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Falling: An Epic Fantasy

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posted on May, 26 2017 @ 12:26 PM
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a reply to: Martin75

Pretty cool, isn't it? It's just perfect for my Shepherd 'persona' in the Shed, right? The staff, the ram, the demon climbing up...I asked for the gas giant and two moons in the sky too - that's roughly what the sky would look like in Falling. Operation Mindcrime did an incredible job with it.




posted on May, 27 2017 @ 06:49 AM
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List of Characters in Falling
Preview Character List

81 - Rochfendre

Kaena was in a towering rage over the delay, but once they began moving again she calmed down and settled into the cold mask he knew from dozens of battles with her. She could be emotional off the battlefield, but when the steel was bared, she was dispassionate, intelligent, and efficient - an implacable killer that did not make mistakes. He admitted to himself privately he never wanted to end up on the wrong side of her longknives. But on the battlefield, he could think of few he would rather have with him.

The Greatmoon had begun to rise behind them when they approached the settlement. Taarvaes’s gut tightened.
Rochfendre were not huge like the al’Thakaan or the gelm, but they were quick and vicious. If it came to fighting, it would be bloody. And there was every reason to think they would lose more than they saved.

That had not stopped anyone from coming though. When Laet had come back, leading the men of Braeghe Color, he told the story. Gaalen had singlehandedly killed all the sentries, snuck in and cut the captives loose. He had gotten most of them out when Laet said he heard some kind of screaming from the
rochfendre’s lair, followed by a commotion. Braeghe had been clear – any signs of trouble from the lair and the captives were to break for the Bastion camp across the river. Of twenty-nine, he had rescued twenty-five. Even some of the rescued captives turned around to go back and get the rest out. Laet himself had only taken water, then brought a bit of bread and a piece of dried meat with to eat on the trail.

He knew they were getting close. At first it was just woodsmoke in the air, but as they got closer, Taarvaes could identify other scents – the pungent stink of carnivores, feces, and the smell of roasting meat. He nearly vomited, and heard quiet retching from behind him.

Kaena signaled a silent halt abruptly, and it was relayed immediately to the left and right. Everyone froze. Taarvaes picked it up – a snuffling sound, ahead and toward Kaena’s area. Taarvaes’s eyes were as wide as they could go. Even in the light of the Greatmoon, he couldn’t be sure of anything in this dense forest.

The noises stopped suddenly, and Taarvaes’s throat tightened. Carefully he eased his sword, scanning the grayness furiously. The snuffling came again, more intense. They’d been found. He motioned for everyone to get low, and crouched himself. Damn! We are so close!

Two brutish
rochfendre broke through the growth between his group and Kaena’s. Their snouts twitched this way and that. One reared back and flapped its wings, the other pivoted in place, staring intently into the darkness.

Taarvaes heard the thwong of a bowstring, and the rearing
rochfendre began to make gurgling sounds as it clawed at the arrow in its throat. Two more bowstrings sounded as the other rochfendre turned towards Kaena and the Ladysguard. Cursing, Taarvaes turned to the men near him.

“Now! Stay silent! Go, go, go!”

As fast as they could manage they worked their way down and around to the far side of the village. Kaena and the Ladysguard would have to manage. They could take down two, but how much noise would they make? That scream from the one might be loud enough to alert their village, but he had trust in Aomm it had not. That had been a battle cry, perhaps they did that when hunting too. He could hope.

The
rochfendre had dug a shallow trench around the lair, and hauled heavy stones in to ring the clearing. Gaalen and the others were just inside the ring of stones.

He could hear sounds coming from the far side of the village, and up the slope to the right. The far side was probably Bryn, off to the right would be Kaena. He looked around – Grond and Staran were not there. No time to waste.

They reached the edge of the clearing behind the captives. He heard a rustle and looked off to his left. After a few moments, Rivercross came back, sword out and dripping. “Sentry is down. Only found two, and one was sleeping,” he whispered.

