Something I have been wanting to do for a time now, Nanowrimo 2015. Last time I did it, I crossed the 50,000 word mark, though, with editing, it got down to 35,000-some odd words. But that is okay! I posted a good portion of the work already, which needs more chapters posted here.
Anywho, this year, I am going to be posting my draft here, on the blog, in an effort for two things:
- To reach the 50,000 mark of course, and
- To finish the story!!!
All of my previous nanos are in need of endings, and I am really tired of leaving the stories alone in the dust while they cry out for endings. Meanwhile, I ignore endings with yarn and knitting.
So yes, chapter one of the Nano, no working title yet, but it IS the first chapter. It is also a draft, so please, if you are reading this, do not point out plot holes, errors in literary devices, and other things. Just enjoy the ride.
No one knew when the dragons came into the kingdoms.
Some scholars say that they migrated from the southern lands after the legendary flooding. Others say that they instead were from the north, carved in ice before the Maker (Bless his heart) breathed life into them. Yet others say that they came from the sun and moon, woven from the lights of both orbs.
Personally, no one really cared. The public were instead thankful about what they did.
While the North had the giants and the south had the genies, the west had two separate threats: the orc tribes and the gnolls. The east had the Kingdoms of Redhedge.
The Kingdoms were several states of various populations, each one pledged to the life of fighting the ever-dangerous threats of the two creatures. They spend centuries trying to abolish the two, and sometimes they succeeded. History is filled with the regular cycles of peace and war between the Kingdoms and the creatures, as the public called them. If it wasn’t for the dragons, many would be either enslaved by the western threats or be destroyed by the southern.
Not to say that the dragons were a danger in themselves.
“Careful with your step, miss!”
Princess-Betrothed Helen Gaynesford, Fifth of the Crown of Gaynesford, Tenth Province of the Kingdoms of Redhedge, took a step back into the tiled mudroom in time to avoid a brush with a brutish creature, spanning at least thirty feet, covered in yellow and cream scales as big as her head.
“Sorry about that, miss,” the voice continued. “Ibilen here just arrived.”
“That is quite alright,” Helen said, smoothing her woolen skirt and bodice. “I am familiar with dragons.”
The speaker grunted and jumped down from the mount. Broad shouldered and massive, he was attired in battered armor that was muddied from recent campaigns. A fierce moustache bristled above his mouth. “Hm, I would say that everyone is nowadays.” He peered closer at Helen, and his eyebrows quirked upwards as he recognized her.
“My apologies, Majesty,” he said, giving her a shallow bow, from one noble to another. “I bring a missive to your father. If I may be directed to his chambers?”
“Of course, knight,” she responded in the same formal tones. She turned and motioned with her hand. “If you may follow me, sir?”
“Forgive me for being rude,” the knight said as he followed Helen through the room and out into the hallway, “but do you not have servants to do this for you? I am sure that you were heading to the stables for more pressing matters.”
“Father does not like servants escorting dragoneers around,” Helen said dismissively. “People do talk and when it comes to the affairs of your rank, he thought it best not to complicate matters.”
“Of course,” the knight said.
Helen stopped a moment later at a pair of sturdy oak doors, stained in a rich golden yellow. “Wait here, please.” She stepped through the doors without waiting for a response.
The day was definitely sunny, the light coming through a row of stained windows of various designs. Books of all kinds were scattered around the room, and the sofas held an appealingly amount of plump cushions. A long table filled with even more books, and seated behind it was King Ephraim, scribbling.
Helen stepped over to the desk, waited a few moments, and quietly coughed.
The king raised his head and saw Helen standing there. “Ah, Helen,” he said. “Any news right now?”
“Ward, the Duke of Faysnow, just arrived, father.”
He smiled and put down the quill. “And he’s waiting to be let in?”
“He’s outside the doors, father.”
“Excellent,” he said, clapping his hands together. He motioned to a speaking tube discreetly hooked next to a bookshelf. “Ring up for some tea, dear. Maybe some of the Golden Hill.”
As Helen dictated the order to the kitchens, Ephraim went around the table and opened the doors. “Come in, sir! Do come in!”
Ward stepped though and eyed the mess with evident distaste.
“Do not worry about the books,” the king said. “I am researching the effects of the planets on various forms of legumes. Would you believe that Agosto, when in its apogee, is reported to make the flowers of the common black beans fragrant?”
Helen turned around in time to see the knight’s expression darken. “I did not come to talk about plants,” he said.
