An Unfortunate Adventure! #freewritemadness: Day Ten

Day Ten of #freewritemadness has shone down upon us —the one-third mark!

Like most people, I’ve reached that point in the story where it’s a struggle and not quite flowing as it was when I first started. 🙂

I’m not blaming NaNoWriMo, though; this happens to me with all stories. I fly at the start, stall in the middle, then start flying again at the end. It’s always the activities that happen in the middle of a story that stump me, trying to summon something to make it more of a story than simply, “Katéa followed some lights. She ended up in a new world. She unleashed a monster. The monster was then defeated. Everyone lived happily ever after… or did they? Muahaha.”

Today’s writing was more of a finishing-off for yesterday’s chapter, and filling in the immediate events afterwards. Nothing exciting – a lot of chit-chat and working out the obvious upcoming relationship. One of those chapters that would probably be cut, but adds in little details.

This whole story so far reminds me of when I first started writing Vengeance. With Vengeance, I started off with this idea of Lyria not even knowing she was a mage but finding out about halfway through the story. Cael was originally going to be an obnoxious ‘I get what I want’ sort who torments her, rapes her, forces her to marry him otherwise he would reveal her curse, and her death at the end would be a bittersweet moment. I couldn’t put my character through it. It’s fine imagining the storylines, but then when you start, and you love your characters and feel for them because they’ve become actual people in your head… and you write in Deep POV… you just can’t do that!…. (Unless you’re one of those people who can just cut off feeling emotion.)

So, I made it some obnoxious love-story instead, and they were flirting and whatever by chapter four.

It took me about twenty revisions to have an acceptable amount of douchebaggery intertwined with sweet and tender. @steemydave would probably disagree and say it’s still too lovey.

Anyway. I’m falling into it here in this story too. And I know I am. And I apologise for all the cheesiness. There will likely be a lot more. 😂 Enjoy the CHEEEEEZ in all of its glory!!! Next time I’ll bake it so it’s crispy on top.

(Also, I just want to say how glorious it is to have a sentence randomly come into mind, google it, and discover that you have come up with something fresh! Half past the moon-fall.)

Today’s prompt was – I know.
Today’s wordcount was – 1426 (hopefully a proper chapter tomorrow!)
Overall wordcount is – 19333


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There was a small hiss, and then another, and another. Katéa snapped her attention away from Draven and looked down the corridor. The candles were fizzling out, one after the other, leaving behind little wisps of smoke that floated in serpentine tendrils before all went to black. It was black as a politician’s soul, and she couldn’t see a damned thing.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake! What’s happening now?”

The drama never seemed to end in this place. There were grotesque gargoyles blackening the skies, someone yet unknown had awoken a creature that could not be destroyed, some dickhead from her world was stealing pixies —well, she assumed that’s what he was doing— and now this. Draven squeezed her arm, presumably to calm her down.

“I didn’t realise it was so late. Half past the moon-fall. Glouweln does sleep, Katéa.”

He sounded apologetic, but a wave of relief flooded her; now they didn’t have to enter that stinking tavern! Her stomach growled again and she inwardly glared at herself. She could eat tomorrow. Sure, it had been near a week since she had stumbled into this place and had been deprived of food, but most of her time had been spent wandering caves, strengthening evil, almost dying a water death, and sleeping trapped in a nightmare for three days straight. You know, just an average week. Other people would probably have managed a few fistfights, some lovemaking, and likely had time to actually eat dinner and sink back some mead —she was below standard. She grinned to herself. At least her sense of humour was intact.

“Oh, dear,” she said, with a hint of false despair. “Guess there’ll be no shit-and-kidney pie for me tonight.” She winced. “Actually, now we can’t even see what that dickhead is getting up to.”

“Probably for the best. Subtlety will be required. Leave it with me… though, since you’re from his world, you may be a boon in this matter.”

“You want me to talk to him?” Fuck it was dark, she couldn’t even see his hand on her arm; she couldn’t even see her own arm! “I’m not exactly the most tactful person, good sir Draven.”

“Aye, I remember your outburst in the tavern.” Even though she couldn’t see him, she could hear the smile in his voice. “It’ll be fine. You can talk and distract, and I can… investigate, as Nessie would say.”

Katéa sighed. She would try… and maybe she could get some answers out of him. The answers to the questions she once had —the answers she believed she now already knew— she would put on her mask once more and play the stupid city girl. It would only be for a few minutes, and then she would never wear her mask again. Bugger it all.

