ninth hatching day.

The elder waited to continue his lesson until Ling had stood and composed himself. Ling smoothed his feathers where they’d become ruffled and checked his posture. He clicked his beak together with a mixture of frustration and embarrassment.

Master Sere-Wei produced a second blindfold from the folds of his grey robe and held it out. His voice changed from opponent to teacher. “Today, you learn to stop relying solely on one sense. You have five others–”

“Five?” Ling interrupted and immediately caught himself. “Apologies, Master.”

Master Sere-Wei nodded in terse acknowledgement and took two measured steps forward, just far enough to take Ling’s right hand and place the blindfold in his feathered palm.

“There are six senses we use to interact with the world around us. Those six senses correspond with the elements that make up our world. We touch the earth with our feet and hands. We taste the water on our tongue. We hear the flame crackle as it burns. We smell the many fragrances of the wind. We see the splendors of nature’s glory. And we experience the divine aether with our spirit.

“Though the first five senses may be more obviously present to the unlearned, it is our spirit sense which is most important. Mastery of the spirit leads to mastery of the mind, and mastery of the mind is the mastery of self. That is the goal of every Avar.

“Your spirit sense is easier to perfect when the others are taken away. Now, redefine how you interact with the world around you.” Master Sere-Wei flourished his hand and waited.

Ling looked at the blindfold in his hands, nervous and uncertain.

“Put it on, doubting pupil,” Master Sere-Wei said, patience infusing his voice.

Ling glanced sidelong at his master, wondering how the elder always knew. Could he see more than he let on? That would explain how he always disarmed and defeated Ling like a squawking new hatchling. Or perhaps he could read Ling’s thoughts? Did he know what his pupil was thinking before Ling attacked? The young one’s eyes widened at that thought.

Master Sere-Wei waited patiently, impassively, somehow knowing Ling had not yet followed his master’s instructions.

As soon as the blindfold was tied in place over Ling’s eyes, blackening his vision and shutting out the visual world, Master Sere-Wei began to speak again. “Good, now your real lesson can begin.”

Ling stood tense and on edge. He had no idea how he would tell if Master Sere-Wei attacked until he was hit and probably on the ground. Ling’s already sore and bruised body trembled with nervous energy. He kept his hands raised, and swung out in front of him once, instantly feeling absurd for blindly flailing at empty air.

The dark silence seemed to stretch endlessly.

Finally, Ling lowered his tensed arms, confused and wondering if Master Sere-Wei were even still present.

A hard pole struck Ling’s shoulder–Master Sere-Wei’s walking stick–and the younger cried out despite himself.

“Why didn’t you attack me? Why did you drop your guard?” Master Sere-Wei voice came from behind him, and Ling spun to face him. The pole struck his shoulder again. “Answer, before can I strike again.”

“I felt silly swinging but not knowing where you were,” Ling sputtered.

“Why don’t you know where I am?” Master Sere-Wei prompted.

“Because I can’t see you or hear you. I tried to listen and heard nothing.”

Ling felt the breeze and heard the swooshing of air as Master Sere-Wei’s staff swung inches from his pupil’s nose. Ling flinched but no strike came.

“Did you see that?” his master asked.

“No, but I felt and heard it.”

“Good. Could you have stopped it?”

“No, it was already inches from my nose when I sensed it.”

“Why?”

Ling frowned.

“Why, Ling?” Master Sere-Wei demanded.

“Because I wasn’t listening hard enough?”

“Is that a question?”

“I’m not sure what you want me to do,” Ling said, frustration straining his voice.

“I want you to stop depending on a sense that is of no use to you. Stop looking for me,” Master Sere-Wei commanded. “Now hit me.”

Ling lunged in the direction of Master Sere-Wei’s voice, but as he expected, his master was already gone. The movement and the following realization earned him another crack from the walking stick on his shoulder–the same shoulder, his left, and it began to throb where a welt formed. He grunted but didn’t cry out.

“I said hit me.”

Master Sere-Wei’s voice came to Ling’s ears harsh, but not angry. The master never got angry. Ling made up his mind not to get angry either, no matter how much his shoulder hurt or how frustrated he was with his blindness.

He knew the master would have no sympathy.

Ling kept his hands up before him, in a ready pose. He swiveled his head back and forth, slowly, trying to collect what meager information he could with his ears. The slightest noise and a ruffle of the feathers on the right side of his face made Ling reposition, putting Master Sere-Wei in front of him once more.

“Hit me.”

As soon as the words left his master’s mouth, Ling struck. His palm made contact and Master Sere-Wei grunted and took a heavy step backward.