Taarvaes nodded appreciatively. To kill an alert
rochfendre silently took skill. The young man showed promise. “Clean your sword, soldier.” He looked over the other men near him. “Let’s bring our people home.”

Quietly they edged close to the firelight, scanning the clearing from the shelter of the undergrowth. Rivercross pointed out two forms near one of the mounts, curled into hairy lumps and breathing deeply. A pair of crude wineskins lay off to the side. Grond had told him they made a simple form of ale, but refused to tell him what went into it.

Taarvaes motioned them forward.

A crash echoed from up ahead, and a man shouted. The two
rochfendre sprang up, snuffling. One took a few steps toward the far side, and the other moved to follow. Just as its companion started to bellow and lope forward, it snuffled and turned, looking straight at Taarvaes. With an earsplitting shriek, it charged.



posted on May, 30 2017 @ 04:50 PM
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List of Characters in Falling
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82 - The Price of a Rescue

Twisted, hairy shapes emerged from the mounds and began moving in all directions.

The fighting was fierce.
Rochfendre were quick and strong, and fought with a ruthless brutality. He and Colmaen killed one, and advanced into the clearing. Several of the other Bastion soldiers had made it in, but they were nearly surrounded by muscular loping forms. Taarvaes swung desperately, fending off the attacks. Blood splattered on him when a snarling beast ripped Staran’s throat open, and behind him a man’s high-pitched shriek told him someone else had fallen.

With a shout, Bryn and the remainder of his men broke through into the clearing. Bryn himself in the lead, swinging a strong cut that the first
rochfendre blocked with its elbow spike. Bryn didn’t slow, smoothly pivoting to strike a savage blow that opened the creature’s throat, nearly severing its head. His men spread out and attacked the monsters surrounding Taarvaes and his men from behind.

He heard a woman’s shout from behind him – Kaena and her warriors. A blue fletched arrow buried itself in the side of the neck of one of the
rochfendre and it fell squealing. Somehow it still surprised him that beasts so savage and fearsome were in some ways just as vulnerable as a man. Kaena was a cold fighter, her longknives flickering with ceaseless attacks as she took position next to Taarvaes. In short order she felled two of them, turning to face another with black hate in her eyes. She merely grunted when an errant claw gashed her ribs, slicing through the mail behind her breastplate. With a set jaw she severed the beast’s forearm before burying the other knife at the base of its skull.

It seemed like hours, but in the end the humans were the only ones standing. Six soldiers down, including two of the Ladysguard. Kaena stood unsteadily, disheveled and bleeding. Taarvaes, exhausted, took stock. Of five captives, three were clearly dead. Skin had been flayed off in places, they had been tortured, vivisected, and partially butchered. He heard retching from different directions.

With a cry Kaena rushed past him. Gaalen seemed to be whole, at least, but he hung still, bound naked to a crude wooden frame. He was covered in filth, and blood still oozed from deep furrows in his back. There were two nasty cuts in his belly, in the shape of a cross. To show him where they would slice him open, no doubt, since the others that had been disemboweled had the same pattern cut into them.

“Taarvaes, help me, damn you! Gaalen!” Bryn and Taarvaes hurried over to ease the young man down as Kaena frantically cut his bonds. Sobbing, she cradled his head. One of the other Ladysguard took her waterskin off her belt, tore a strip from her tunic and soaked it, then touched it to Braeghe’s parched lips, squeezing a few drops into his mouth.

“Colmaen, Wendavur! Help me tear this Ngak-blasted frame apart and make a litter for Braeghe and Etelan.” He paused for a moment, then angrily ripped off his cloak. “Hosol! Itaeram! Here. Get Moesa down, wrap him in this.”

Laet looked around nervously. “My Prince, we don’t have time. There are more of them, I know it.”

“We’re taking them.”

“Of course, Prince, but…”

He trailed off under Taarvaes’s fierce gaze as Taarvaes drew close, his voice a low growl. “This was Braeghe’s operation, Laet. You know bloody well he wouldn’t leave your sorry corpse here if had been you that was gutted like a fish by these animals. We aren’t leaving them here. Am I clear?”

