A challenge was issued from my friends at Romancing Paradise and Nalini Singh Weblog to show my first novel that I have hidden under the bed, gathering dust bunnies. Those of you who do not want to experience my height of artistic splendor can read my Vasculitis Jokes.
So that this post is not too long, I started the action of my young heroine after her vision, etc. She is being sent on her mission with weak knees.
"But I'm so young," I said, repeating her words.
"Yes," said the Counselor, "But, you won't receive a council seat." She paused, "We have examined the dreams, omens, and listened to your vision. Evil incarnate is corporeal in this world."
Evil made flesh, I thought, a fist clenched around my heart. But not evil, evil incarnate—the very essence of evil has been made flesh.
"Do the other's know?" I asked.
"No," said the Counselor. "We are deciding what to tell them first."
"What do you want of me?" I asked.
"Child," said the Counselor. "We need your help."
Oor found me packing. "You will need this," he said handing me a small ebony knife. I wrapped it in a cotton cloth and placed it in a bag that hung at my belt.
"You were not planning to leave without me," he stated rather than asked.
I regarded him.
"Ah, you think I'm too old for the journey," he said with a smile. "Well, our horses are waiting outside for us. Am I right in thinking you wanted to leave tonight?"
"How did you know..." my voice trailed off.
"That you were leaving?" he finished my sentence.
"Well, yes." I said.
"Not heard. I was waiting for you outside the Counselor's rooms. I was summoned to speak with her," he said.
"After hearing her instructions, I knew I would find you here, " said Oor.
"Master Oor," I said.
"You don't have to do this."
"And miss all the excitement?" He asked.
Walking into the fading sunlight, we watched the deep rose and gold tones touch the buildings, making them seem mysterious. Mounting our horses, we gazed at the busy community we were leaving behind.
"I will miss the beauty of this moment," I said, a lump forming in my throat.
Nodding, Oor asked. "Which way?"
"North," I said.
An hour later Oor heard the first howl. "The nightstalkers are out," he remarked. "Shira, we need to find a suitable campsite to prepare for visitors." I looked for a cave, brush, any place easily defended but it was too dark to see anything promising. The tall trees and trunks of the forest swayed slightly around us.
"Stop," said Oor. "We may have help."
Looking closely I realized, we were surrounded by bushes.
"Bushes?" I asked.
"They use it as camouflage," said Oor.
"Who are we waiting for?"
"Do you remember the little people?" asked Oor.
"I thought they were a myth," I said.
"No, they're real enough. As residents of the second world, we don't see them much," Oor said.
A being about three feet tall seemed to appear from the bushes. "SPAKRSF," he said.
"SPAKRSF," said Oor.
"Mfad, gofelpms abkfms," said the little being.
"What is he saying?" I asked.
"You must listen with your gift, Shira," said Oor. "This is not a first world language, you can't learn it the ordinary way. If you listen with your heart you will be able to understand."
I tried to calm myself. Really, I wanted to understand what this magical being was saying.
"Ha, ha, ha," said the little one. "She thinks I'm magical. You need to teach her better, old friend."
"Be kind," said Oor. "She's never met a creature as ugly as you before. Remember when you met your first world creature? In fact, I think it was myself. If I recall, you ran."
"Well," said the little one. "You were big and scary."
"Surely, I haven't changed that much." said Oor.
"So, is this a reunion?" I asked.
"She speaks," said the little one.
"This is Stefan Gomez Alvirez Antonio McFarland. Shorty to his friends... His enemies call him Runt," introduced Oor.
"Hey, my name's not Runt," said Shorty.
"Can I call you Shorty?" I asked.
"Do you plan to be a friend?" Shorty asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
A howl echoed from the woods.
Shorty looked nervously around him.
"Can we continue this conversation in a better locale?" asked Oor.
Shorty whistled. Ropes were flung out of the trees, and several of the little people appeared.
"Hurry. Get off your horses," Shorty said. "We need to hide your trail."
We dismounted. Two of the little people led the horses into the woods. Two large baskets appeared.
"Get in," said Shorty.
We clambered into separate baskets. Several of the little band pulled the baskets until they were hidden in the trees. I had never been so high before. For the first time I felt real fear. Keeping my eyes tightly closed, the ride passed quickly. One of the little people helped me out of the first basket. I stood at the tops of the trees looking down on the forest floor. Shorty stood beside me.
"Do you trust me?" he asked.
I nodded my head. "Okay, climb into the next basket." he said.
The basket dangled from a rope across the trees to a destination too distant for my eyes to see. I felt dizzy, but climbed into the basket anyway. As the basket began to move the wind howled against my face. Thankfully it was too dark to see the blur of trees as they rushed by. A howl of rage bellowed up from below me. In the distance I heard laughter.
“Is ambition evil?” the queen mused. “Have I condemned myself by my own actions?”
She stood, slim as she had been two decades ago, looking at the Corsindor through the same window.
“It would have been easier if I had been with child when the prince disappeared.”
If she had been wiser and guarded the prince carefully she would not be in the position today. Yes, truly it was an untenable position. Who would have guessed that the king would crack when he heard of the loss of the child. And he hadn’t touched her since.
The queen, unseeingly, gazed at the needlework clutched in her hands.
His lowborn Maria had died in childbirth. The remembrance was too painful. Yes, her marriage was a marriage of convenience. She soon realized her influence was more of a broodmare. Rhali, a courtier, had gained her ear. His words had made sense to her. If the prince disappeared, he had said, and she was with child, she could gain the influence and power she craved.
The notice of her husband would have been enough for her.
“If I sinned,” she said. “It was but jealousy.”
"Your Highness," said the underservant, who had just entered the room. "The king is calling for you. I think he's feeling worse."
He is as strong as an ox, thought the queen.
"I must go to him," she said.
As the queen walked into the king's chambers there was a slight smell of brimstone. In the center of the room was a pentacle, painstakingly drawn with white chalk. The king's pet wizard kept the pentacle freshly drawn. Anyone stepping on or across the lines was in danger of losing their head.
Ever since the loss of his son, the king had lost all interest in ruling his kingdom. He spent all his energy searching for his son.
"I have found him," he said. "I have found him."
"Where?" She asked.
"I have found him, I have found him." he repeated over and over.
The king's face was slack, all sign of intelligence gone.
“Guards,” she yelled.
The wizard was in the next room. His body was cold. A feeling of pure evil filled the room.
Desperately she yelled, "Get out of here."
The guards grabbed the king and hustled him out of the room. The queen rushed behind them. She looked back.
Red began to glow around the door and a heavy smell of brimstone filled the air.
What have I done? She thought, as she began tracing runes in the air.
To her surprise, the runes glowed blue and encircled the door. The glow around the door turned green. A scream echoed from inside the room.
One of the guards rushed to the door. A light exploded, and everything went black.
I forgot to mention that all my characters happen to have problems with fainting or knocks on the heads... It was definitely an ouchy book. LOL
So I challenge you to show your first efforts. :-)