“Of course, of course,” the king said. Helen tried not to smile; the duke was one of the more spoiled characters she knew in the kingdoms, and the family successfully nettled the nobleman with every visit.
A small bell chimed, and the bookshelf jimmied itself open to show a small wooden cart filled with a silvered tray with the contents covered in a course linen fabric. Helen took the tray and crossed the room to where her father and the knight were seated.
“…and I had to try my hand at the left flank,” Ward was commenting. He had taken off his helmet, revealing a balding head of black hair plastered in sweat. “I flew Ibilen next to the leader and let him have it with the sword.” He made a swinging motion with his hands, almost hitting the tray.
“Careful, sir,” Helen said, placing it on a table between the seats. She removed the cloth to reveal a finely crafted teapot of white porcelain chased with gold lacquer and matching equipment. She placed the cloth aside and skillfully poured the tea, a softly hued amber liquid smelling of roses.
“Here you go, sir,” she said, handing the cup over to the dragoneer. She motioned to the other containers. “Cream, sugar, and lemon, if you wish.” She bowed to her father, then to Ward, then left the room.
“Ah, he is a beauty, he is,” a lanky stable groom said.
“Indeed,” Helen said, rubbing her palm against a lemon scale.
Ibilen snorted softly, exhaling crackling clouds of smoke.
“Now, don’t be like that,” the groom said. He dug into a bucket next to him and tossed him a bloody piece of meat at the dragon. Ibilen snapped it up and chewed slowly before swallowing.
“How old is he?” Helen said.
“Could be five hundred to seven, Majesty,” another groom said, giving the dragon a brushing with a long broom. “It depends on the breed.”
“Might be a lightning drake,” the first groom said, tossing another gobbet of meat at him. “Judging from the colors of the scales, might be an Elder, even.”
“Fascinating,” Helen sighed out. She could not resist and snuggled against a leg.
“Helen!” a female voice cried out in shock.
The princess sighed in resignation and pushed away from the dragon. “Yes, mother?”
Queen Marlena stepped out of the mudroom, lifting her skirts to avoid the packed dirt and the mud on the stable floor. “How many times do I have to tell you, do not—“
“Do not hug dragons,” Helen grumbled. “Because I do not belong to the dragon nor him to me.”
“Correct,” the queen said. She glared pointedly at the grooms. “Don’t you have other things to do?”
The one feeding Ibilen shook his head and gave the dragon another helping. “Doing it now, Majesty.” The other nodded. “The Duke’s orders.”
Marlena sighed, another effort to lecture her daughter missed. “Well, follow me, daughter, and see if we can get some lessons in today.” She turned and walked back in.
“Lessons?” Helen cried out as she followed. “I thought the teachers gave me the day off!”
“Not Sage,” the queen said.
“Sage?” Helen said, a grin appearing in place. “She’s here?”
“Yes. She said she wanted to discuss various alchemy processes.” The queen sighed, her shoulders slightly scrunching up the fine lacework of the bodice as she shrugged. “Why she would be discussing such high-minded ideas to princesses is beyond me.”
Helen held back the words that were lining up in her head. Instead, she walked a bit faster in the hallway. “I think Ward is still talking to father,” she said. “I can find the way myself.”
“I know you can, daughter,” the queen said. She smiled slightly. “I will see you in the dining room for lunch,” she continued before turning around and heading back to meet with the king.
Helen turned left to another corridor, this one an outside pathway. The ceiling held up with stone pillars entwined with flowering vines, the dark purple foliage showing off the white blossoms with excellent effect. She passed through the path to a squat tower, a single torch lit next to a crude wooden door.
Sage’s way of saying she was in.
Helen carefully lifted the iron knocker and dropped it making a muffled bang. The door opened a crack.
“Enter,” a voice sang out.
Helen pushed open the door to find a cloaked figure finishing lighting the countless candles that were scattered everywhere in the chamber. Along with the candles were books and various containers of blown glass filled with various liquids.
“There you are,” Sage said, blowing out the long wooden skewer she used to light the candles with. “I was wondering if you were going to come have a lesson.” She turned around, showing off a pixie face with sparkling blue eyes and a mane of crisp, ash-blonde curls.
“Now, let us get down to business,” she said, coming up to the princess and placing a hand on her forehead. “How did the potion take? How many doses?”
“Two,” Helen said. “It went down well enough and helped with the hand cramps.”
“Excellent,” Sage said. “It is bad enough the others are making you use your hands until they are bloody stumps.” She removed the hand and waved it to the vessels. “Thankfully, we will not write anything today. Instead, we will create.”