Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Bakery

(( This week’s prompt is to write a story about summer solstice, so here is another Name Day story set in Naren. ))

Orledin placed another tray of cookies in the oven. The bakery was always busy on Name Days even in his small elven village. He remembered as a child when his mother traveled with him and his brothers to go to the celebrations in the city. He couldn’t imagine how busy the bakers there were during the celebrations. It seemed everyone wanted sweets, even the adults. Orledin had come up with a special recipe for filled cupcakes that he made especially for Name Day. He had just finished making a few batches of those before deciding he needed to make more cookies. He wanted to be able to have fun as well, and was eager to finish his work so that he could join in the celebrations.

“Orledin!” his father called from the front of the bakery, “Do we have anymore full-sized cakes ready?”

“There’s a couple chocolate cakes cooling. If someone wants one, tell them to come back in half an hour. It’ll be ready then.” Orledin called back. His father used to do all the baking, until Orledin was old enough to start doing it without supervision. His brothers had no interest in baking, so it was Orledin who was being trained to take over the family business. Most days were quieter than the holidays. Today’s Name Day was one of the busiest as it was the one held at summer solstice. The weather was almost always agreeable for people to come into town to celebrate from the surrounding area.

A special dedication to the sun was given at summer Solstice. The elves had added that part when they started celebrating the holiday. To them, each of the seasons was also significant, and each season brought a dedication to a different element of nature. In summer, it was the sun. In fall, it was the trees. In winter, it was the snow, and in the spring, it was the earth. For the summer occasion, a large round dot with rays out around it decorated the top of each of his Name Day cupcakes. He quickly checked the cakes he had set out to cool. They weren’t ready yet. He turned his attention back to decorating the cupcakes while waiting for the cookies in the oven.

He frosted and decorated and let his mind wander as he worked. Two babies would be named today. In larger towns, there were many more, and less celebration was given to each one. In his town, the babies would be showered with gifts, and their names would be first spoken by their parents in front of the entire town. Then, if the mages from Thril Gandir had shown up, they would be tested for magical ability. Thril Gandir usually sent out at least two mages to each town in Naren for testing of the newly named, but they usually arrived a day in advance. Orledin hadn’t heard of any arriving yet, but it had happened on rare occasions before that they didn’t arrive until just before the naming. Once in a while they only sent one. He heard that some towns had mages that stayed in them permanently, though his never had one stay. The mages came, they tested the infants and they left. Orledin couldn’t even remember a time they found a child with magical ability. Maybe only towns that produced mages got to have a mage, but Orledin thought it was more likely that his town, Tithania, was too small to need a mage.

He was eager to join the celebrations today. One of the elves who lived on the outskirts of the town had promised to join him at the pole where couples would take hold of a ribbon tied to the top and walk around the pole until the ribbon was wrapped entirely around it. It signified wanting to make the journey of life together. Darcassan was cute, but he was a farmer’s son. Orledin’s father didn’t exactly approve of it, and Orledin hadn’t told him of his plans at the pole later today. Luckily, he couldn’t say too much as Orledin’s brothers hadn’t become anything he approved of either. They worked in the forest, harvesting large tree branches to use in construction. It was less destructive than the human way of chopping down the entire tree, but it was still dangerous work. Certainly worse than having a nice job in the town. At least that was the way Orledin’s father looked at it. Orledin was sure Darcassan could eventually learn how to help in the bakery, the same way Orledin’s mother used to. Maybe then, his father would approve.

Orledin looked up from his cupcake decorating at the clock. He had five more minutes before he had to take the cookies out. He glanced out the door to the front of the bakery where the cakes and pastries were sold. One of his brothers was there now, speaking to his father. His ax was strapped onto his belt. He must have gotten off from work early so that he could come celebrate with the rest of the town. Orledin wished he could stop baking and go see Darcassan now. He smiled as he continued frosting the cupcakes. It would be soon enough.

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Knights of Naren: The Bow (Chapter 1 – First Draft)

Julan waited a few minutes after his most recent client left the room. It had been a busy night, but the hour was late. He was certain that was the last one so he took his time washing in the small basin between his and the other male’s room. He couldn’t hear any noise coming from the other room, and assumed Theryn had finished with his clients as well.

He finished washing and tossed on his clothing. It didn’t cover much, but the nights were warm. It was much more difficult to deal with in the colder months, especially when there wasn’t any heat in the house. He tied back his long, curly, blond hair, and he walked out into the common area.

As he suspected, there were no clients left. All of them had been satisfied, or were in the process of being satisfied. The smell of incense hung in the air, though none was burning at the present. One of the old madame’s sat on the sofa, raising a brow as he passed.

“You should be sleeping, my dear.”

