Day 24 of #freewritemadness! Only 6 more days to go!
So, I have this inane urge to insert battle scenes into stories, when there are other ways of resolving conflict. I have this inane belief that it can’t be medieval-esque fantasy if there are no large-scale battles with bows and swords and magical elements. At the same time, I just can’t write battle scenes. It’s what has tripped me up in Vengeance as well. The thought that a battle is looming on the horizon, that it’s the only direction I can go, and that halts my entire process.
I blame Lord of the Rings and the fact that I’ve spent most of my thirty-odd-years in fantasy videogames. Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, Ultima, Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter Nights –off the top of my head, there are so many more– it’s all battle this, fight that, attack those guys, or in the words of the amazing Anders – SUCK ON A FIREBALL.
Anyway. I know that I am more of a behind-the-scenes intrigue and mystery type of person, and yet I still force all of this onto myself. I am aware of it. I am taking it upon myself to change that, because the last thing we need is more cookie cutter battlegrounds where swords clash, arrows fly, mage-electricity summons shields, and fireballs burninate the peasants. No, wait; that’s Trogdor.
I am rambling and I apologise! All of these words just to say: Don’t expect a proper battle scene. I’m trying to change my self-imposed paradigm. When this November has finished, I will have made myself stronger with a) forcing myself to write those chapters that make me cry, and b) writing how I actually want, not what I think is expected. 😀 !!
Today’s wordcount was: 1314
Overall wordcount is: 41352
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Katéa clung tight to Draven’s hand as he pulled her out from a gaping hole in the wall, her skin prickling as bellows, roars, and shrieks echoed all around them, and she shivered as a fierce burst of wind tried to freeze her blood. Shards of ice plummeted towards them, as curved and sharp as Serenithyl’s talons, their edges faintly lit by the sheen of ethereal light that spread across the skies —a ghastly green that was barely distinguishable behind the silhouettes of giant beasts that shrouded the great expanse.
It had finally happened; Glouweln had been breached. The place had seemed so invincible…
Yells and shouts flowed out from the once soundproofed building alongside short-lived screams. Wood crunched and splintered, glass shattered, and heavy footsteps from beasts of impossible height and strength shook the ground in violent tremors that near sent her flying, that threatened to flatten her if she wasn’t careful. Quint’s phone was in her pocket, its constant bang against her thigh a reminder of her own addiction flung free into the flames of fiery freedom. She winced each time it made contact with her. If the phone worked —if her idea worked— success would be met thanks to the deaths of God knows how many lovely golden pixie creatures. If it worked, at least their deaths would’ve been good for something. A small consolation. Despite their annoying tendencies she liked the little creatures. If it didn’t work… she swallowed. No. It had to work. She was certain it would!
Soft orbs, reminiscent of those both damned and blessed Min Min Lights, glimmered about the edge of the distant cliff-side —their goal. The barriers had fallen and the Masters had managed to get through the black abyss that pushed up against them. She hoped Glora had made it… it was nice to have met someone she could get along with; a Master who seemed to actually approve of her newcomer status.
A blood-curdling shriek resounded overhead and she ducked as the hot breath of an unseen creature blasted above, as its saliva splattered over her skin. It was hot and sticky and her disgust rose through her fear as she wiped her arm across her coat. Gross, gross, gross. Draven’s hand tightened about hers, as though telling her to ignore the discomfort. She couldn’t help it. People were yelling and screaming, beasts shrieked and drooled, the ground was as a trampoline beneath her feet, and the fear was tangible, but she still found room to feel nausea. And who knew what was in those saliva droplets! The bloody beasts could have acid for spit for all she knew. Maybe wiping was a bad choice in that case… spreading their goop over more of her skin and her clothes too! There’d be nothing left. How embarrassing.
She stopped moving, sharply pulling on Draven’s hand. Gleaming golden eyes shone bright half a kilometre in the distance, swooping low towards the shimmering orbs before being forced back by a visible wave of energy, as ripply as a hot pavement in the summer sun. Serenithyl released a squawk that rattled the shattered wood at their back and then zoomed up into the air, vanishing beneath the night’s darkness.
