Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chapter 2

Chapter 2
     The impact never came. My eyes flicked open, and I saw the unicorn frozen just in front of me, the tip of its horn no more than a fingers length away. I relaxed, let out the breath I hadnt even realized I had been holding, and grinned.
     “Hey, Maybelle,” I said. “What took you so long?”
     “Some of us have things to do that dont involve saving you, you know,” she said, smiling back at me. “Maqtugha,” she said, severing the ropes, then frowned in surprise. “Okay, what happened, and how is the rope enchanted?” Magykans can see when an objects had magyk used on it. Not the exact spell, just whether its been enchanted or not.
     I explained what had happened with the sorcerer and the potion.
     “And so, I dont know what, but something big is going on,” I finished.
     “Yeah…” Maybelle seemed distant. “A sacrificial victim? Not many potions need that ingredient…and none of them are good.”
     She seemed too distracted to just be thinking about what had happened to me as she brushed her short brown hair out of her eyes, where it was always falling.
     “Lets go,” I urged Maybelle. “That wasnt the only unicorn in the forest, and I have a feeling youll need to save your magyk.” Where did that come from? I wondered. That last bit had flowed out of my mouth easily, but I hadnt planned to say it. Shaking off the strange feeling, I walked in silence with Maybelle back to the castle.
     I sighed in relief as the castle came into view, the marble stone looming over the treetops. It was a strange place to call home, this building with so many turrets and towers, but it had been my home for over a decade, and that was my life. At least it used to be.
     I stopped Maybelle just before we got to the corner where the path to my room split off from hers.
     “Whats going on? What happened today?”
     “Oh, nothing,” she said, surprised. It was an automatic response, and she knew that I knew it. “Well, its just…I dont know yet. Ill tell you about it tomorrow.”
     “Okay,” I said doubtfully. “See you then.”
     The next day I just hung out in the castle, reading and quickly scribbling down the previous days events. I had the most peculiar feeling that it would be important, but I didnt know why. Maybelle was gone most of the day again. I wondered what could be going on; a lot of the wizards were gone.
     When Maybelle finally returned after sunset, I was waiting for her in my room.
     “Well?” I asked, eager to hear about what was going on.
     Sighing heavily, she settled down cross-legged on the floor. “So, I was gone all of yesterday, right?”
     I nodded, as if to say, “Yes, I know, keep going!”
     “Well, there was an attack on a village nearby. Iruy, I think it was called. There were pegasi and unicorns attacking, which means obviously sorcerers were behind it. We caught them and everything, and nobody died, but I just cant figure out why they would do it. That village doesnt produce anything important, or really have anything special about it at all. The other wizards say its just sorcerers being evil for no reason, but the sorcerers do actually have sense most of the time. As much as most magykans, anyway.”
     I rolled my eyes and nodded again, this time in agreement with her. Magykans, whether good or evil, naturally have very inflated egos. Maybelle did, too, until I pointed it out very rudely when we were three. We were friends even then, and she didnt mind. I dont know what a three-year-old had to be conceited about, but she was.
     “There was another attack on a different village today,” she went on. “The sorcerers came in person this time, and hit Ruthven. There were three deaths this time. All the sorcerers are in the dungeon now, but they wont tell us anything about their reasons. Its so frustrating!”
     “Are you sure you caught all of them?” I asked.  “Maybe it was a diversion for something else…like…” I lost my train of thought.
     “Maybe.” Maybelle didnt sound convinced. “Well, hopefully there wont be any more attacks, and we can figure it out later.”
     Her wish didnt come true.
     Every day for about a fortnight (thats fourteen days, for those of you who dont know), there was an attack on a nearby village. Most of them were just small towns, not important in any way.  Maybelle was more and more tired every day. She was running out of both patience and magyk, and I was getting really worried. Although she didnt go out every day (there was a rotation), she never had enough time to get the full amount of her magyk back.
     A few days after the whole unicorn thing, I left the castle again, walking to a nearby village. I was very careful not to go in the direction the wizards had headed off in that morning. When I got to the village, I entered the general store on the main road. I headed to the back, where the knives were located.
If something else happened, and I thought it would, I wanted to be ready. I wanted revenge on the sorcerer who had nearly killed me. Of course, at that point, I had no idea that sorcerers would nearly kill me multiple times. But thats beside the point.
     I looked at the knives there were. I just wanted a plain knife, but one with a bright red handle kept drawing my eye. The price for that one was almost double the price of the others, but I felt like I had to get it, like it was imperative to get that one. I sighed and bought it.
     The trip home was without incident, which I was glad for.
     Exactly 16 days after the first attack, a messenger came running into the castle, completely out of breath. I was walking through the halls when he came running past. I followed, curious. Running into the throne room, which was gaudily decorated, he spoke between gasps of air directly to the king and queen. “Attack…at…Jayden…lots of sorcerers and magykal creatures…”
     The words nobody wanted to hear were still echoing around the large throne room as wizards rushed in. I would never know how they knew when they were wanted, but it worked pretty well.
     I understood why so many wizards would be needed for this one. Jayden wasnt like the other small villages. This one almost could qualify as a city, with a population of nearly 1000. And it was an important town. It mined neolyte, a material used for wizards wands. Magykans dont need wands to work magyk, but it helps to direct, focus, and strengthen their spells. Nobody wanted the sorcerers getting control of such a town.
     Had the messenger run all the way from Jayden? It was pretty far away.
     A few moments later, everybody who was leaving was ready. Most of the wizards were going, which didnt make me feel much better. The sense of foreboding was back.
     Out of the 300- or 400-strong wizard population, all but 37 left. I know, because I counted.
     Nothing happened for a while. Everything seemed to be fine.
     In late morning, loud thumps and bangs could be heard coming from the top floor. Everybody looked at each other nervously on the second floor, the one I was on, but nobody but me snuck up there to take a look.
     A window had been broken at the end of a hallway, but that wasnt what was important. I could barely see it anyway. A few people were running past me down the stairs, but that wasnt what caught my attention. They werent the most important people there. It was the sorcerers, nearly a hundred strong, flooding down the hallway, that caused me to stare. Sorcerers were attacking, here, with only 37 wizards to hold them off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chapter 1

