Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! One day closer to Friday! Yayyyyy! Today, a short snap of my book The Bird that I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I should have covers two and three ready soon. I do hope you'll all come back and vote for your favorite. On a positive note, I am a NaNo winner! I verified at 50,193 words. Of course, my novel will likely end up being more like 55k when it's edited and done but I hit the 50k mark so YAY! I get to display this badge now!
Stormy Terrabonne's life is about to be changed forever by a bright
red cardinal. She soon finds herself being whisked away from all she's
ever known to save an entire race of people known as Trobodytes. When
she's presented to the Queen, Stormy learns how she's expected to help:
By killing an evil wizard named Bordash Bladeslinger and stopping him
from cutting down the sacred trees that bind Trogon to Earth.
Now, there are only two trees left. One of the trees presents a
double dose of jeopardy: It's also tied to the renewed life of Stormy's
mother. While Stormy learns more about the gifts she gained by becoming a
Trobodyte, someone manages to poison that all important tree.
It's a race against time as she faces a legion of fairy tale
creatures she never knew existed, learns to harness the power within
herself to battle Bordash Bladeslinger, and tries to find a way to heal
the dying tree before it collapses and takes her mother with it.
Now, for the rest of chapter 1 that I gave you half of in this post. Please keep in mind this is unedited and very rough. Thanks!
As her feet moved forward, her eyes adjusted to the new light. It was a bit dimmer than above and had a more golden tone to it. She glanced down at her arms and noticed she looked more bronzed than she did before. Thinking it must do wonders for the skin, she wondered how often you’d have to be exposed to it to look like Michael. She felt the heat rise into her face.
Stormy looked up and saw the spiral of the staircase reach far into the open air above them. She began to wonder how much longer they’d have to go when suddenly they were standing in front of a large, gilded door.
Michael reached his hand up, placed it on the handle, and murmured something too low for her to hear. Slowly, the door opened away from them to reveal a city so large and beautiful, it took her breath away.
Her hand flew to the base of her throat and she gasped as her eyes flew around, trying to take it all in.
Every path was paved in silver and gold. Trees stood tall and proud but they had golden leaves and deep purple trunks. The air was a perfect temperature and the absence of the humidity in Missouri was noticeable. Silver, gold, and jeweled rooftops sparkled in every direction. But the crowning glory of this world was the biggest castle Stormy could ever have imagined. It seemed every road and path terminated at the gates and its visage seemed to glow with a powerful aura.
He turned and looked at her face and gave a low chuckle before saying, “Welcome to Trogon. Quite a change from that drab world you come from, isn’t it?”
She nodded. “Yes. It’s so beautiful.”
“It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been all over the world. I think you’re going to like it here. Come on, we have to speak with Mother.” He pressed forward, dragging Stormy along behind him. When she lagged, looking at this or exclaiming over that, he would cut her off and tell her they needed to hurry, there would be time for admiring things later.
As they approached the castle, she grew apprehensive about meeting his mother. She began to ask questions. “What is it your mother does? Why does she want to see me? How come no one knows about this place? What do you eat here?”
Every question she asked was answered with, “Mother will answer your questions when we arrive. Come on,” along with a pull on the hand he still held.
They arrived at the castle gates and the guards bowed. “Welcome back, your Majesty.”
She was baffled. He was a prince! That meant his mother was the Queen! Stormy’s hands began to perspire all over again as her nerves gave a strong jangle.
He walked right up to the doors of the castle and thrust them open with gusto. Every guard bowed as they passed and some gave Stormy a look that could only be interpreted as hopeful.
She began to wonder what she’d gotten herself into.
When they finally reached the throne room, her legs were worn out and she was tired of not getting answers. Her temper began to rise and she felt her body grow warm with anger.
Michael deposited her at the foot of the dais and barked a command. “Kneel before the Queen.”
Stormy’s rage flared in that moment and she replied, “No. She’s not my queen and I don’t know her from Eve. I want answers to my questions, dammit; now.”
He sighed and knelt before the woman sitting on the single throne atop the platform. “I have brought her, most honored Mother, as requested.”
Stormy looked at the woman and sized her up. Eyes that sparked with power and humor in a dazzling green color could’ve been emeralds set in the woman’s perfectly round face. Jet black hair was lying in a long braid over her shoulder that almost reached her ankles. On her head was a thin circlet of gold with tiny silver leaves and pink colored apples adorning the sides. Her dress seemed to be made of the night sky, complete with sparkling silver stars. Above all, this woman radiated power from her very being, and before Stormy realized what she was doing, she dropped to her knees in reverence.
“See, child? She has come around. There is no need for an ill temper.” When the queen smiled, the light about her grew brighter. “Please rise; both of you. This is not a time for formalities. We’ve wasted precious years already.”
She turned to Stormy. “Hello, darling girl, we’ve been searching for you a long time.”
“Why? What’s all this about? Who are you? What do you want with me?” Stormy demanded.
The queen threw back her head and laughed. It was a tinkling sound that reverberated around the room and put Stormy right at ease. “I’ve been thinking on how to tell you this. I don’t have time to explain every detail so I’m going to give you a quick overview. Will that suit you for now? We have a lot to do and little time to do it in.”
Stormy sighed and crossed her arms. “I suppose it’ll have to.”
“Very good. Please, have a seat.”
A chair appeared out of nowhere and Stormy plopped down in it. Her coffee, forgotten on the porch of her mother’s house, appeared on the armrest. Lifting it for a drink, Stormy settled into the chair and nodded as an indication the queen should begin.
