this is the first 2 chapters of the novel that I'm currently writing.at the moment, i just started chapter 8
Despite everyone’s good intentions, darkness has still taken over the souls of every last person-man, women and child-of Syranook. Every person, who has called this place home, is now under the control of ‘Her Majesty’ the High Empress Nienika. Oh, technically the people are still functional. They still have their sanity and reason. They still shop for their homes and care for their children, while the children still play and frolic in the lawns and streets of their neighbors. But I know better, I know that the Dictator-as I like to call her-has control of everyone’s heart and soul. I have not been here long-my work does not permit me to stay in one place permanently-but I have seen enough to know that each person cannot so much as talk to their dog-okay, that’s an exaggeration. You know what I mean- without the Dictator’s consent. It’s sickening.
I am one of the few people who fight every day to keep darkness from reaching the corners of the globe. And I, like every one of my brother’s, would slit my own throat if it meant that light would defeat darkness and take control once more. But sometimes, like when I’m in depressing places such as this one, it seems as though my work will never be accomplished, as if the darkness is destined to devour the world. I have to remind myself every day of what I’m fighting for, that light will return and darkness will fall. But until then, it is my job-my duty-to defeat evil where ever I may find it.
At this moment, I am looking out the window of my small, inconspicuous hut on the outskirts of a small, non-noticeable village far out of the Dictator’s sights. Oh, the people are still ‘brainwashed’ as I like to call it, but she hasn’t time in her busy schedule to post too many guards to keep the place under lock and key. I am not complaining. Less guards, less the chances of my getting caught, imprisoned, tortured slowly and painfully, and killed with a brutal stoning before my corpse is thrown to the Night Hounds for their evening feast. Yes it sounds harsh, but that is law of this place. Obey the Power, or be killed. Outside at the moment, it is empty. My view is not outstanding, just a simple alleyway with a closed bakery across the road. The cobblestone path looks cold and hard-like the rest of the kingdom. But, beggars can’t be choosers, and for my work, this place suits my requirements quite nicely.
Well, I would not want to scare you before you head to your bedchamber-I know how you love to read my letters by the fireplace before you go to bed-so I will stop there
And finish this note by wishing you well and assuring you that I will be home as soon as possible and that until then, I will keep in touch.
When I finish my letter to my aunt, I quietly tuck it away in the drawer on the side of the desk and silently seal it shut. With a yawn, I reflect on the days events. I had mostly kept to my hut, but I had ventured out to purchase some food. Big mistake, seeing as i had been nearly pounded to death by a lowlife thug on my way back. With a heavy sigh, i gaze out my small, dusty, cracked window and stare at the bleak road, and the foreboding inn opposite of my little hut. It all seems so depressing. But to be true, this is what gives me hope each day and night in this saint-forsaken place. Every time I look outside, I am reminded of why I am here. Of why I stayed here and what I fightt for each day. It was a good feeling. One of the only feelings I could spare in a place like this, where every move I make could lead to my downfall.
Shoving these nightmarish thoughts from my head, I rise from my seat and quietly slip down the hall and walked into my room.
“Everything looks better in the morning,” I tell myself as I climbed into bed and pull the covers over my shoulder.
The next morning, I awake to the usual sound of pesky nightingale’s chirping outside my bedroom window. I clamber out of my covers and tuck my feet into my cozy slippers. I go over to window and pushed it up to shoo the birds away.
“Away, all of ya! Go on now, get!” I shout before slamming the window shut and walking into the kitchen.
Without a word, I begin to prepare breakfast. A simple feast of cornbread and milk with a bowl of porridge. When all is prepared, I go over to my table and quietly chugg down my meal.
The saints only know what hell this day has in store for me.
That afternoon, I find myself in the bakery that’s across the street from my hut. I am sitting at a booth and keeping to myself, when I se the owner of the place-I have yet to know his name-come out of no where and sit across from me.