Chapter 1
     I stood helplessly, tied to a tree, as the unicorn charged towards me, its pitch-black horn pointed straight at my heart.
Perhaps I should back up a little bit. Sorry for the rather abrupt beginning, but I had to get your attention. And, after all, thats where my story begins. My name is Akeelay Pather, I am thirteen years old, and I live on the world of Mithden. This is not an ordinary world – at least, not by your standards. Yes, we have animals and plants and humans, but we also have magykal creatures, including unicorns, which, yes, they are evil. You would call these creatures “mythical.” Well, here they arent myths.
Our world is divided into kingdoms. I live in the kingdom of Rhellens, which is different than much of the world in its diversity of magykal creatures. Instead of having all different sorts, we only have horse-based creatures. The main ones are unicorns, pegasi, centaurs, and talking horses, or klates. There are a few others, but they are much more rare and arent important to the story. And youll want to hear this story.
These magykal creatures all have different levels of good and evil. Unicorns, as youve seen, are purely evil. They are always malevolent, mostly deadly, and only help themselves and, under certain circumstances, other evil creatures.
Pegasi, winged horses, are born evil. However, they can be switched over to the benevolent side with carrots given to them by a non-evil person. It takes a lot of carrots to get them to switch to the good side, but they can be switched back to the evil side with only a few, because thats their natural orientation. They can swap back and forth infinitely until they die, but only once a day.
Centaurs, creatures with the head and torso of a human and the body of a horse, are much the same as pegasi, but they are inherently benevolent. Enough apples, rather than carrots, given to them by a malevolent being will cause them to flip.
Klates are always good. They are unable to be switched and would never think of betraying their side.
Those are the horse-based magykal creatures of Rhellens. However, there is one more type of magykal creature that lives in Rhellens and is vitally important to our story.
They are magykans (pronounced ma-jish-ins, not ma-jik-ins, which sounds like “my chickens”), and there are two types of them, wizards and sorcerers. These are the exact same thing; the titles are purely for distinction. Magykans have the ability to use the magyk in the air of Mithden for spells. They are the only type of creature who can use it for such varied purposes.
Magykans look exactly like humans. However, their minds work differently than humans do.
Wizards are magykans who use their magyk more than 50 percent for good, and sorcerers, conversely, use it more than 50 percent for evil. Most magykans have at least 90 percent black or white.. It is possible to change sides, but that rarely ever happens. 
Spells can be used for nearly anything. Emotions, large amounts of people,  other magykans magyk, and things as large as Mithden are pretty much the only things that are impossible to affect with any amount of magyk. If magykans are working together, they can combine their magyk to do something neither one could achieve individually.
Magyk is somewhat like a rechargeable battery from Earth. Magykans can use it for spells for a while, but eventually theyll run out if they use too much in too short a time. However, they will get their magyk back after a certain time, depending on their original magyk levels and how depleted their magyk was.
Thats about all you need to know right now. So, back to my story. How did I end up about to die? Mushrooms. Yes, mushrooms.
I was collecting them for by best friend, Maybelle. Shes a wizard who works at the castle, the capital of Rhellens. We both live there, her because thats where she works and me because I used to live near there, but all my family was killed in a dragyon attack when I was 2. So the castle kind of took me in. We dont have orphanages, but I liked it better that way.
Now, of course, I wished she had come with me. But theres no use wishing for things in the past.