“I was thirsty, Madame Mithca. I wanted a glass of water. I’ll only be a minute.”

Julan walked to the small kitchen on the other side of the room. Madame Sarai usually worked there, making meals for the women and the two men. Madame Sarai, Madame Mithca and Madame Kanatri were the founders of the house. They used to work themselves, but as they grew older, they hired others, and even built on a couple of rooms. It wasn’t the first of its kind in Eowyr, an elven city located on the edge of the forested land in south-eastern Naren that many elves called their home. Julan thought this house was the best of its kind. He had tried working at a few other places in Eowyr, with varying degrees of bad results. He’d worked on his own as well, but he preferred the protection that the houses offered. They were more secure, and this one was the only one he had found that respected him.

Julan filled a glass and went to sit with Madame Mithca on the sofa.

“You’ll need your rest for tomorrow.”

She was right. It was summer solstice tomorrow and that meant another Name Day celebration. It was a silly human holiday that the elves had picked up on, or so he thought he remembered being told so in school. There was something about the old religions being lost to time and the world had come into believing one prophet. That’s why Thril Gandir and Rathel were established to control the mages, and a system to test everyone for magical ability was put into place. The Name Days were part of this system. No child could be named outside of the four days of each year. When they were brought for naming, they were also tested. Although Julan was considered nameless, he was free of magical ability, as far as he knew. Many prostitutes in Eowyr were also rogue mages. Unable to prove who they were, they were unable to work normal jobs. Theryn was one. A couple of the girls here were also. The madames and the others took care to protect them.

“As good as it is for business, there are times I’d rather we didn’t have Name Days.” Julan said before sipping his water. It was warm and stale tasting– typical of summer water in Eowyr.

Madame Mithca smiled, “You and I both, dear. If those fanatics in Elenduil have their way, maybe there will come a time when we turn back to the old religions.”

“But no one remembers them. It’s been thousands of years. I think the people in Elenduil are making things up.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure of that.”

“Do you believe them?” Julan asked, momentarily forgetting his water.

“I don’t know. On one hand, I can’t believe our sole purpose in life is to control the mages to prevent the destruction of the world. On the other, they do have that power, don’t they? It’s possible the old ways were right, but who wants to be the one to make the decision to test that theory? I don’t see change happening very fast nor very easily.”

Julan nodded in thought as he sipped his water again. He supposed if they put enough together from translating what was written on old stone tablets, then maybe the old religions could resurface. Maybe.

He opened his mouth to reply to Madame Mithca, when a piercing scream came from outside.

“What was that?” he said, rising to go to the window overlooking the street. Madame Mithca followed behind him.

The first thing he saw was fire in the building across the street. Then he noticed something swooping down from the dark sky. He could have easily missed it if not for the light from the fires. It had large wings, and a tail. It moved before he could identify it. Was it a dragon? If so, what was it doing here? If it wasn’t, then what was it?

Madame Mithca moved away from the window. “We have to warn the—” She was interrupted by a loud crash, and yelling in Theryn’s room. Julan ran to Theryn’s door and threw it open just in time to see Theyrn being lifted out through the roof.

He stood there dazed for a moment before being pulled back to reality by a hand grabbing his wrist and pulling. One of the women had pulled him back from the room only to start crying. The others had woken now, and Madame Sarai and Kanatri had joined them in the common room. They tried to keep everyone calm, but at the same time they needed to figure out what was going on and what to do about it. They were failing at all three . The screams were not only coming from inside, but more joined them in the street. Julan looked around for Madame Mithca. She had just been here.

Another loud crash came and bits of plaster and dust rained down on them. Most of them ran towards the door, though a couple of the women ran back to their rooms. Julan had no time to think about it. He had to find Madame Mithca.

As Madame Sarai and Kanatri tried to calm everyone as they exited, Julan ran to Madame Mithca’s room, and swung open the door. He gasped when he saw a hole in the roof, staring up at it for a moment thinking he was already to late. Then he caught a glimpse of movement on the floor. Below the debris of the roof, a hand reached out.

“Madame Mithca!” Julan rushed to where he could see her hand and started pulling pieces of debris off of her. The more he pulled off, and the more he saw of her, the more he realized how badly she was injured. One of the larger beams had fallen across her and she was pinned in place. He moved behind her to cradle her upper body.

“Madame Mithca. It’s okay. I’m here. I’ll stay with you.” He tried to sound calm, but was fighting back tears as he held her up. He noticed she held something in her other hand, and she was trying to lift her arm.

“Julan, my dear. You can’t stay.”

“I’ll stay with you. I can’t leave you alone.”

“Dear, I won’t be staying either. I’m afraid I’ll be leaving my body behind soon.” With effort she lifted her hand. “Take this.”