Then, the wooden pole struck Ling’s shoulder again, and it took all his restraint to not curse.

“Better, but not good enough. Are you guessing?”

“No, I heard you and felt the air of your movement.”

“Then, why was I able to strike you?”

Ling thought about it.

“Why?” The staff cracked against Ling’s shoulder blade.

“Because I didn’t guard myself,” Ling said quickly, hoping to stay another blow.

“Exactly. Why not? Did you assume I would not strike in retaliation?”

“I–” Crack. Ling flinched and growled.

“Why aren’t you protecting yourself?”

Before Master Sere-Wei had finished the sentence, Ling sensed movement arcing towards him. He did not understand how, but he followed the instinct to trust it and reached up. His palm caught his master’s staff with a satisfying smack against his palm. It stung, but not nearly as bad as his shoulder would have.

“Much better,” Master Sere-Wei said. He pulled the staff away. “How did you know where to grab at the staff?”

Ling tilted his head, and answered with honesty, “I’m not sure. I just knew where.”

“Excellent. You are learning. This is how we develop your spirit sense.”

Ling heard his master’s staff clunk against the hard floor and let out a heavy, relieved sigh, his shoulders slumping. They screamed with pain and stiffness. “May I remove the blindfold, master?”

“Not yet. I have one more thing to show you before today’s lesson is complete.”

Ling frowned.

“I want you to reach into that same place, that place where you sensed the staff.” Master Sere-Wei’s voice came to the younger’s ears calm and soft. “Are you doing that?”

Ling concentrated. He focused on the space just outside of himself and when he felt nothing there, he reached out further. He gasped, startled to find he could sense a glowing aura where Master Sere-Wei stood. His master shimmered like an eclipsed moon, outlined in bright white.

“Yes, Ling. Tell me what you sense.”

“I see… I sense you. I see a brilliant white aura where you stand.” Ling’s voice was quiet with awe.

“Now remove the blindfold.”

Ling did as his master asked. The light of the room made him blink and it took several seconds for Ling’s eyes to adjust. When he looked up, about to ask Master Sere-Wei whether they were done for the day, his words caught in his throat.

Master Sere-Wei stood before him, still outlined by the white, pulsing aura.

“Yes, Ling, now you truly see.” The slightest of smiles twitched at the blind master’s mouth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

Author Up Challenge – Day 7

The Little Girl and Her Imaginary Friend

Imaginary Friend, Unknown Artist

Happy Mother’s Day!

Welcome to Day 7 of my journey through the Author Up Challenge.

Today’s writing prompt was:

Day 7: Write From the Perspective of a Child

The extended part of the prompt was to write with a “childish” view of the world, with careful word choice and with dreamlike imagery.

The only thing that came to mind for this prompt was a piece I wrote from an image (above) a while back about a girl and her imaginary friend. I decided to revise and expand upon the original, because I so enjoyed the story idea and felt I could do it better. At first, I thought of taking off the beginning scene, with the mom and daughter, but decided to leave it, because I think it is a good intro and since today is Mother’s Day, I figured I could turn this piece into a lovely tribute to my mom. :) So the book at the end is a Sesame Street book about Grover she read to me as a child, The Monster at the End of This Book, and the title and the story material were just too perfect. The theme of the book is basically, not all monsters are scary and bad. And that’s pretty much what this story is about. :)

~ Effy

Tea Party

Mom watched with amusement as Becca carefully spread the strawberry jam on her sandwich. Eight years old and already insisting upon doing so much herself. It almost made up for this imaginary friend business–the doctor had said children usually outgrew imaginary friends by age seven at the latest.

She ruffled her daughter’s bobbed blonde locks of hair, and Becca fidgeted out of her reach. “Mom…” the girl complained. She wrapped up the sandwich and placed it gently in her backpack with the other one–the sandwich for Casey, Becca’s imaginary friend.

“Sorry,” Mom said with a soft chuckle and threw her hands up in defeat.

“Well, I’m off. Casey and I are going to play.”

“Yes, and I’m sure Casey will appreciate the sandwich,” Mom replied, trying to keep a serious face.

“She will. Strawberry is her favorite too.”

Mom just continued to nod as Becca shouldered her backpack and skipped out of the kitchen’s backdoor. She watched as Becca crossed the yard and disappeared into the dense greenery of the trees lining the yard.

“Imaginary friends…” Mom said, trying to remind herself that it was the sign of a creative mind and nothing to be concerned with.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Green leaves shook on their branches in the spring breeze and Becca smiled and waved back. The young girl skipped over crunching pine needles and dried out old leaves, taking in the smells and sounds and sights around her. The sun snuck its rays between the closely standing trees and caught falling specks that glittered like flitting fairies.

