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View Full Version : The Maiden (Outlander Series Book #1) Chapter 1



HalfRail
February 16th, 2017, 12:31 AM
Cold. It's a common theme. Much more is ones adaptation to the cold. Or as the soon to be wedd, Nabu, prefers; Exception.

"Just because it is your florescent week, doesn't mean you should walk around in this!" Managed to be heard in an amongst the large, dimly lit tent. Tens of dozens of individuals were going about tirelessly; some hanging decorative ropes upon banisters, others bringing in various colors of fur and feathers to be put in bags. And yet, within the commotion it was clear that there was one individual who wasn't moving among the rest.

A light bronze skinned woman. Large elk antlers and flowing brown hair, much like some of the individuals inside the tent. She was sitting, close to the flame in the center of the tent, much like a princess would; motionless, often making irritated faces as foreign objects such as jewels or colored silkish rope was placed on her, and quickly taken off.

The voice that pierced before was heard again, this time closer to the woman. A hiss was heard, followed by a loud smack. The woman closed her eyes and exhaled.


"And here we go..."

Loud hoof stomps against hard wood filled her ears as she slowly opened her eyes. A short woman, her bottom half that of an equine, with horns, but much more curved like a goat, held in her palms a very elegant dress. A combination of silk feathers and wool among the fabric, with gems and strands of ribbon alike. Though, by the way she was holding I in one fist, made the overall look become matted.

"Yes-"

"Do not speak! As of this moment, you have lost that right!"

The woman only exhaled again. The satyr woman held up the dress in Nabu's face.
"Care to explain what exactly this is?" She demanded, clearly a rhetorical question. Nabu examined the dress an faux curiosity, which made the satyr woman more irritated.

"A...dress if I ever saw-"

"Wrong!! This, is an embarrassment! If I find whoever you commissioned for this, it'll be the end of their career!"

"I commissioned your mother, Sani."

"And? All the more reason!" She tossed the dress in fire and feverously examined how her current make up and foliage that hung about her antlers. "The chances you will get to have this week all to yourself next year is slim to none. So excuse me if Im the only one who wants this to be perfect!"

"The sun will not come for the next storm, which is a number of weeks from now. It's too much time if you ask me."

"Well I'm not asking, I'm telling."

Sani snaps her fingers and a trio of humanoid feline creatures stopped what they were doing and stood at attention.

"Burn that eye sore. And bring me my mother, we need to have a discussion."

"You are not going to idle your mother!" Nabu snapped.

"Well, I don't expect you too!"

"Alright.." She takes a deep breath, "Stop!"

At the sound of her voice, everything in the area stood to a halt.

Nabu stood to her feet, excusing those who surrounded her chair and stepped close to Sani. There was about a two foot difference in height between her and everyone else in the tent.

She bends down so she could whisper.

"We have had this discussion already; I am honored that a good friend of mine is the my coadjutor, but I cannot allow you to raise your voice above mine. This is the last I will say this, are we clear?"

Sani remained silent. The only sound heard was the flow of wind outside and the cracking fire.

"You may excuse yourself, Sani."

Sani said nothing and stomped to the exit, workers moving aside as she passed and shoving those who didn't move fast enough. She stopped at the entrance, turned around and shouted, "At this rate I'll be wedd before you!" And stormed off into a mild blizzard.

Nabu chuckled.

"Keep telling yourself that." She said aloud. And like a virus, the laughter spread until everyone was cracking up. The feline workers who were working on her foliage motioned for her to sit back in the chair. Nabu looked to the fire to see that, other than the charred dress, it was getting low.

"I'm sorry, I don't think we have enough time to try anything else today." She said with a warm smile, delighted she didn't have to lie this time.

The felines still beckoned her over. "We know." One of them said, a tone of annoyance in his voice. " We were going to clean you up."

"Oh.." She breathed, sitting in the chair. Why didn't they just say that?

Everyone else was doing their best to finish what they were doing and cleaning up the area.

The feline and antlered individuals bid Nabu farewell and left the tent. She stood on a risen platform, bare in nothing but a brown and red patterned poncho and a short, matching, form fitting under dress.

