Today is a momentous day, people. Today marks one full year since Semicolons Forever was created.
Let’s reflect. In no particular order (Actually, it’s a fairly particular order. But we won’t acknowledge that):
- Hamratio is now our collective OTP.
- We lost Terry Pratchett.
- We embarked on several writing prompts, but, tragically, we didn’t quite make it to 642.
- I started querying and began the rewriting process for Novel #2 and the writing process for Novel #3, thus re-earning the title of Writer.
- Oxford English Dictionaries made a grievous mistake.
- Miss Clayton graced us with two posts, thus proving her awesomeness.
Today is a momentous day for another reason, too. I reached 100 pages (and 26,292+ words) in Novel #3 approximately fifteen minutes ago.
I would like to celebrate. However, since I can’t share chocolate over the internet (sob), I will have to make do with the next best thing: an excerpt of Novel #3.
Yes, that’s right. I am overcoming my paranoia and intense fear of sharing my work on the internet in favor of celebrating 100 pages. Mark your calendars, people. I’m finally doing it.
Let us begin:
When Princess Meda of Usmijan would describe it later, she would say that each day was the same. She always woke hours before dawn so she might sneak out to ride her horse, Najeeb, in the darkness of the desert until the first tendrils of sunlight peeked over the far-off horizon. When they did, she raced home, slipped in through the window, and lay beneath her blankets until her slave, Yaisa, thought to wake her.
“My princess, the day awaits thy light,” Yaisa said, her eyes ever-downcast.
Meda sat up. “Alright, Yaisa.”
Each morning, though Meda begged her not to, Yaisa helped her dress. First she washed her face with water and perfumed oils that left the scent of cloves and oranges trailing behind the princess all day; then Yaisa dressed her thick, black hair, pulling only the very bottom together with a golden ribbon. Next was a short black top, the edges sewn with golden thread. It covered her chest but revealed her stomach and the golden ring through her navel. Finally, the slave would help her into loose black pants, fitted at the ankles and the hips, where gold thread traced its way around. Her fingernails were consistently stained black, signifying her role as priestess in the worship of her father and other gods.
She spent the first hour of the day reading. Her father, the king, meant for her to read books of prophecy and religion, but the princess was captivated by western tales of romance and danger. Her father never cared enough to notice, and so she was allowed to read what she pleased.
When the sun was fully above the horizon, its glaring heat reflected from the golden sands to brighten the deep blue sky and bathe the world in light, her father, King Azzam of Usmijan, swept in through the deep red cloth covering the entrance to her rooms and said, “Meda, my daughter, tell me of the day to come.”
Meda shuddered. She would have given all the gold in the world for her father not to say that, but each day failed to grant her wish. “Yes, my king,” she mumbled.
Carefully, she marked the page of her book and placed it on the floor where she knelt. Then quietly, softly, she rose and walked to the heavy wooden chest across the room. Opening it, she took out two tall black candles and a crystal bottle, bright with purples and turquoise. She sat again on the floor and placed the candles on either side of her. Yaisa hurried to light them as the princess put the bottle between herself and her father. She held her hands out and the king grasped them. Meda closed her eyes, inhaling deeply.
When she opened her eyes again, her irises, usually a deep brown, were white. She gasped and threw her head back, exhaling in a guttural moan. The bottle on the floor began to emit a pale smoke that soon enveloped the princess’s form.
“My king…” she gasped out, her voice replaced by another’s. “My king, the day ahead shall again prove profitable to thee, if thy spirit proves as strong as thy people believe. Thou must be strong and noble, having the grace and the peace that thy merciful gods have bestowed upon thee.”
A ragged exhale, then another moan. Her eyes stared unseeingly towards the heavens. “Today grants thee the chance to prove thyself worthy of thy throne. There shall be a man who comes, with pale skin and strange clothes, to collect that thing dearest to thee. Thy desire will be to keep this item close to thee, and yet if you let it go, it will return brighter and more beautiful, to give even greater glory to thy throne and prosperity to thy country. Heed this! Thou must needs be generous with thy riches, for the riches will only grow until they return to thee, making thee richer than thou could have imagined. If thou should fail, thy reign shall be shrouded in misery and ruin, thy name remembered only as a curse. Heed this…”
The smoke began to dissipate, and the twin flames that crowned the candles abruptly extinguished as Meda slumped backwards, exhausted, into her maid’s arms. Azzam withdrew his hands and waited.
Several minutes later, when Meda opened her eyes, the color had returned to them. When she spoke, her voice was again her own.
“What shall be taken?” her father asked.
Meda shook her head, still gasping. “I don’t know, my king.”
“Yes thou does. Thou Saw. Thou always Sees. What shall it be?”
“I could not tell, my king. It was not clear.”
So. Comments are welcome. Praise is strongly encouraged, but not mandatory. Constructive criticism is internet chocolate.
To another great year and many hundreds of pages!