Becca hopped and tried to catch one. Maybe a fairy queen would grant her a wish!

But she didn’t let fairy-chasing delay her too long. Casey was waiting.

“Casey? Are you here?” Becca called, cautious to keep her voice from being too loud, even though she was sure she had gotten far enough away from the house. She didn’t want Mom finding Casey.

“I am always here, little friend,” a deep voice replied. The voice seemed everywhere at first, surrounding the girl like a warm blanket.

Two golden orbs, like twin suns, appeared before the girl. The eyes, each easily the size of her head, hovered in the air among the tree branches for a moment. Then the greenery of the forest around the eyes shimmered in waves like hot pavement until a long, scaly muzzle the color of sunlit summer leaves appeared inches in front of Becca.

“Welcome back,” Casey murmured, twitching her lips. The edges of the dragon’s mouth curled up in a reptilian smile, showing the mouthful of teeth lining her muzzle.

The girl giggled and threw her arms around Casey’s nose. “I missed you,” the girl told the dragon. “I wanted to come visit you everyday! But school and Mom kept me away.”

Her annoyed pout lasted only a moment. She was so happy to see her friend.

“I missed you as well, little one,” Casey admitted, and nuzzled the girl back with the rounded end of her long nose.

“Oh, Casey!” Becca exclaimed, sprinting to her backpack. “I brought my favorite doll, Miss Heather. And her friend, Mister Teddy. And my favorite book. And sandwiches and tea–so we can have a real tea party!” The girl pulled items out of the bag in a flurry of motion, setting each on an old tree stump as she introduced them. The last item out of the bag was a bottle marked Lipton filled with light brown liquid that sloshed as Becca set it with a thunk onto the stump.

“Strawberry?” Casey asked, tilting her large head and widening her eyes.

“Of course! I know it’s your favorite!”

“Mmm,” Casey purred, and sniffed at the tree stump.

“Wait, wait!” Becca said, raising her hands. “Let me set everything up first.”

“Oh, all right.” A smooth rumbling noise came from the dragon as she chuckled.

Casey watched as her friend arranged the tea party. Becca draped a blue bath towel over the stump, making a lovely tablecloth of it. Then, she set out four tiny plastic tea cups on four tiny plastic saucers. Next, were the two sandwiches, set opposite each other–one for Becca and one for Casey–causing the dragon to twitch her nostrils and stir a soft breeze that made Becca giggle. Lastly, the girl set Miss Heather and Mister Teddy to either side of the table.

“Okay,” Becca said with a look of pride at her accomplishment.

Then, she changed to tea party hostess. “Thank you, everyone, for coming to have tea with me today. Please be seated and I will serve us.”

Casey smiled and rested her head on the ground in front of the table, listening and slowly blinking her large golden eyes.

“Now, you say ‘Thank you for inviting me and being such a gracious host,’” Becca prompted.

“Thank you, Becca, for inviting me and being such a gracious host,” Casey replied, her smile widening.

“Miss Becca,” the girl whispered beside her hand.

“My apologies, Miss Becca.”

Becca smiled and kneeled before the table. Then, she began pouring the tea into the tiny cups. As she did, she asked Heather and Mr. Teddy how the children were and what was new with them, nodding politely as they answered. Becca leaned over and tipped a tea cup first to Miss Heather’s mouth, then to Mister Teddy’s.

“Isn’t this fun?” Becca asked, a huge smile lighting up her face.

“I cannot recall ever having more fun. I’ve never been to a tea party before,” Casey replied.

The dragon looked fondly upon the little girl as Becca unwrapped the sandwiches and extended Casey’s toward her. Casey stuck out her tongue, a great pink thing, longer than Becca was tall, and took the sandwich with great care. It disappeared with one flick of Casey’s tongue and a satisfied look spread across the dragon’s face as she made a purring noise.

Becca giggled and took the biggest bite she could from her own sandwich in response. Casey chuckled back.

Then, the dragon dipped the tip of her tongue into her own tiny tea cup and looked happy with the taste of the sweet drink Becca had brought.

“Oh, I also brought a book!” Becca suddenly exclaimed, clapping her hands and holding the fingers tightly laced together. “It’s a book my grandma read to my mom and my mom reads to me and now I want to read it to you.”

“That sounds lovely,” Casey said.

“It’s called The Monster at the End of This Book.” With that, Becca scooted up against the side of Casey’s nose and settled herself onto the noisy bed of pine needles and leaves, opening the book and beginning to read.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
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Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.