The fire was out, the dress cleaned away and the tent with nothing but small torches hung from support beams. It was quiet, the only sound coming from the growing blizzard outside. Nabu could only stare at the entrance, her back to the wall. It was to the point where she heard nothing but the screaming wind outside.

Her eyes drifted up, looking at the tent as it flapped violently. She pressed her back harder against the wall, almost on her toes. She could almost feel her heart sink, this was the worst part. A change in wind current made a flow of unbearably freezing air flow inside the tent. All the torches went off at once, and at the same time, the blizzard calmed down. Now Nabu was left in the dark, the only light coming from the small opening in the tent. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest. Grimacing, she cursed herself. How long has she been doing this to still be terrified? They'll be here any second now, but it feels like an eternity.

A thunderclap momentarily mutes the sound of howling winds, lightning illuminating the then for a split second.

Moments pass as the blizzard outside slowly subsided until finally becoming gentle snowfall.

Nabu took in another breath before slowly pushing off the wooden wall. That push became a shove when she heard something large land just outside the tent, directly behind her. Then came footsteps as whatever was behind the tents shadow moved to the entrance. Nabu followed the shadow, moving silently across the floor.

The two forms made their way to the entrance and Nabu stopped. Her legs acted on their own as she rushed over to the nearest support beam and hid behind it.

A hand, much larger than Nabu's torso, came around and grip the edge if the tent's entrance.*A long avian face peered inside. It's eyes were completely white, and its humanoid form, from what Nabu could see, was thick with muscle. The head looked about the tent before its eyes landed on Nabu peaking at it from her hiding place. They shared a wordless glance before the form backed slowly from the tent.

Nabu let out a shaky breath as she walked towards the entrance.

This place, though it may be impossibly cold, all residents are unbothered. Well, as much as Nabu saw. Those of her kind couldn't care less how low the temperature dropped. It's just how it was. What she didn't understand was the other creatures. After they serve her, they disappear into the blizzard. How do they find their way? How do they manage to come back? And above all, where do they go?

Her feet landed on cold stone as countless feathers flew by her form. She looked in time to see the avian creature disappear into the grey clouds.

Before she had time to think, Nabu was greeted by another satyr creature, this one a male. His horns where longer than his body and the thin, loose silk he wore just manages to cover himself. He extended a long nailed hand to her.

"You're just in time...princess."

He spoke as he looked, and then some. Nabu placed her hand on his for a moment, then they both put their hands down.

"I'm not expecting anyone today."

"No, I've taken care of everything today." His hot, cloudy breath managed to reach her face. Disgusted and confused, she looked back to the clouds.

"So why did-"

"They have brought you here under my request. Now please..." The creature then turns around and walks towards a cut out hole of an impossibly large tree. "We have business." As he says the last word, his form fades into the wind. Nabu looks to see a group of satyr all beckoning her to the entrance to what she sees to be endless darkness.

And it was, for the most part. She was guided by small yet long hands touching her in places that made her feel unclean. And yet, she didn't mind it. She had done this more than she can count, it was all routine now. Her guides made their way into a small room within the tree, in it sat a green flame that, for some reason, didn't look to engulf the whole tree. And in front of it stood the satyr from outside. The guides said their goodbyes and their hoof steps trailed away to nothing.

Nabu stepped into the room and roots shot out from all corners of the entrance, sealing the two beings inside.

"One of these days, that fire will kill this willow." She sneered as she gently caressed the tree.

"This fern is as old as Chronos, princess. It takes up space."

"You say this to your home?"

"From ashes it shall rise to a more brilliant fern. That I will call home. Now..." He sits down cross legged and Nabu sits to her knees. "We have much to discuss."

"Regarding the Thunderbirds?"

"Not them specifically, more of what they saw. A star has fallen on Chronos, and she has captured it for her own." The satyr spits on the fire and the flames rise, showing a motion picture of a bright object falling into a snow bank.

Nabu snickered. "Are you sure you're not telling me a bedtime story?"

The satyrs face never changed, remaining an unamused smirk. He spit again and several bony avian faces filled the fire.

"Tell that to them."

"You're saying, they saw this star fall? How? How can they possibly know?" She now sounded a bit irritated.

"It would be wise to know more of them. For they see all." He blew on the fire, blowing the bird heads away. "Why do you think they live beyond the trees?"

