An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Nine

#freewritemadness + #nanowrimo have reached Day Nine!

It’s funny. Apparently I write better when I’m half-asleep, like yesterday. Or maybe I just wasn’t inspired today. There’s a lot of dialogue, and I feel as though it reads like I’m talking to myself. Either way, the gist of it is there and can always be more characterised later. 🙂

Today’s chapter showcases some Story Evolution, where if you read back-to-back these very rough first draft chapters, maybe questions arise… I’ve now decided that this land is where all Min Min Light disappear-ee’s go, and most of them don’t last very long. As Draven says, Kat’s not the first and likely won’t be the last. Something that can be revised and refined later, if that’s what I really want to do.

The prompt for today was – small talk – and it wasn’t really included in the chapter, unless a lot of dialogue counts! I’m thinking this chapter will be a half chapter and will be combined with tomorrow’s chapter. It’s not finished. I’m posting this at 9:40pm. 🙁 Way passed my goal of between 7-8pm. I’m sleepy. But at least there are some words!

Today’s wordcount – 1670
Total wordcount – 17907

 

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DAY NINE WRITINGS

The elf’s gardens seemed more wondrous than they were the last time Katéa stood inside them, and even then they had been pretty damned spectacular. Each leaf of every bush and tree shone with an effervescent life that gleamed beneath the scattered moonrays, each ice lily dazzled with a radiant aura that surrounded each delicate petal, and the tiny lanterns strung from branch to branch now held a silvery glow that matched that of the full moon. Was this because of the ‘cleansing’? It was truly remarkable.

Nessie held the strange necklace between a thumb and finger and stared intently at the black orb in the centre.

“This had been lost… you found it in the spider tunnels? You didn’t mention it before.”

Katéa swallowed and stared down at her feet. Why hadn’t she mentioned it? She had snapped awake on one of the rocking chairs by the fireplace, with Nessie stroking her hair, and the grotesque gargoyles grinning at her through the remnants of her dreams.

“It slipped my mind with everything else… the bizarre temple, the giant bird and grotesque creatures… the waterfall. The bird was in my dreams! In my mind… eating me.”

Nessie did not answer. Instead, she closed her eyes and placed a delicate finger on the orb, and shivered.

“The dark energy has long left; Serenithyl has returned to strength.”

“The dark energy?”

The elf nodded, a slight crease in her brow. “Yes, miss Katéa. It was a century ago… she could not be destroyed. The humans tasked one of my people with capturing her essence, to keep her chaos at bay. We made an orb to match her own,” she gestured towards the necklace. “Only half could be siphoned, but it was enough to return her to slumber. I’m not sure how it came to be in the spider caves… I will cleanse it; it will need to be used once more.”

An image of the elf’s silver blade slicing into her skin flashed into mind, and Katéa shuddered.

“Can’t you just destroy the black sphere in the temple?”

“If only that were possible” Draven knelt down beside her. “Father told us all sorts of tales when I was a child. Not even dragon fire could burn the thing; it only seemed to make it stronger.”

Nessie nodded. “It’s true. It wouldn’t freeze, it couldn’t be shattered, and the heat from our elder, hottest dragon flame only served to increase her chaotic rampage. Siphoning what energy we could was the only option… and now, we have to do it again.”

Staring down at her feet, Katéa swallowed heavily. It was her fault. Somehow, this had all happened because of her. If she didn’t stumble across that necklace… but, she couldn’t have stumbled across it if not for the blasted bird itself.

“But, if it pushed me down a hole, it had to have awoken before I stumbled across it w-with… the other half of its energy… there was a cold breeze. I was trying to find my way out of the cave… it led to that room of creatures…”

The necklace had been warm when she had picked it up, and then after she entered the strange temple, it became as cold as ice… and that strange wail had crawled up her throat, before dumping her into the waterfall. She had served the creature’s purpose, and then it had disposed of her. Or tried. She swallowed again. Maybe she had been too hasty. Did she really want to live in a world where monsters came out at night? Real monsters. They didn’t hide under beds; they hid in her dreams and then tormented the world.

Draven touched her shoulder, as though sensing her thoughts, and smiled. “Katéa, this is not your fault. Someone else is to blame, though blame does not quite matter at present. What matters is that she has awoken and will undoubtedly cause havoc once more. We know how to send her back to sleep. It will be done.”

The elf lowered her head and murmured, “Someone is to blame, and I will investigate,” and placed the necklace into a fold of her robe before gliding towards the colourful tree cluster in the far corner.

Katéa narrowed her eyes. There was a faint outline of a door embedded in the largest of the trees. This garden must be Nessie’s home —no wonder she had been so pissed off that the evil bird had been hiding within these fantastic ferns. Her stomach growled and she groaned, tightening her arms around herself. This was not the time for thinking about food.