Bryn nodded approvingly, then took off his own cloak and rumbled, “Here. For Gorlem.” Lady Silnae added hers for Okaen. Those that had fallen in the rescue they wrapped in their own cloaks.



posted on May, 30 2017 @ 05:29 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Wow!! I missed 3 or 4 episodes...it was actually very cool to read them altogether at once!

Your imagination is outstanding, the detail is exquisite.
(I'm gushing, I know...but dang, that was awesome)

I just watched the movie "The Great Wall" (Matt Damon) this last weekend, and the Ladysguard and the 'creatures' are different but similar. Very different scenario, but some of the movie scenes came to mind when I was reading.

One day you will be a famous published author and I will say, "that's my friend". People will pat me on the head and say, "sure, sure" condescendingly, lol...but jacy knows.

Can't wait to read more.



posted on May, 30 2017 @ 11:25 PM
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I got way behind in here.
Sorry Shep!

PS: Did you add more names in the story? LOL
edit on 30-5-2017 by Night Star because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 02:44 PM
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a reply to: jacygirl

*blushes*
Thank you, jacy. I will post the whole conclusion of this scene today - it's not quite finished.

a reply to: Night Star

No worries, Night Star! I'm not exactly keeping track of who is where - well, until I hand out the quizzes, that is.


Yes, added more names. I considered prefacing the post with ("Sorry Night Star!!!")


[[[hugs]]]



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 02:57 PM
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83 - By Law and Custom

They had finished litters for all nine dead when hooting and growls sounded from up the hill by the base of the ridge. Hastily they moved out of the clearing. Kaena shouldered the makeshift strap of Gaalen’s litter and started out. One of the Ladysguard – Eilana Shavvat, of the Eastern Holdlands, he thought – put a hand on her arm. Kaena swatted it away fiercely. Despite bleeding and staggering like a drunk, she let no one else help her bear Gaalen out of the rochfendre village and snapped angrily at anyone who offered. Taarvaes saw tears cutting rivulets through the grime and blood on her face. He positioned himself near her, and started fending off the Ladysguard who tried to approach. Sometimes, you needed to let a soldier do their duty alone.

She was pale and a sheen of sweat coated her forehead by the time he called for a short rest, and he brought her bread and wine. She finally allowed one of his men tend to the gash on her torso, barely flinching when it was cleaned with shalt and a kesir-seed paste from Bryn’s pack. With the filth the
rochfendre lived in, you had to clean wounds soon or they would fester.

She had no modesty whatsoever. She stripped bare to her waist to allow Jiaoping to treat her wound, and Taarvaes – trying not to look at her bosom – noticed the angry red furrow the yoke of the litter was cutting into her shoulders and neck. Her expression remained set, and the entire time she was getting seen to she never took her eyes off Gaalen. Her tears had stopped, but he saw deep pain in her gaze. They tended Gaalen and Etelan’s wounds then also, cleaning them as best they could. Jiaoping was the only one she would let near Gaalen, others attended to Etelan. When she and Jiaoping rolled Braeghe on his side he groaned in pain, and Taarvaes saw her tears start anew. She leaned down close to his ear, and Taarvaes was near enough to catch the words “…my love…” in her frantic whispers. He saw Jiaoping’s head snap up to glance at her.
Oh Kaena, you’re on dangerous ground. I hope you know what you’re doing, he thought.

When the rest was over, she grimly took up her burden again, keeping the other Ladysguard at bay with burning determination in her eyes. On they moved slowly, steadily until dawn shone grey on the garrison at Traaen . They joined the road leading to the keep and farther beyond, the town. Lookouts called from the towers and in short order they were met by soldiers from the garrison there, lifting the wounded into carts and bringing water for everyone.


