Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Snippet - The NaNo WIP

Here we are again with a short bit of what I'm currently working on - "YA Fantasy" (because I still haven't found the right title). 

Our intrepid and untrained adventurers - on their way to the MCs' (Aryl and his twin sister, Lyra) home town to assist with a dragon problem - have stumbled across a nearby village in flames.  But it's not the dragon...

A woman ran past.  Lyra stopped her with one hand.  Aryl recognized her as the washer woman.  Sometimes Ma would hire out to help her with the laundry in the winter.
“What’s happening here, Ponta?” 
“Derbin said it’s a salamander, but damned if I ever seen one of them squiggles start a fire like this.”  She clutched her wash basin closer to her chest.  “Help if ya can, but I got to save my shop.”
And with that the woman skittered away, sloshing water everywhere.
“It’s not a salamander like you think,” said Dersok.  “What we got here ain’t nothing like the little wet things.  It’s hotter than the fires of hell where it was born.  If you see it, kill it with steel.  It’ll burn or melt everything else.  And for the Lady’s sake, don’t let it touch you.”
No sooner had the armsman spoke those words than they heard a horrible scream.  Ponta ran from her shop, her skirts aflame.  “Juqik!” Aryl shouted.  “Help her!”
The twins both broke into a run toward the woman.  The smell of burning flesh and her screams of pain nearly brought his lunch up.  He pointed and the others ran toward the shop where Ponta had burst into flames.
While the townspeople concentrated on keeping their village from burning to the ground, the students spread out around the burning shop.  The flames hadn’t gotten very bad yet and seemed to be concentrated near the center of what was Ponta’s sewing room.  Aryl nodded at Kip and the two of them entered. 
Through the flames, they saw what looked like an overly large lizard laying in what had to have been Ponta’s biggest wash basin.  From the steam in the room, the damn thing had decided it wanted a bath or some such nonsense.  He motioned for Kip to go left while he went right.
Kip ignored him and strode right through the flames.  The beast didn’t even bother to turn toward him.  It just sat there enjoying the remnants of the steam bath.  Aryl suspected once the water had gone completely, the thing wouldn’t be so docile. 
“Kill it quick, Kip.”
The boy just nodded and raised his sword.  Aryl kept his course to come up behind the thing.  He kept his sword in front of him like Polchik had taught.  His battle magic hovered around the edges of him, but he still had no idea what exactly to do with it.  All he knew was it was there and it would aid him in battle.  For a brief instant, he allowed unkind thoughts about his mother drift into his head.  If she had this magic, her withholding any information about it seemed unforgiveable. 
And with that thought hovering in his head, he almost missed Kip’s error.  While he was focused on setting up the perfect blow to strike the salamander’s head off, a second beast crept near the boy’s feet.
“Behind you!” Aryl yelled a second too late.  The beast’s mate scuttled the last few inches toward Kip’s boot and ran across his toes.  With each brush of its slimy flesh, a spark caught, engulfing his lower leg in unholy flames.
Kip screamed even as his blade lashed out.  It didn’t strike as precisely as he’d been trying for, but he did manage to slice the beast in the basin into two squirming pieces.  Its mate hissed angrily before running toward Aryl.
Aryl’s blade struck before he consciously thought about it.  The second salamander lay with a slice from its flat nose to halfway between its shoulders.  Instantly it turned to ash.  He didn’t have time to see what would happen to its corpse beyond that.  He was already turning toward his screaming friend.
“Put it out!  Oh Great Lady, it hurts!”
Aryl looked around the flaming shop, but the beasts had eradicated any source of water.  Their only hope was outside.  If Kip lasted that long. 
Use your magic, Lyra shouted in his head.  But he didn’t have the slightest clue what battle magic would do against the fire creeping up Kip’s leg. 
Battle magic is a combination of all magics, you dolt.  You’d know that if you paid the least attention in class.  Tap into the water magic.
He dipped into himself and found his magic waiting like a patient hound.  He’d never tried to call it before.  It was just there.  To try and pull one bit of it out of the rest seemed like an impossible task.  Kip’s blood curdling scream pushed his uncertainty away, and like the sword blow, the answer came before he knew what was happening.  Water poured from all around him, dousing everything. 
When it stopped, Kip lay drenched on the floor, coughing the excess water from his throat.  Aryl himself had to cough the few drops he’d breathed in so short a time.  All around them, the house was dripping black.  Not even a trace of smoke showed the house still smoldered.
“Dersok!” he cried, hoping the armsman knew enough about battle wounds to help Kip.  Either way, his friend might still lose his leg… or his life. 
When the older man arrived, he took one look at Kip’s blistered flesh and ran back outside.  Aryl hoped the man wasn’t emptying his stomach, because he really wanted to do that himself, and Dersok getting to before he did wasn’t fair.  He heard a shout from outside the building as he dropped to the floor.  The puddle underneath him splashed his arms.
“Healer!” He heard the shout taken up just as he closed his eyes.
It is definitely not perfect.  Just looking at this now, I'm itching to edit it.  But I won't.  That's not the point of NaNo.  You write as much as you can as fast as you can so you can end the month with 50K words.  Editing just slow you down.  December (or January) is for editing.


  1. I love the direction this is going and the way you are building Aryl's character! Can't wait for you to finish, edit, and let me read it! *nods*

  2. Thanks, Silver. Poor Aryl has to grow up in a hurry. But he's getting there. =o)

    And I can't wait so that you can read it.

  3. Fabulous, B.E. - well paced, great imagination! I'd like to be in line to read, as well - hopefully when it's between covers with your name boldly emblazoned under the title!!

  4. Thanks, Janet! You're definitely in line. And from your lips to publishing's ears. =o)