Suspiciously, I simply nod my head and reply, “Hello”
“Hey, I know you’re new around here, but it doesn’t hurt to socialize with the folks that come around. A lot of them are really worth knowing” the guy tells me, like I’m interested or something. Interested in listening to a brainwashed drone that willingly belongs to the Dictator of this place. Yea, you bet!
However, I am not a rude person, so I feel inclined to give him an answer. “Look” I tell him, leaning over and meeting his gaze. “I don’t plan on sticking around, so I don’t plan on getting friendly with too many people around here”
The guy looks a bit pouty now, and let me just say, he looks weird. I mean, that kind of look on that kind of guy, well...it just doesn’t blend. “Aw, ya really don’t want to stick around? I mean, is this place so bad? I mean, sure, we have some new government- That makes me snap. Suddenly, I am on my feet, with the look of an angry bull of my face. “New government?! Are you kidding? You have a dictator who is bent on sucking the life and soul and happiness out of every last person who is under her control!”
The guy looks stunned, a maybe a bit frightened. With a sigh, I sit back down and look at him apologetically. “Sorry” I mutter
“Look, buddy” the guy tells me. “You’re new, so I’ll be nice and give you some advice.”
Yea right! Trying to suppress a grimace, I wait for him to continue. “The folks around here are nice and all, but their not stupid. If they hear you speak like that, they’ll have you shipped off to the dungeons in a split. No one around here tolerates talk like that. It’s dangerous. So if I were you, I’d keep my opinion to myself.”
Now, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when people say, “If I were you, id...” I mean what right do people have to tell you what you should do by comparing themselves to you? How shallow can you get? Agitated, I look him in the eye and say, “but you’re not me. So keep your opinion to yourself” with that, I stand, and stalk out of the shop.
Silently, I make my way down the sidewalk and past the shops that line the way. Every person I pass looks gloomy. Dark, shabby clothes, a haunted look in their eyes, nothing that would suggest their hopes or dreams of their future. Maybe because there is no future. As I quietly turn the corner to another cold, hard sidewalk, something catches my eye.
Damn it! Now I’ll have to keep to my hut until things die down. And once it does, I’ll ravage this evil place until I find the knave who dared to alert the guard to my
Tips have been given out to the Royal Guard of a suspected spy against her imperial majesty. If anyone finds or hears something of the criminal, report immediately to Captain Sarlon. There is a 5000 rennos reward for he who brings the living spy to the captain.
presence. But for now, I silently make my way past the coffee shop and back into the seclusion of my temporary home.
“Hey, mister! Wait up!” calls a squeaky voice from behind.
Obviously, I am in no mood to talk to a child-I can tell it’s a kid from his voice-so I continue walking without even acknowledging him.
“Sir, stop!” he calls again. I continue walking.
Suddenly, he is standing in front of me. A gangly young lad of twelve or thirteen with jet black hair that covers his ears, and hollow blue eyes, like a stormy sea. The thing that gets me is that his face is...bright. Not empty and haunted like his neighbors. He actually seems excited about something. Strange.
“Sir?” the boy looks at me questioningly.
Pushing past him, I reply over my shoulder, “sorry kid. Can’t talk”
“But I have to show you something!” he calls out, although I don’t turn around.
Just as I am about to grab the handle of my door, I feel a tug on my cloak.
“Please come with me! Just once!” the boy says with pleading eyes.
Why are you wasting your time with a child? Go inside and slam the door shut. He’ll get the message. What are you waiting for? But for some reason, I hesitate on shutting him away from me and taking sanctuary in m hut. Maybe it’s because of his face. It’s just so unlike anything I’ve seen in this place. It’s almost happy and...Hopeful. Like he thinks I’m some sort of light in his world of darkness. Well, I guess one could think that, but he knows nothing of my reason to be in this place, and what’s more, I am not meant to provide light here. I am only meant to take away the darkness. That doesn’t make me light. It makes me a gray cloud that covers a black cloud. But I’m still a cloud. A dark cloud. But one with a purpose. With a resigned sigh, I finally turn to him.