Taarvaes trailed off. He sighed. “Your Grace, Gaalen is a very complicated man. He is as loyal to the Bastion and the Crown as any man you will meet. But he carries burdens that neither I nor Bryn do. Underneath that scarred warrior is the timid, cowed boy I met at the Bastion. Believe me, I know about all of the scars. He has been treated ill, both by those who should have protected and cared for him and by the world we live in. Kaena does not use him. She loves him as deeply as any woman I have ever seen love a man, but by both law and custom they cannot be together – the most he can be to her is a plaything in the eyes of the law. If they were to be Bonded, she would be banished and he would be executed for treason. They take what comfort they can and no more. Before you pass judgment on them, I would ask that you try to see the situation from their perspective.”



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 03:02 PM
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84 - An Unexpected Arrival

They did not speak of Gaalen any further. Their conversation instead became wide-ranging, touching on tamborae – of which the Prince was very inquisitive – to the interplay of power between the Palace, the Bastion, and the Temple, to the threat the Makata may pose, to prophecy in the Book of Voices.

Seiua Leis is prophesied to be a person, actually, my Prince. One who brings humanity to a place of peace in the Garden. Some translations claim Seiua Leis will be a man, but modern translations have questioned that tradition, suggesting instead that the figure must be feminine, perhaps as a counterbalance to Aomm being male. Either way, the thirty-eighth chapter of the Book of the Crucible – which directly describes Seiua Leis – refers to ‘him’, not ‘her’. It is a male definite article in the oldest copy known, written in Ancient Graytongue.”

The activity of the milling crowd inside seemed to have increased, voices raised and people bustling about. It caught her attention and she looked in the windows of the balcony doors behind them.

“Seems as though something has everyone excited. Perhaps Teryn is going to sing – she has a beautiful voice. Would you care to hear, Seeress?”

“Of course, Highness.”

They turned and opened the doors to the Second Hall where the press of the crowd immediately assaulted Siere’s senses. A memory threatened to flood her conscious – a young boy crushed by the press of rubble after a building had collapsed when a torpae had attacked a small town – but she fought desperately and managed to keep control.

“Are you alright, Seeress?” There was concern in Taarvaes’ words, and he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“I just don’t like crowds at times, my Prince. I will be fine, thank you.”
He nodded, and then gestured toward where the greatest commotion was occurring. “Shall we investigate, then?”

He escorted her over to a large group mingling near the fireplace sitting area. Several couches and chairs ringed the area to facilitate conversation, and most seemed to have their attention on someone sitting closest to the cheerful blaze in the hearth.

As they penetrated the ring of bodies dressed in gowns and finery, the object of everyone’s attention was revealed. A woman Siere did not recognize sat on a cushioned couch with a crystal goblet of red wine. Adorned with a sparkling necklace and rings set with jewels, she wore a simple but elegant gold and white gown. She was of an age with Siere’s mother, and had a similar bearing, her bright green eyes taking in the newcomers with a keen gaze. Upon noticing the Prince, she stood immediately and approached him, bowing slightly.

“Prince Taarvaes,” she began in a musical, if somewhat reedy voice. “The last I saw you, child, you were shorter than I,” she began with a smile, to the low laughter of everyone gathered.

Taarvaes grasped both of her hands, and embraced her warmly. “It has been too long, my Lady, far too long.” He turned toward Siere. “May I present her Grace the Seeress Lady Siere Meron, youngest daughter of Amaerke Lady Eveleta Meron, High Seat of House Lithelwaite.”

Siere instinctively curtsied as appropriate for someone of her mother’s rank. It was a gamble, and she might end up looking like a fool, but someone who knew the Prince personally was more likely powerful than not. Genuine humility rarely hurt matters. “My Lady,” she murmured. The middle aged woman turned her piercing gaze upon Siere.

Taarvaes smiled. “Seeress, this is Amaerke Lady Isara Braeghe, High Seat of House Braeghe.”

edit on 5-31-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: Poser, not poster. Poster boy for posers? POSE! Threats are POSED not POSTED unless you're on them interwebs...hi jacy



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Sheez, I need a smoke now!! (lol)

I love Kaena now, and really want her to somehow end up with Gaalen. I still adore Siere, but she isn't right for him.
(I'm not being a critic, I'm being a mother...rofl....)