"Right, so...this star, what exactly is it?"

The satyr let out a hissing laugh. "I'm not sure. And neither were they."

"They didn't know, or they didn't tell you?"

"Could be one or the other, for now this is as far as our concern goes."

===

Within a bed of flowers, lay a natural beauty. A woman, pale is her skin and flawless was it's texture She lay bare as nature itself seemed to willingly surround her, cover her. Such as a moment of perfection is present, it is tossed away. The flowers that surrounded her suddenly stood to their natural state. The woman's eyes opened, her milk white eyes saw before her a feminine, feline figure. Dressed in baggy white silk, completely covering her legs, upper chest and a hood that obscured her face.

'I swear, this child...' The woman groaned internally. She asked politely for her to stand back and the girl obliged. The woman stood to her feet, easily putting a three foot distance in height and the girl knelt. She spoke, but not with words, with a whistle. Occasional changes in tune that could be heard about the field and beyond. She soon stopped whistling and looked up at the woman. The, now looked to be feline, girl blinked once before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

The woman sighed as she walked down the hill of the field, whilst looking up at the clear blue sky.

"A fallen star?"

===

Nabu was having trouble breathing. Actually, at this point she wasn't breathing at all. Her breath never got passed her tounge. She watched helplessly as the satyr in front of her disappeared into the tree. Her eyes then looked down to see the green fire was spreading about the small space. Her heart raced as her body tried to search for any possible means of escape. But there wasn't one. And she new that. Nabu repeatedly cursed herself. She knew how all of this ended, so why was she scared. It wasn't long now, soon she shall be with her kind again and all will be well.

That was her thought process, until an unseen breath of air made it to her lungs. She gasped in both shock and horror. Something was wrong, the spell stopped working. She shot up from the floor and immediately started pounding and scraping for an escape. Forgetting again that there was no way out. She would scream, but she knew as well that the tree was too thick. Defeated, she turned to look at the now wildfire that spread to all corners of the room.

She winced in pain as fire crawled up her feet. Soon her whole body was covered in flames, and try as she might, they wouldn't go out. What's worse, the fire was somehow taking away the air in the room. Nabu coughed as her breathing became quicker and shorter. She fell to her knees and grabbed her chest, her vision became blurry.

And then, everything went black. Although, she was still able to see, still able to feel the fire. But the fire wasn't green anymore, it turned black.

The black fire spread, throughout the handcrafted halls of the trees. It crackled as it moved, almost like how one woefully sick would laugh. Soon the fire spread outside, and as it did it returned to its natural orange color and died out. This fire, strange as it was, stood no chance against the terrible blizzard.

Then, every last one of the satyr people came sprinting outside. A good hundred stood out on the stone ground as the tree cavern closed in on itself, sealing the entrance shut.

The one who had greeted Nabu, stood in awe and confusion. "That's...not supposed to happen..."

===

The tall woman, now using leaves*woven into*a hooded, sleeveless regalia,*stood atop a vast field of seemingly endless snow. However, her form was transparent, flakes of snow floating through her as if she wasn't there.

Beyond where she stood were trees that rivaled the size of small mountains. The taigalands. Her form quickly floated forward, only to stop at the sight of smoke coming from the snow.

At first she was confused, wildfires of any kind were impossible in the taigalands. She then remembered that there are some that live close to the edge of the forest. Perhaps it was a signal fire.

She got closer to see.

On the snow laid a smoldering antlered woman. Several patches of skin was burnt down to the bone. Her left antler was a short branch compared to her right.

The woman looked around the body. No footprints. No trail of any kind. There wasn't even any depression into the snow where she laid.

The woman's vision started to blur as she was violently pulled back miles and miles. Her eyes shot open as she looks up to a group of long haired individuals. Unlike her, they all shared the same face of shock.

The woman cleared her throat as she stood to her feet.

"Well, I did not see this star, but I did see something else. Something curious." She walked by the individuals, all of which where whispering to each other.

===

Yes, this is where it began. This is where I-My quest. I-I did something. I had upset this world. But....why is it so painful to think?

Harper J. Cole
March 4th, 2017, 11:25 PM
Halfrail,

You've got an interesting fantasy setting, which is good. There are issues with your use of language though ... phrases like "idle your mother" and "stood to her feet" don't sound natural.