“Where do you want to take me, kid?” I ask
“Just down the road, you’ll be back soon, I promise!” he tugs at my trench coat. “Come on!”
Against my better judgment, I follow the child down the street turn a corner to the left, down a dark alleyway. At the end of the alley, I see a strange shape figit in the shadows.
“Carnik, who have you brought with you,” the shape says menacingly, and on closer inspection, I see that it is a man. A hulky and menacing-looking man.
“Don’t fear, Oranon. He is a friend and an ally. He will help us in our cause.” The boy replies steadily and convincingly.
“Humph” the man grunts “that remains to be proven. But we need all we can get. Bring him”
“Wait” I say, suddenly getting a bad feeling. “Bring me where? What do you want?”
“Cool it” the man-oranon-says. “You’re in no danger. Just follow us”
Without another word, the man slips into the shadows and is swallowed up in the black fog that I had thought was a wall. Saints preserve me.
“Hey wait!” I protest as the boy drags me into the fog. “Wait, stop!”
“Don’t worry! You’re safe. We’re friends” the boy replies as he pulls me deeper into the dark cloud.
“I have no friends in this place!” I retort as I furiously and vainly try to wretch my hand free of the boy’s grip.
“Not on the surface” he whispers
That leaves me speechless with confusion. “What do you mean?” I demand
“I mean” -suddenly, the fog is lifted and I am standing in a huge cavern, lit by a strange purple-blue glow- “This” he motioned to the places in the cavern where men and women were talking, eating, whispering. And children were playing and running and frolicking.
Stunned, I merely whisper, “What is this?”
“Home for the shunned, the unwelcome, the ones who have dared to stand up against the dictator. The ones who-instead of outright facing the enemy in open battle. A
Sure attempt at death-choose to come down here and plot, and plan and wait for the right moment to strike and lift the people to light once more.” oranon replies from ahead.
“Make yourself at home” the boy says to me
“Not so fast, carnik. He must meet with the HR first. Bring him” oranon says in a gruff voice.
“Oh, right” carnik says, and drags me along behind him across the cavern.
I am aware of all the heads turning my way as I am taken by the wrist behind a child. I know how strange I look-clad in a black cloak and hood, mysterious as the moon. What people must think of me?
Now I am finally across to the other side and I see a large table with dozens of seats lining the sides. A yard or so in front of it, there is a tall podium.
“The HR is the High Resistor. He’s the head of the Underground Rats, or the UR as we call ourselves. He organizes all the work we do”
“Which is...?” I ask promptingly
“Oh, you know. Spying, gaining allies, converting to our side, a few raids...”
This interests me. “Raids? On the city?”
Carnik shakes his head. “No! On the palace grounds. You know, stealing cattle, weapons, food, supplies...strengthening us and weakening them. And sometimes, we’ll go and slit a few Guards’ throats as a warning. But that doesn’t happen often.”
“Oh, here he comes!” carnik exclaims, pointing to a man striding into the cavern. Strongly enough, had the boy not pointed him out, i would never have distinguished him as the leader of this place. He looks like any other man here. Chainmail, animal hide leggings and jerkin, scale gloves...the only thing off about him is a large and puckered scar that travels from his forehead across his face and lands at his chin. It look’s as if a dagger slit his face in half-or attempted to.
I stand still and silent as he approaches me. I keep my eyes away from his, and keep my head high as he circles me.
“Who is this man, oranon?” he asks
“Carnik found him. He thinks he is here for a cause similar to ours, and suggested we bring him here to help the UR. I didn’t see a reason to turn him down. We could use all the help we can get.” Oranon answered gruffly
“I see.” The HR replied, and then stood in front of me. “Your name?”
Daringly, I look him in the eyes and reply, “you say your cause is similar to mine. If that is so, then you must be aware that no one in this field of work trusts anyone with their true identity, so why ask me to reveal mine when you know I will give you false information?”
The HR looks slightly taken aback, then smiles and nods in approval. “You are indeed one of us. Correct answer, my friend. But, since we do need to identify you, what is the name you call yourself in the city?”
