Creative Writing Wednesday: “Quest, Chapter 1”

Posted: September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Non-Damien Fell Creative Writing Wednesday returns!

When I’m thinking about a future project, whether it’s a novel, a short story, or whatever, I often do little snippets of text when I’m planning it out. These could be anything, from information about the world, to character bios, to snippets of dialogue, to actual scenes or chapters. It’s my way of planning out the feel of the story that I’m about to write. Every story is different, and so there’s a certain mindset that I have to be in to work on it.

This was an idea I had for a young-adult fantasy novel. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere– I hadn’t planned it out that far– but I think it’s pretty okay. In any case, I like the idea of writing a book for children or teenagers, and I’m probably going to do that at one point. After I finish with the projects I’m working on now, in any case.

Here’s part of the first chapter of Quest. Enjoy.

 

On the night I was born, a wind blew out of the north, as harsh and unrelenting as sharpened steel. The skies cried out in agony as the lightning split the heavens, turning the darkened skies into glorious day: bright white, so close to the soft glow of noonday sunlight, and yet so far away, casting stark shadows on the mountains and turning the valleys into pits of shadow. With the wind blew rain, cold and stinging and as sharp as frozen needles. The wind howled outside my father’s cliff house, like a wolf in the night, mournful and angry. 

That night, the night I was born, my mother screamed so loud that nobody in the tribe could get any sleep. My father was there, at her side, as she tried to give birth to me. But she couldn’t. Somehow I’d gotten stuck in the womb. Instead of coming out headfirst, like an ordinary, natural birth, I’d been turned around. My head was still in my mother’s womb, and my feet were coming out of the birth canal, the wrong way around. I don’t know what my mother said to my father then. He never told me, and I never asked. But my mother knew that she was going to die, and asked my father to give her the final blow, quickly and mercifully. My father agreed– after all, it’s the husband’s duty to make sure that the wife does not suffer while giving birth. He sent the midwife out of the room, and my parents said their final goodbyes. Then, quickly and painlessly, my father slit my mother’s throat with his dagger. 

I was given up for dead then. But I still lived, squirming and angry, halfway out of my mother’s womb. 

My father saw me still struggling within my mother. His wife had just died, but there was a chance that he could save the child. With a deft, surgical cut, my father cut open my mother’s dead belly, and pulled me, bloody and screaming, from her womb. 

I should have died, that night. When my father brought me before the tribal elders, they said so too. They said that I should never have been born. The fact that I was alive at all meant that I was a survivor. Born and baptized in blood, I would become a great warrior, and bring glory to our tribe. 

That is why they named me Storm. Because of the storm that raged outside on the night of my birth, and the storm that I would bring to our enemies, when I finally came of age to fight in battle. 

I have tried to live up to my name. 

***

You can call me a barbarian, if you wish. 

I wouldn’t take offense. I’d wear it as a badge of honor, in fact. The people of the cities, faen and human and gnomish alike, are fat, soft folk. They eat and drink until they are bursting. Their arms jiggle and their men have breasts. I know this because I have seen them. When traders come here from the Eastern Continent, bringing copper beads and steel knives and other such things that we can’t get anywhere else, I see them, the products of a thousand years of living in the cities. They’re large and clumsy and soft. We Wind Riders aren’t that way. We live in the mountains, climbing cliffs and flying from peak to peak on our gliders. We live in perpetual war with the goblins of the mountain cities, and the ograi and torogs in the caves, and the other tribes that cling to the mountainsides– our sometimes allies and more often foes. We have always lived here, for as many generations as the shamans can remember. We hunt, and we fight, and we live like we always have. The wives and daughters of the caravan merchants are delicate things, chosen more for their beauty than their skill in battle. They’re like flowers, pretty to look at but easily killed by a sudden late spring frost. I compare myself to them, and there’s no similarities at all. Ever since I was a girl, I’ve been trained to fight and to ride the wind. I am hard muscle and bone, skin scarred with hundreds of injuries and falls, hands that can hold a knife, that can reset a dislocated shoulder, that can break a goblin’s neck with one twist. I am nothing like them. I am a barbarian, and I am proud. 

(It ends there. I don’t know where it’ll go from there, but I’m interested in the character of Storm– I like barbarians, and I like strong female characters, and Storm seems to be both. We’ll see.)

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