“What is it?”

“It’s been in my family for centuries. Please find someone to translate it.” Her breathing was labored, and her words came in intervals. Julan feared she was right. She was leaving her body behind.

He took the object. It was wrapped in a cloth. He unwrapped it enough to see a beautiful old scroll case.

Another crash against the roof reminded him that he was still in great danger.

“Go. Run.” Madame Mithca managed to say before her body went limp.

Julan let her back down gently, pressing his lips to her forehead before obeying her words. He ran out to the common room to find another hole had been made in the ceiling. Everyone had left. He ran out the door and made for the alley, hoping that the large, flying creatures wouldn’t be able to see him in the smaller areas between the buildings.

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Hethurin’s Notes

  • Our trip to Shattrath is almost over. I’ve missed this city, even though I have some sad memories here. There’s lots of good memories too. It helps that the library is amazing for all sorts of research. I’ve found a couple of books I want to show Renner. They have some different spells that I would like to try. One of them lets time pass in your present while you’re in another time. Something I worry about is making myself much older than I’m supposed to be. It’s funny because that was part of the appeal at first because I felt so young next to other Magisters, but now that I think I’m at least five years older than I’m supposed to be, I realize that I want to live my present as much as possible. I want to be involved with my family, with the school and with the students. I want to watch Narise and Malwen grow, not in slow motion because I’m spending a week away in the matter of seconds, but at a normal pace.
  • I do think that if Terellion and I get another baby, then sleeping in another time line does work out very well for the first few months. Narise is sleeping through the night most of the time now, so I don’t have to do that now. Terellion and I still sometimes go when we don’t want to be disturbed.
  • It’s also good for fishing.
  • I think my main point is that I don’t want to take trips that last a week every day. I think I’m looking at shorter trips.
  • I also found some interesting books to look at with Ter. I think he’ll like them. We can read them together.
  • Speaking of reading, I have a lot of papers to read now. The students just handed in their research paper projects today. I asked them to write a short paper on specific spell theory as their library assignment. The two newest students haven’t written papers before, I think. I was curious as to how they did, so I’ve taken time to skim over both of theirs. Felarius’s paper sounds very familiar, almost like he copied it from his text book. Irael’s paper is a little bit better, but the information isn’t very well organized.
  • I showed them to Aeramin to get his thoughts on it, and he said he was already planning to talk to Lali about walking them through writing a paper. That made me wonder if Lali has ever written one. She grew up in trees and with cows. I bet they didn’t make her write papers. I decided to let Aeramin talk to Lali. I’ll talk to Raleth to make sure he helps if needed.
  • I don’t interfere much with the general education classes, and I do think Lali is doing a great job. She had them write a play and perform for us. Malwen got to be Queen Azshara and she was so cute. She remembered all her lines. I’m so proud of her.
  • Malwen’s sewing classes will be on break for the summer, so I will have to find something else for her so that she’ll be able to be around kids her age. Maybe she would like swimming lessons. I’m scared of the water, but I don’t think she is.
  • Terellion and I spoke a little about adopting more children. We’re going to get more kids, but I think Narise needs to be a little older first. I love both of the girls so much. It’s hard to imagine having enough love for a third, but Nessna says that you don’t stop loving the first one just because you get another. It’s your heart that grows, and you just have more love to give. I hope she’s right!

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A Prisoner’s Name Day

(( This week’s prompt is to write a story about a birthday. Again, I wanted to set my story in Naren, and they don’t celebrate birthdays there. They celebrate name days instead, which occur four times a year, and usually come with a big celebration in each town. I decided that since I already wrote about the name day celebrations in previous prompts, I’d choose someone who is less excited about it. ))

She was barely recognizable anymore. Her once soft, wavy, red hair lay tangled and matted over her shoulders.  Her blue eyes remained closed, though he was sure  she heard him enter. She rested curled up on the bench in the corner of her cell as he stepped further in. The cell door slammed shut behind him, and he heard the guard’s keys jingle as the lock clicked.

“Fifteen minutes. I’ll be back to let you out when the time is up, Lord Melith’endre.”

Ellorian turned briefly to nod at the trained adahi guard, then turned his attention back to the woman in the cell with him. He waited until the guard’s footsteps faded away in the distance before speaking.

“Hello Naevys.”

Her eyes fluttered open at the sound of his voice. “Ellorian, hi.”

“Happy Name Day.” Ellorian pulled a small wrapped box from one of his robe pockets.

Naevys grunted, “Is it happy? I have a difficult time celebrating the anniversary of the day I was found to be a mage. Especially now, considering where I am.” She glanced down at her hands. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to open that for me.”