I nod. “Waranek.”
He nods. “Very well. Well, now that the intros are finished, why don’t you let oranan show you around? I assure you these people will be much easier to get along with then those on the surface.”
“Thank you.” I tell him, and he walks off.
“Well now, come on! I’ll bet all of the guys down there will want to meet the new comer.” oranan says, taking the lead back down into the lower part of the cavern.
As my guide escorts me through the groups of people and introduces me, I begin to realize that these people are much like myself. Quiet, reserved, suspicious...but unlike me, they all seem fairly comfortable with each other.
What are you doing here? You work solo! You should leave now! You have no business here, and these people can offer nothing that you want! I could almost hear the voices in my head out loud as I was lead deeper into the throng of people. Go back! You don’t belong here! They screamed at me.
Were they right? I mean, these people are fighting for the same thing as me.
Their citizens! Their brainwashed drones! Their who your fighting against! Leave!
But their not drones. Their people who have broken out of the control and gone under to save what little light is left in their home.
Do you hear yourself? You’re loosing it! Get out of here now!
Do I dare turn my back now and leave these people who can help me accomplish my goal here?
“Hey! Can you hear me? Oranan, pray tell me he hasn’t lost his ears!”
“Of course he hasn’t!” the gruff voice retorts, and I feel a heavy fist pound my back, jolting me from my thoughts. I shake my head and glare at him. “There” oranan says, looking satisfied. “Told you he’d snap awake!”
I turn back to look at a women. “Greetings, waranek. It’s good to have another join our ranks. You’re most welcome to our cause.” She says
I incline my head and reply, “thank you, miss. I am gratified to have been accepted into such a place as this.”
She smiles. “You may call me Elnieri.” She says
I nod. “And you already know what I go by”
Yes. But something intrigues me about you, waranek. You seem...different from the rest of us. Something tells me that your reason or mindset for all this differs from ours. You are peculiar. So tell me, what separates you from all of us?” elnieri exclaims, her piercing gray eyes staring at me, like a hawk.
“I believe we differ because I have different morals then you. My life work is to rid the world of darkness one place at a time. Yours is to save your homeland. My loyalty is not to this one place alone. I am here to join a group of people who can help me accomplish my task here.” I explain to her
She narrows her eyes. “So what you’re saying is that you are using the UR as a personal tool to help you on your mission? Do you plan to land the final blow on the dictator? Are we nothing more then stepping stones to lift you to your ultimate glory or defeating the evil here?”
“Nothing more then a band of people who can help me achieve my goal here before I leave to rid darkness from another place.”
“So we are just...allies? Tools? People? What?”
“Merely...helpful to my cause”
“Well, it’s interesting to see how you think, waranek. I will watch you with interest in the raids and battles we get into in the coming weeks. Surely you will not leave until you finish your glory goal here?” she inquires
I stare at her with a chilling gaze. “This is not about glory. This is just taking the steps to take one more piece of evil out of the world.”
“I see.” She nods and turns to disappear into the mass of people.
“You might want to look out for her, dude. She’s a snapping turtle disguised as a minnow. Watch your step around her.” oranon says in my ear.
“Well, she certainly seems capable of holding her own against whoever she might come across.” I add.
“You bet she is! She once severed the head of a drunken thug in a sleazy old tavern. He was about to, well...try and...Get her to...um, you know. And she had her knife on her, so when he reached for her, she just whizzed it right through his chubby throat. She has a reputation even on the surface. Some up there call her the Poison Lotus. And the name was well-earned.”
“I can imagine.” I reply, staring at the spot where the crowd had swallowed her shape.
“That being said, you could also imagine that trying to capture such a viperous beauty for yourself is next to impossible. So don’t get your hopes up. Her barbed petals are singed in acid. Not many try and get to close”
Well, I can fully understand what he means by that, and I see where this conversation is heading, so I simply say, “I have no intention of trying” and turn to walk away to a dark corner.