Oh, well. Since Glouweln was asleep, best they leave the corridor and get some too. Draven would go to wherever his door was, and she would go to her usual spot by the fireplace. At least the rocking chairs were comfortable. She stepped towards what she thought was the way into the parlour and walked straight into Draven. “Sorry,” she mumbled, her face smushed up against his chest. “I can’t see where I’m going.”

It was darker than the darkness that had recently shrouded her dreams… oh, God. Her dreams! With Serenithyl and the gargoyles wandering about the edges of her thoughts before swooping down and eating her spleen. She shivered. Maybe sleep wasn’t the best of ideas. What if she was unable to sleep ever again? But, what if she collapsed in an exhausted heap and was once more unable to escape seventy-two hours of dark, demented nightmares? Flapping wings descended in loud, violent bursts, and she began to tremble. It was all in her head —it had to be— but it sounded so real, she could almost feel the strength of the gusts the bird summoned.

Draven’s arms suddenly enveloped her, as though he had sensed her change in demeanour, or had felt her fear. He held her tight against his chest, his fingertips lightly making circles across her back, and instinctively she wrapped her own around him, resting her head against his heartbeat. The constant beats were calming, soothing. This felt nice. Maybe they could just stand here, holding one another until the lights came back on. She would be safe here.

“The sitting room is this way,” he murmured, pulling away from her tightening grasp.

“No!” She held her arms around him tighter, not wanting to leave the safety of his embrace. He paused, and then delicately extricated himself from her grip, gently holding her hand as he led her into the parlour.

The fireplace was burning well, but only emitted enough light to accentuate the two rocking chairs that sat before it. All else lay in gloom. There were a dozen dead animal heads lurking in the shadows as actual living gargoyles swept across the skies outside; what if these came to life, too? She would be their first victim. She needed her own corri-door, and soon. Would that even be safe? Nessie’s had not been. Gleaming, golden eyes stared out at her from the darkness. She blinked. They disappeared. Had they been there at all? She clung to Draven’s arm and begged, “Please, stay. There’s two chairs! I don’t want to be alone. You said you would look out for me.”

Her voice was frantic and held nothing of her usual tone. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to be alone —couldn’t be alone— that creature was going to descend upon her the moment she was by herself, just as it had descended upon that giant wombat thing. The ceiling would not stop it. She was not safe.

“I’m not leaving you alone.”

Draven shepherded her towards the chairs, but did not push her into one of them. He moved them out of the way, removed his overcoat, and sat down upon the plush carpet in front of the fire, pulling her down with him. A guiding arm around her shoulder drew her back into his embrace, and she nestled close against him as he spread the coat across her legs.

“I’m not leaving you alone,” he repeated in a hushed whisper. She closed her eyes. She was not alone, and she was safe.

Katéa opened her eyes. The candles had flickered back into life, there were thumps and stomps coming from the tavern, and Draven’s arm was around her, holding her close. He hadn’t just waited for her to fall asleep before disappearing—he had stayed with her the entire night, here on the parlour floor. She turned over to face him, and nestled deeper into his arms. This was exactly where she wanted to be.

His hand moved from her back to her hair and stroked through the knotted tangles with a gentle ease. She sighed, both contented by his touch and annoyed that she hadn’t yet had the chance to brush her hair and find new clothes. She would rectify that today. Somehow. At this rate, it might just be best to cut the whole lot off. She stiffened. No, that was a very last resort.

“Thank you for staying with me,” she murmured into his chest. “I needed you to.”

“I know.” He tightened his arms around her briefly before releasing her and climbing to his feet. “I need to hunt before night falls, I assume you will be okay now.”

She sat up and ran a hand through her hair —well, tried. How on earth had his fingers combed through it with such ease?

“Yes. But if you don’t come back, I’ll have to sleep with Nessie… and I think her house is too small.”

“You thought Glouweln was small,” he winked, pulling on his coat. “Also, elves have delicate ears. I doubt Nessie would be able to abide your snoring.”

“I don’t snore!”

“Katéa,” Draven helped her up from the floor. “The pixies likely couldn’t sleep through it either. They have enough to worry about with a pixie pilferer on the loose! For the good of our village, I insist that you no longer sleep here in the sitting room.”

“That’s a fresh one,” she smirked. “‘Come, sleep in my bed. You’re disturbing the pixies.’”

“The chaise, bed, or the floor. Your pick,” he stated as he grabbed his equipment and headed for the door.

“So gracious,” she murmured, smiling as he winked at her again before closing the door behind him.

(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!)