You need to keep your tenses consistent as well. You suddenly switch to present tense for the following paragraph ...


"They have brought you here under my request. Now please..." The creature then turns around and walks towards a cut out hole of an impossibly large tree. "We have business." As he says the last word, his form fades into the wind. Nabu looks to see a group of satyr all beckoning her to the entrance to what she sees to be endless darkness.

I'd recommend working on the basics, so that you can put across your ideas more clearly. Look at the work of a favourite author, and really study how they structure their sentences, and you'll soon see the benefits.

HC

Jay Greenstein
March 5th, 2017, 03:59 AM
I wish I had better news. And since that, in and of itself is bad news, a disclaimer: What I'm about to say has nothing to do with you, your talent and potential, or story. It's that you, like most hopeful writers have fallen into the trap of believing that the writing skills we're given in our schooldays are universal, and that storytelling on the page is related to verbal storytelling, so we can simply tell the story and record the words.

To hear why that doesn't work, stop before going on and have your computer read the words of the first three paragraphs aloud, so you'll hear the opening as the reader does, not as you would perform it.

Look at the opening as a reader, one who knows only what the words suggest to them does:
Cold. It's a common theme. Much more is ones adaptation to the cold. Or as the soon to be wedd, Nabu, prefers; Exception.

1. A common theme? For what? As a reader, I don't yet know where it am in time and space. I don't know what's going on. I don't know whose skin I'm supposed to be wearing. So when someone unknown tells me it's cold, it's a weather report, given for unknown reason. What reader wants to start a story with a weather report?

2. The second sentence, "Much more is ones adaptation to the cold." seems to have nothing to do with the first other then the subject. Perhaps if the reader knew the things I mentioned in point one it would make sense. But without knowing why it matters to the scene, knowing that someone unknown thinks it's cold is meaningless.

3. So someone unknown, who doesn't like the weather, will be married? That's data, not story. You need to begin with story.
"Just because it is your florescent week, doesn't mean you should walk around in this!" Managed to be heard in an amongst the large, dimly lit tent. Tens of dozens of individuals were going about tirelessly; some hanging decorative ropes upon banisters, others bringing in various colors of fur and feathers to be put in bags. And yet, within the commotion it was clear that there was one individual who wasn't moving among the rest.1. Someone we don't know is talking to someone we've not met. How can that have meaning, or produce a mental image?

2. What in the hell is a florescent week? You know, I'm certain. So do the people in the story. But the reader? Shouldn't they know? Because if they don't they have no context and the words are meaningless. You can't just report ewhat you visualize people saying in the scene. Unless the reader has context they're just words. And you can't say that if we read on we'll learn because readers won't. First, because you can't retroactively remove confusion. Second, because they have no assurance that you will clarift. And finally, because they expect you to give them context along with the words. Fail that for a single line during the time a reader is deciding if they want to commit to reading and you've failed your audition and they close the cover.

3. "Managed to be heard in an amongst the large, dimly lit tent?" Heard by whom? My dishwasher is running. If I listen to what I can hear, I hear it and lots of other things, too. But I'm paying attention to none of them. So who cares if unknown beings manage to hear something that makes no sense to the reader. they...don't...react. So it's not story.

The short version: You can't record yourself telling the story aloud because verbal storytelling is a performance art. If the audience can't hear and see you they can't know the emotion you place in your voice or see what you place it in body-language, gesture, and expression. And you can't use the skills we learn in our school days because those are nonfiction writing techniques. If you want your words to read like they were written like a pro you need to know what a pro knows. There is no way around that.

So keep writing, of course.But at the same time put some time into acquiring the tricks of the trade and an in depth knowledge of what the elements of fiction for the page are, and how to manage them. Your local library's fiction writing section is a great place to begin.

Jenwales
March 7th, 2017, 01:34 PM
I just wanted to say that there is already a series called Outlander by the way and it's a tv series. Don't know if you know

Ariel
March 7th, 2017, 02:11 PM
It was a book series by Diana Galbadon before it was a tv series.

Jenwales
March 7th, 2017, 03:39 PM
Yeah that's the series I meant, didn't realise what I wrote, must remember to read my posts.