But anyway, these werent ordinary mushrooms. They were magykal mushrooms, to be used in potions or something like that. Potions are a good way of making a held spell (A spell that requires constant magyk to hold, as opposed to a single spell, which is one shot.) without having to actually hold it. It takes rare ingredients and some magyk to make.
So I was collecting them for Maybelle. She normally would have done it herself, but she was out that day, doing something for the castle.
So there I was, shoving through the thick greenery of the forest right by the castle. Rhellens is a very forested kingdom.
I was angry that day. I dont remember why, but I remember that it made me push farther through the forest than I normally would have. I walked deeper into the woods than I had ever been before. That was why I was surprised when I came upon a clearing in the thick woods.
Yes, it was a clearing, but it wasnt entirely clear. A large fire flickered underneath a black cauldron, a ring of stones keeping the fire from spreading to the grass. A sorcerer stood over it, wearing the stereotypical black clothing of most sorcerers. The sunlight reflected off of his blond hair as I mentally sighed in relief that he was facing the opposite way. Looking around the clearing more, I noticed an undistinguished brown drawstring bag lying on the ground, bottles filled with multicolored liquid spilling out of it. As I took all of this in, I noticed the sorcerer was muttering to himself and strained to listen.
“Just a little bit more,” he said, dumping the orange contents of a small vial into the cauldron. “And, of course, a sacrificial victim for the unicorn…”
That didnt sound good. I stood as silently as possible, frozen.
He turned slowly. “Youll do,” he decided, dramatically, and I unfroze and ran.
I crashed through the trees, dodging bushes and ducking under branches, ignoring the leaves hitting me, my black hair snagging on twigs. He yelled a spell after me and I cursed. Not the magykal kind (I wish), but the normal kind. I hate sorcerers. That hasnt changed at all since that day so long ago, unless its strengthened. But I ran as fast as I could.
It didnt help. Magykally enchanted ropes wrapped around me from behind, and I fell hard to the ground. The rope started dragging me back towards the clearing, and I didnt resist. What was the point? I had no chance against a sorcerer.
The ropes pulled me up and tied me to a tree on the edge of the clearing, facing across the open space. Forced to watch as the sorcerer packed his things, there was nothing I could do when he turned to me, laughing.
“Ill be back for your remains in the morning. Dont worry, youll have the unicorns for company.” He snickered once more and left, walking in the opposite direction from the castle.
A few more things about unicorns: They live only in forests, but in every forest in Rhellens. A sorcerer can put a spell on one to control it just enough to direct who it kills. Unless under the influence of one of those spells, the unicorns will only come out at night. Which was bad news for me, as the sun was quickly sinking. Amazing how time flies when youre going to die.
I waited. Time passed. I was surprised that I hadnt died yet. I had always been discouraged from, under any circumstances, venture into the forest at night. I had been led to believe that a single step into the woods, a single moment after sunset, would bring dozens of unicorns upon me instantly. That was my first time in a forest at night, actually.
I realized I was hungry. I realized I might never eat again. I realized…there was a unicorn coming out of the trees across the clearing! I held perfectly still, trying not to even breathe in hopes that it would go away. Unfortunately, the wind chose that time to pick up, blowing my scent straight towards it.
The unicorn charged towards me, its pitch-black horn pointed straight at my heart. And as it advanced across the clearing, I closed my eyes, and waited for death.

About this blog

Dear Earth: The Reason You're All About to Die
by Catherine Jackson

So, NaNoWriMo 2012 is almost over. My novel's title is above. This blog is for excerpts of it. By the end of January 2013, I'll hopefully have all of it posted on here. I'll try to update it every day.

And so we go. Wish me luck winning NaNoWriMo, my goal is 50,000 and I've got 44087 right now.

 Copyright 2012 by Catherine Jackson