I don't know how you've come up with all this. I can't fathom the depths of your creativity.
Is this research? Your own imagination? Both?

It's brilliant, I'm loving it!!! More soon, please?

Gropie-for-life,
jacy



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 04:20 PM
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a reply to: jacygirl

Haha - well, I of course cannot say whether anything works out the way anyone wants it to or not. That's sort of the way life goes, right? Some people things work out for; others, not so much. I will say this - the arrival of Amaerke Braeghe is not insignificant.

Stuff is starting to unravel for more than one character.


I don't know how you've come up with all this. I can't fathom the depths of your creativity.
Is this research? Your own imagination? Both?

Hm. Mostly imagination. Some research, but honestly, precious little. I'm too lazy.



More soon, please?

Yup. Got lots to post. 12 scenes fully written but not edited. Lots more coming.



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 04:42 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

I did realize that Amaerke Braeghe was significant, and I'm assuming not in a good way...? (why did I ask that like a question? you are not going to tell me anything!!)

So mostly imagination, eh?
Well kid, ya gots talent.

If you don't mind, maybe shoot me a private message when you post the next part? That way I can keep up instead of FALLING behind, lol.



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 04:46 PM
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a reply to: jacygirl

I can probably do that. I'll try to get it posted with coffee tomorrow morning.

Might be full of typos and formatting issues though. It's another flashback episode.



posted on May, 31 2017 @ 05:07 PM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Oh hun, don't feel obligated to message me...I will most likely be here early in the morning and I will look for updates.

Mostly I wanted to play on words using the title Falling, lol.




posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 07:02 AM
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List of Characters in Falling
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85 - Tougher Than Rocks

Gaalen dozed. He had not slept well, being woken up with nightmares of rochfendre and gith-gesaarm attacks, the corpses of the men and women who had died under his command staring at him accusingly. His mind was clouded and he had trouble holding his thoughts. He drifted as he slumped in the chair before the fire, waiting for Seeress Meron to arrive.

The boy’s fist connected with his face. For an instant it was numb, then the pain exploded inside. He felt the dirt of the training yards, heard the gleeful squeals of the other cadets.

“Get up, crybaby! Stand up and fight!”

He fought the tears, but he could feel his chest tighten and his throat catch.

“Aw, is he going to cry? Run back home to your mama, crybaby!”

“Crybaby!”

Gaalen scrabbled on the dirt of the training yard, away from the jeering, cackling boys and girls of the Bastion, climbed painfully to his feet and ran. Into the Tulvar, through the corridors, down the stairs into the tunnels. Right, left, right, left, up the stairs. Up, up, up, until he burst through the small door at the top of the tower, the Gull’s Roost. The afternoon sun cast shadows from the Bay Tower – the next tower down from the Sea Tower - across the Water Wall’s allure, and he huddled down in the corner of the Bay Tower and the wall, curled in a ball with his knees to his chest, crying silently.

He couldn’t go home. And home was not much better anyway. He had few friends there, really, only Kaena, the nine-year-old Milaener girl, really. His cousins Suen and Uwen sometimes, but they didn’t live there. Mostly he was alone.

But if he stayed he would be beaten. Every day. He knew it. They all hated him.

What did it matter anyway? He hated himself, too. He was never good enough.

He considered the wall behind him. It was an eighty-foot drop, ending in rocks and surf. It would be quick.

The Sea Tower door opened, and a boy came through, scanning the Water Wall. Gaalen tried to remain still. He thought maybe the big newcomer would go away if he didn’t notice him, but he had no such luck. The boy seemed to lock his gaze onto him huddling down behind the ledge, and headed straight for him. Gaalen’s heart quickened. It would be ugly this time.

As he approached, Gaalen saw it was Bryn Robaer, the oldest boy of Robaer Maarke. Even worse. Bryn was the strongest of the new cadets, more powerful than other boys three years his senior. No one crossed Bryn. No one. Gaalen was sure he was going to get it this time.