Michael excused himself, saying he’d be back later to escort Stormy home.
“My name is Queen Lea Havenshare. I’m two hundred twenty years old. I’ve been queen of Trogon for over one hundred years, since my father before me turned to dust and left this world. You might say I’m your version of Mother Earth, but I don’t control everything that happens in your world. I only control the sunrise, sunset, and growth. We all have different powers here and all have a hand in shaping the world above. We are known as Trobodytes.
“Forty-five years ago, our world began to die. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until one of my people came to me with a most harrowing report of violence. She told me one of our wizards, Bordash, whom we call the Bladeslinger, was seen cutting down one of the trees that ties our world to yours. Without those trees, Trogon will cease to exist. We are connected to your world through magic and the elements. If the magic the trees provides is severed, we will all die.”
Stormy raised her hand and cleared her throat.
“Yes, dear, what is it?”
“Sorry to interrupt. Just a question. Why can’t you just hook up with new trees?”
Lea’s eyes sparked. “That’s a very intelligent question. I’ll try to explain as well as I can. You see, the trees we’re tied to are all in places with a high concentration of natural energy in your world. In order for a tree to tie us, it must grow in that special place. It must be planted by a witch or wizard from Trogon, be fused with the magic of our own trees, and must be no less than fifty years old before it can be attached. Our process is quite long and involved. It can take three years to infuse the seedling with our magic before it can be planted above. Younger trees can’t bear the burden.”
“Oh. I see. So how many are left?” Stormy asked.
“Two. But we have one that’s almost to maturity near Tara, Ireland. It’s being guarded by Learion, one of our most powerful wizards.”
She pressed for more. “And how many were there to begin with?”
“Thirty. There’s power in threes and tens, you see. So we need three trees times ten to give us our strongest connection to your world.” Lea explained.
Stormy felt the blood drain from her face as the realization of how much trouble Trogon was in dawned on her. She asked, “So what do I have to do with all this?”
Lea’s eyes turned down to look at her hands folded in her lap. “You’re the only one who can defeat Bordash Bladeslinger and save us.”
Leaping to her feet, Stormy yelled, “What? Tell me you aren’t saying what I think you’re saying! How am I supposed to battle and destroy a magician? You’ve got the wrong woman. There’s no way! Why me?”
“Please, sit down. I’ll explain.”
Stormy crossed her arms and remained on her feet. “Well? I’m waiting.”
The queen sighed. “Fifty years ago, one of our prophets spoke of a child conceived in a place of power, and born on a day of power, who would save us. You were conceived near the tree which brought you here and born on October 31. We didn’t know we needed saving at the time so we weren’t worried about finding you. By the time we did, you’d moved away. We’ve been waiting ever since you were twenty for you to return.”
Raising her eyes to meet Stormy’s, the queen continued. “Listen, I know this is a lot to take in and a huge decision. But humor me and hear my offer before you make your decision. We cannot force you to help; you must do so of your own free will.”
Stormy felt her blood-pressure skyrocket but agreed to hear the woman out and sat back down in the chair.
“My offer is thus: We will give you a soup you will feed half of to your mother and take the other half of into yourself. She will be returned to age thirteen and given another chance to live her life; though she will not remember you or any of her life before. You will be forever eighteen in appearance and will live and die as we do. That means special abilities – though I’m not sure what yours will manifest as – and no pain of death. You will simply cease to exist and crumble to dust when your time is complete. We live to be around five hundred years old. I cannot erase your age, you will continue to be forty-five, but you’ll look and feel eighteen again. As a comparison, my son is fifty and you already know I’m two hundred twenty. So you see what you’ll be gaining.
“To be totally honest with you, when your mother returns to age thirteen, sixty years will also be taken off the tree her life force is tied to. It’s the tree you came into Trogon by. If it dies, your mother dies, and vice versa. So, while my offer is generous, it’s also selfish. We need that tree to remain younger longer.” The queen sat with her hands in her lap and her eyes fixed on Stormy.
Processing all the information given was causing Stormy a headache. Just as she was about to politely decline, a black and grey squirrel dashed over the floor, jumped up onto Lea’s lap, and sat looking at her for a moment.
Lea turned white and said, “Thank you, Rambler.” After which she reached into a pouch at her waist Stormy hadn’t noticed before and procured an odd-looking acorn for the tiny beast.
He shoved it into his mouth and started back the way he’d come. As he passed Stormy, and seemed to notice her sitting there for the first time, he turned and looked in the queen’s direction again.
“Yes, that’s the woman we’ve been looking for. Go on now,” Lea said. “I’m very sorry, Stormy, but I must take my leave of you now. We have a pressing matter that needs my attention. You have two days to make your decision. Goodbye.”
Michael appeared at Stormy’s shoulder and said, “Let’s go. I need to get you out of here.”
“What the hell was that?” Stormy asked.
“Yes, the squirrel!”
“He’s one of my mother’s servants. Be careful what you think around him; he can read your mind.” Michael chuckled.
Stormy stood up and the chair and coffee disappeared.
They headed for the door. When he pulled it open, Stormy could see a dark funnel cloud taking shape over the landscape to her left.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Bordash. He’s found out somehow that you’re in Trogon, and he’s heading this way.”
“To kill you, of course.”
And there you have it. The rest of chapter one. Hmmmm what will she do? Take the offer or walk away? You'll have to read the book to find out! BWAAHAHAHHAHA! Okay, enough of the evil laugh. If you're a fan of fantasy, you're going to dig The Bird!
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!