Heavy wings boomed loud and fire whooshed out from the long snout of an emerald dragon, singeing the matted fur of one of the primate gargoyle possible-elf creatures. The creature whipped around and knocked the dragon to the ground, and released a deep roar more thrummy and bassy than any of the music she had once listened to, and then the dragon’s booming wings took it back into the air before the gargoyle had a chance to hit it once more, leaving a bright trail of fire in its wake.
Where was the elf? Surely if Serenithyl was here, Nessie couldn’t be too far away; she controlled the damned thing!
Draven pulled at her hand again, whisking her forward as another scream rang out before being abruptly ended. Another person taken. If they didn’t hurry, they’d join that unfortunate fate. She shivered and pushed her legs onward, ducking low to avoid any possible claws or mouths, wincing as the occasional ice shard stabbed into her. Hopefully they wouldn’t draw blood —surely the beasts would be able to smell it and then she would definitely be doomed.
They cut through the long grass and headed for the cliff-face, weaving through the blades as slithery as a snake. That was one creature she hadn’t yet seen here —there were giant wombats, horse-headed multi-eyed water things, primates larger than her house, fucking dragons… but no snakes. Considering the size of everything else in this world, perhaps that was for the best. Sharp claws dug into her and lifted her a foot into the air as it tore the coat from her body, and she yelped, throwing herself to the ground as the coat completely fell apart. Draven radiated a wavering, glimmering shield like the one the Masters had used just before, and an angry wail rang out above the bedlam as whatever-it-was thumped into it.
Fuck, that was a close one. Katéa stared up into the sky, shivering as more and more ice shards bombarded her newly-exposed skin, and trembled as the dark shapes all seemed to face her. She couldn’t see them beyond their faint silhouettes, but felt them watching her, staring at her, hungering for her…
Draven picked her up and carried her the final steps of the distance, and hurriedly wrapped her in his coat as they reached the trees that bordered the cliff.
“Don’t be stupid,” she hissed. “You’re the magical Master-to-be. I’m just some useless newcomer.”
“I can provide my own warmth,” he replied, his eyes gleaming with that inner fire she had once stared at, completely entranced, certain that the pixie-dust drugs had implanted such fiery imaginings into her mind. But, it hadn’t been her imagination. It was there.
She huddled into the coat, double-checking her dress pocket to make sure the phone was still there. It was. That was a relief. There would be no scrounging around through the fields hunting for the blasted thing if she dared lose it. Another burst of fire spread out across the sky, illuminating the crimson scales of another dragon —Frukaith, perhaps?— and the ground shuddered as one of the gargoyles plummeted through the air and crash-landed, its fur lit with orange embers that fizzled aloud, perfectly audible over the distance.
Draven grabbed her hand again and pulled her into the jagged, leafless trees. Other villagers had already made it, though many were still in and around Glouweln, stumbling through the grass and trying to avoid the gargoyle clutches. The Masters erected a faint barrier around those that were here, but who knew how long it would last; if all of them, congregating in one place, couldn’t hold up the village barriers, surely this hastily contrived magical thing wouldn’t be capable of withstanding much. She winced. All of them… congregating in one place… no wonder Nessie had chosen to attack!
“Good to see you, dear,” Glora smiled. “Weather’s a bit of a hazard, isn’t it?” A curved knife-like ice shard clanked against the barrier and she winced before muttering beneath her breath, “I almost prefer the smelly old cave.”
More ice shards pounded overhead and Katéa shivered. “Glora, if we don’t make it passed tonight, I just want you to know that you’re my favourite Master that I’ve met.” She forced a grin. “I’ve only officially met two of you, but, you know.”
“Naturally.” Glora tossed aside her white curls and glared up into the sky. “The blasted creature is watching us, waiting for the slightest hint of weakness. That elf of yours needs to be found, and your idea utilised.”