Robaer stood over him, his form shadowed by the Bay Tower, just looking down at him. Gaalen cowered, burying his face and trying not to cry while waiting for the first punch or kick. Or the insults, which hurt just as much.

But nothing happened. He felt Bryn’s presence as the boy sat down on the ledge next to him.

“If they catch you crying up here it will get worse,” he said. Robaer’s voice was already starting to change, it was husky and deeper than Gaalen’s.

“How can it get any worse?”

“It can get worse, trust me.”

There were a few moments where neither spoke. Then Gaalen asked, “How come you aren’t giving me a beating like the rest of them? Everyone else does. Even the girls.” He sniffled, and thought the bleeding in his nose had finally stopped.

Bryn didn’t answer at first. He looked out across the allure, southward toward the two keeps, lit up in the afternoon sun.

“I knew a boy once, in the village in Robaer Maarke. He was weak. We gave him beatings all the time, whenever we could catch him out alone. We threw rocks at him, we’d tell him ‘Dance, baker boy!’ The girls too. No one liked him,” he shook his head, remembering.

“I went to his mother’s bakery one day to steal sweetrolls. It was Hallows, so the village was mostly at the Temple, but I skipped out. I snuck into the back and found him,” Bryn said quietly, looking down at his boots. “He’d hung himself from one of the beams. I got a stool and cut him down, but he was already gone. When we fell, his shirt pulled up and I saw all these scars on his back, like he’d been whipped over and over.”

He paused, then looked up at Gaalen. “None of us knew. I’m not saying anything about anyone here. But anyone who maybe had to endure what that baker’s boy did, and somehow made it here to the Bastion? Well that’s a boy that’s tougher than rocks, if you ask me. That’s a boy that I’d be willing follow into the Abyss, if I thought he was willing to lead.” He stood up, and started to walk toward the Sea Tower door, but stopped a few steps away. “But he’s got to lead. And sometimes leading means heading into a fight you know you can’t win.”

Gaalen had never thought of himself as strong. Gesaert was strong, Father was strong, Mother was strong. Gaalen was weak, he’d always been told so. He stared at the departing bulk of Bryn Robaer, trying to get his mind around what had just taken place. The most feared boy of Gaalen’s class of cadets had told the weakest, most despised boy in the Bastion he would follow him. His head spun.

The next morning Bryn woke Gaalen up before dawn, taking him back up to the Gull’s Roost. He already knew some
ro-ti, and started teaching Gaalen. It became a daily routine, even on Hallows.



posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 07:09 AM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Aww....I loved that!


I'm such a sucker for somebody standing up for the underdog.
This made me happy for poor wee Gaelen.

Learning the background of the characters is wonderful, and everything is making so much sense to me (the reader) now.

Thank you, Shep.
jacy



posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 07:26 AM
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a reply to: jacygirl

This is a very new episode. I felt I needed to explain something of how Bryn and Gaalen's friendship started, especially since Bryn has not had as big of a role in this arc as I thought he was going to originally. In the full novel, Bryn will have his own arc - there are some things that go on with him that have impact later but I haven't written that yet - only planned it out in my head.


I'm glad you liked this. There's a bit more to it - to finish out this scene, I mean. I'll post that probably tomorrow.



posted on Jun, 1 2017 @ 07:31 AM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Great, I will keep checking back for it.

I find that reading your story regularly keeps it pretty fresh in my mind.
That might change a little with all the new contest stories that will be coming out, but I think I have a good grasp on your characters and story line now.

I'm really enjoying it, and very emotionally attached now.
Must be good, eh?

jacy



posted on Jun, 2 2017 @ 05:52 AM
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86 - Practicing Ro-ti

Bryn wasn’t Gaalen’s bodyguard, though. In fact, he only stepped in once when Gaalen was in a fight about a week later. Two boys had attacked Gaalen during rec time in the yard. He had held his own, giving as good as he was getting to each boy until someone from the ring of onlookers tripped him when he got close, and the attacking boys got the best of him. One pinned his arms back, and the other started to punch him in the gut. Two more moved to join in, but Bryn stood in front of them.