Draven smirked. “Think your body is telling you something. We didn’t get the chance to hunt, but the tavern should still be somewhat stocked. Will need to go back out on the morrow, though.”

The tavern? She gaped. Was he serious? How could she possibly eat in that place after witnessing the sordid activities in that very room just a couple of hours ago? Sweaty bodies and their, ugh, juices, all over the floor, the tables, and the counter… no; she wasn’t that hungry. Her stomach growled again.

“Maybe I’ll just have one of Nessie’s apples.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. You need a full meal.”

Katéa grimaced. Yes, she did; but the thought of eating in Grissom’s disgusting tavern was enough to stave off hunger forever.

“Can we not eat in there? There’s no food to be found elsewhere in this… cabin, town, thing?”

“Glouweln is a village, and Grissom’s is the only tavern.”

Ugh. Maybe she could eat in the parlour. Grissom’s cooking probably tasted as shitty as his premises smelt, she would at least savour it where the stench and location would not be as offensive. She leapt to her feet. Whoops, that was a bad choice. Her blood rushed to her head and she was barely able to steady herself through her wavering sight. Draven grabbed her arm and directed her to the corridor-door. Corri-door?

“See? You need food. There’ll be no more arguing.”

“How many coins will I owe you after all this? It hasn’t even been a week!”

“None.”

She paused, furrowing her brow at his smiling face. How could he be so gracious? He had thrown six coins at Grissom and saved her from a fate that did not bear thinking about, and this would likely be another three coins at least. And what about after this night? There would be so many more meals that she could not afford for herself, and she still needed her own corri-door. Why had he bothered to save her anyway? No-one else in the tavern seemed to care that she was about to be dragged off somewhere and ravaged by the disgusting Gruesome Grissom. Nessie hadn’t spoken up either; not until after Draven brought her back to the table.

“Katéa?”

“Sorry. Just trying to work out why you care so much. You could have just ignored me after saving me from Grissom. But… you’re still wanting to help me.”

“Why does that seem so strange?”

She relinquished herself from his grasp and placed a hand on her hip. “Does it not annoy you that some girl from another world is using up all your coin? Some girl who just awakened an evil from a hundred years ago. Some girl you don’t even know. Some girl-”

“Some girl who I would like to know better.” He stepped closer to her. “First I had to make sure you weren’t going to spend the rest of your life trapped in disillusion and despair. You’re not the first person to have stumbled through here and I doubt you’ll be the last. Most kill themselves. Not sure what the deal is with Quint, but I don’t trust him. You are the first one who seems strong enough to handle what must be a drastic change.”

So, she hadn’t taken the crazy train to insanity-ville? There were some emotions here after all? He took her arm again, gently, and smiled down at her.

“I have taken it upon myself to look out for you, and I will. Come, you need to eat.”

“Even if T’rese is in there?”

He winced.

“Sometimes sacrifices must be made.”

“How very noble,” she teased. “What’s your issue with her anyway?”

“Is it that obvious?” He shook his head. “She was married to my older brother. When he died, she became… unhinged.” He forced a smile. “I will suffer for the lovely newcomer.”

“Ah, so now you suffer. Not going to run away and leave me alone this time?”

Before Draven could answer, they were quickly shoved aside as the red-faced blonde-haired fellow, Quint, ran past them, clasping something tight in his hands.

“What’s that arsehole up to now,” Draven muttered.

Well, that was bloody rude —interrupting their banter. Katéa peered over her shoulder and watched as Quint disappeared into one of the corri-doors, and her eyes widened as she saw the brief glimpse of a golden glow as he slammed the door behind him. Was that a pixie?

“Is it normal for the pixies to leave the tavern?”

“No.”

“Well, I think Quint has one.”

Draven spun about and looked down the corridor.

“Whatever would he be doing with a pixie?”

She could think of plenty of things he could be doing with a pixie. It could be his own personal supply of fantasy LSD, or perhaps he was a sexual deviant who wanted to bathe in its dust. Maybe both.

“After witnessing what went on in the tavern a few hours ago, I have some ideas as to what he could be doing with it…”

Draven grimaced.

“Indeed. A few pixies have gone missing over the past year —the time-frame matches. No-one will believe it, though; everyone loves Quint. Me? I think he’s as fake as an ice dragon. Using people for his own gains. Now pixies too.”

“Definitely sounds like someone from my world,” she muttered.


(An Unfortunate Adventure header made by me! Courtesy of an image from Pixabay, and images from Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Johny Goerend, Alan Labisch, Erol Ahmed on Unsplash!)