Ellorian nodded, noting the iron mitts that had been placed over her hands to prevent her from casting. They had trusted her enough to have them removed as a reward for her good behavior a few years ago. He wondered what she had done to warrant them being put back on. He was sure he could guess, but decided to let it slide. He began to unwrap her gift.

As if reading his mind, Naevys spoke as he removed the ribbons from the small box, “I wasn’t trying to escape this time.”

“No?” Ellorian asked, genuinely surprised. She had tried to leave Thril Gandir on her own so many times that it would have been easy to assume that was the reason. Unfortunately, rules were rules, and not even their family’s wealth and status could keep her from her punishment. If only she had been more like him, patient enough to wait. She could have been living in relative freedom as he did now. He was even allowed to visit her unaccompanied by his own adahi, which he was thankful for. He certainly didn’t need Rissa’s comments on the matter.

Naevys shook her head as Ellorian continued to carefully unwrap the gift. “I was trying to help someone else.”

Ellorian raised a brow, “Really? You were trying to help someone else escape? Who?”

She nodded, and gestured towards the door of her cell. Her iron mitts prevented her from pointing. “Him. The one in the cell across from mine. He doesn’t belong here.”

Ellorian turned towards where his sister indicated, still holding the partially wrapped package in his hand. The other cell was dark, much darker than his sister’s which was lit with a magical globe of light that hovered over the center of the cell. He took a couple of steps closer as he peered into the darkness. He couldn’t make out much of anything in the other cell. He thought he saw what looked to be a blanket laying across the floor, rumpled and uneven. He took a few more steps, walking right up to the bars. He could just make out the form lying on the bench against the far wall. The blanket that lay spread across the floor seemed to wrap around the back of the prisoner. More of the blanket seemed to bunch up on the other side between the prisoner and the wall.

Just as Ellorian was beginning to think it was the biggest blanket he had ever seen, it occurred to him that it wasn’t a blanket at all. The material looked more like leather, and not like any sensible blanket material. That and there were points on the blanket, and thicker parts that emerged from those points that he had mistaken for rumpled folds before. He now recognized there was an underlying bone structure. He was not looking at a blanket. He was looking at wings.

He didn’t turn to face his sister as he asked, “What is he?” The package remained in his hand, momentarily forgotten.

“He doesn’t belong here. He is a lucaja.”

Ellorian blinked, not quite believing his ears, but what else could the being in the other cell be? He’d never seen one in person, despite his town being fairly close to the mountains that the dragons made their homes in. To his knowledge, all lucaja were enslaved to the dragons. There were some who said they were little more than dogs, and unless dogs were considered slaves, then neither were lucaja. Others claimed to know they had language and complex thought, which meant they were more than trained dogs. Ellorian quickly asked his next question, “Does he speak?”

“No, but they are causing him harm. Look at him now, his wing is broken. They take him out every few days, and bring him back in worse shape. He needs to get out of here before they wind up killing him.”

“Who? Who are the people hurting him?” Ellorian asked as he looked closer at the wing spread across the floor. It was bent at an odd angle in one spot along the upper edge. His ear twitched. Naevys was right.

“I don’t know their names. I believe they’re some of the researchers.”

Ellorian frowned. It didn’t matter whether the lucaja were sentient or not, they didn’t deserve to have new spells tested on them. He turned from the door, and walked across the cell to join her on the bench. He spoke in a whisper as he resumed opening the small box. “I’ll need a few days to prepare, but I will be back to visit soon.” He pulled the sparkling hairpin from the box. It was gold with rubies set in it in the shape of a flower. He heard footsteps of the guard returning as he clipped it into her hair.

“Thank you, Ellorian.” She smiled slightly as he rose and walked to the door of the cell. The guard’s keys jingled in the lock.

“I’ll see you soon, Naevys.” He said before being escorted away. Now he only had to convince Rissa not to turn him in for what he was planning to do.

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Hernester

(( I wrote a quick short story to fulfill both the 2nd person prompt as well as the undead prompt just so I could get caught up. This is what goes on in Hernester’s mind as he sits outside the ranger building. ))

You like the elves. The elves are nice. They bring you an umbrella in the rain. The little one puts flowers on you. The elves are nice. You like the elves.

You do their work for them, counting each blade of grass. They need to know. One. Two. Three. Four. It starts to rain. You lose count, but you have to keep trying. One. Two. Three.

You’re getting wet. One of the elves comes out of the building and puts the covering over you. Now you can stay dry. The elves are nice.

You try to thank the elf, but your words aren’t as clear as they used to be. Your tongue gets in the way and doesn’t move the way you want it to. Your thanks comes out as a sputtered garble. Maybe the elf understood. He looks at you with sad eyes. He is taking pity on you, but you don’t see why he should do that. You can still count, and that is good.

One. Two. Three.

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