“Two’s enough,” Bryn rumbled.

“Get out of the way, Robaer, we’re going to teach him a lesson this time,” one of them said, sticking his jaw out insolently.

“I said, two’s enough,” he repeated.

Bryn didn’t even dodge when the boy threw the first punch, he just brushed it down with a left-hand block, then punched the boy in the face, and the boy went down like a rock. In a flash, Bryn grabbed the boy’s companion by the shirt with one hand, then punched him in the stomach with the other. As the boy bent forward and clutched his belly, Bryn pushed his torso down and brought a knee up into his chest, knocking the wind out of him. The boys attacking Gaalen stopped to watch, and the gut-puncher broke away to attack Bryn instead. As soon as he turned, Gaalen yelled “Behind you, Robaer!” Then he sidestepped, twisted his arm to pull it free of the boy pinning his arms, and sent his elbow smashing into his captor’s ribs. He pivoted all the way around. The boy still tried to hold on to the one arm, but Gaalen’s free arm connected with his jaw. The other boy had tried to bullrush Bryn from behind, but instead met Bryn’s well-placed elbow and went down in a heap. Gaalen swept his leg behind the crook of his opponent’s knee and the boy went down hard with a thud.

“AI! What d’you think you’re doing there!” yelled Lady Thorowen in her thick western brogue. Behind her was Lady Commander Macosai, her steely blue eyes taking in the scene.

The cadets who were spectating scattered in all directions as Lady Thorowen marched quickly across the yard to where Gaalen and Bryn stood in a ring of four other boys lying on the ground.

“Braeghe! Robaer! What do you think you’re doing?”

Gaalen stood up straight to attention, looked her in the eyes, and without missing a beat, said, “Practicing
ro-ti, Lady Thorowen.”

Her eyes narrowed, and Gaalen heard Bryn’s snort of a stifled chuckle. “You know fighting is prohibited, Braeghe. What’re you thinking?”

“Permission to speak, Lady Thorowen?”

“Granted, Robaer,” she said tentatively.

“Lady Thorowen, Gaalen was only acting in self-defense. He was set upon by two other boys, and two more made to join in once Gaalen was disabled.”

“I don’t care who started it, boy, you should know better than to fight like savage brutes. Both of you will report to my—“

“Lady Thorowen, that’s enough.”

Instantly Lady Thorowen straightened and inclined her head to Lady Captain Macosai, who had joined them. “Braeghe has been punished quite enough already in his time here, it’s about time he held his ground and fought. And Robaer was doing what we teach them to do – to stand up for what’s right.” She eyed the two dirty, bleeding boys. “Go get yourselves cleaned up and report to me before
Taar. Together.”

“Yes, Lady Commander,” they said in unison.


Lady Captain Macosai had demanded to know where they had learned the fighting moves they had demonstrated, and Bryn explained about Lanceguard stationed at the garrison in Robaer Maarke teaching him some of it. His strength and power needed guidance, and the local captain recognized that in him. So he taught Bryn enough to control himself until he could get to the Bastion for real training. Macosai had assigned them together then, to continue their training. She called it an ‘experiment’, to assign two cadets to each other to compete, feed off of, and support one another. Unknowingly, she had cemented a lifelong friendship.

Gaalen had not wept since that day Bryn found him up on the Water Wall. He had taken beatings that put him in the Bastion infirmary afterward, but he hadn’t cried again. Not even when his father was killed. Something in him wouldn’t melt enough for tears. He missed his father, that was true, but the boy he had been when he arrived at the Bastion, he had left that boy up on the wall thanks to Bryn.

It was in their second year at the Bastion that Taarvaes – a year younger than both of them – came to the cadets. He followed Bryn and Gaalen up to Gull’s Roost one morning and found them performing the first three drills of the a’karana. The next morning he had brought a maar staff and a practice sword and joined them. They became inseparable, and for six more years they shed blood and sweat together in service to the Bastion.

Macosai was named Lady High Commander by the Council of Ladies Captain, with Queen Tirina’s full endorsement. In their fourth year, she asked them to start teaching first-year cadets. One of Gaalen’s fondest memories of his time as a cadet was during a basic swordsmanship class. He had finally had a breakthrough with a young cadet named Keili that Lady Thorowen had told him he should simply give up on. Gaalen privately vowed to see her at her graduation, and worked gently but persistently with her, a few extra minutes every day. Near the end of the term, he had them in a line, performing the first drill of the a’karana in unison, when Lady Thorowen walked by. She stood and watched for a time as Gaalen called out the moves. Silently, she held up a hand to stop.

Gaalen called out, “Lussa siertoen!” and the cadets snapped into the ready stance. Keili had been first.

Lady Thorowen walked up and down the line. She leaned down to Keili, and Gaalen held his breath. But when she straightened, Keili was fighting to control a smile, her cheeks turning pink.

Lady Thorowen stepped back and addressed the class.

“You’ve a fine instructor here. Don’t make the mistake of failing to listen to what he has to say. What Cadet Braeghe teaches you might seem irrelevant, but mark my words: mastering the fundamentals is the key to survival. This is no game. Take in everything he says and write it in your bones.”

Then she turned toward him, and stepped close.

“Well done, Braeghe. Well done.” Then she left without a word.

He was pulled out of the reverie by a knock on his door. Groggily, he stood up, grabbed his things and headed toward the door. As expected, there was Seeress Meron, dressed in training clothes and ready for their morning routine. She always seemed to look like she had just been attended by ladies in waiting, even though he was certain a Seeress had none. Today her hair was pulled back in a long braid and tied with a leather thong. Her eyes were bright and she smiled when he gestured down the hallway for her and Ruaen to lead the way. The three of them headed out of the Tulvar to the training yards.

edit on 6-2-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: Laying, lying, really what's the difference?



posted on Jun, 2 2017 @ 06:48 AM
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a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Nicely done, Shep.

A lot of good life lessons in that episode.

I loved this line,
"Take in everything he says and write it in your bones.”

Some lessons are so painful to learn, but Gaalen has become stronger and more confident.
At some point we all need someone to take our side (and our hand) and lead us forward.

jacy



posted on Jun, 5 2017 @ 09:43 AM
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List of Characters in Falling
Preview Character List

87 - A Daughter With Power

The violet glimmerings of false night bathed the garden in a dusky glow. Sir Turinen waited near the garden’s entrance, keeping a dutiful eye on her. She knew she would be easily visible in her white robes. This particular Temple garden was mostly ground flowers and low ornamental shrubs, punctuated with various statues - notable Seeresses, martyrs, Queens who had supported the temple. It had been named Kuitheril’e - the Saints Garden.

Her mother dominated her thoughts this morning. Eveleta was a strong woman, with sharp eyes that always seemed to see everything. She was handsome more than beautiful, and her coloring was different from Siere’s, who favored her father Alaniten more. Where Siere was dark of hair and eye, and pale of skin, Eveleta had keen bluish eyes, darker skin, and lighter brown hair than Siere. She carried herself with regal confidence at all times, and insisted Siere and her sisters do the same.

Eveleta’s relationship with Siere had been slightly uncomfortable. Siere was more like her father in more than just coloring and features; she also shared his way of seeing the world and relating to other people. At times, she found it difficult to communicate with Eveleta, and was certain that her mother felt the same. When Siere’s talent had been discovered, it added an unspoken chasm between them that had never completely been bridged.

Siere’s talent with tamborae had been discovered just before puberty by one of the local Meioshi, Seeress Ouhu, who had told her after she taught Siere about reproduction. That type of instruction was always done by a Meioshi of the same gender, so the Seer that served on their estate - Meioshi Caran - was not who taught Siere that day.

Ouhu had used tamborae to check whether Siere would be fertile, a common practice for girls of twelve. Her body was healthy and perfectly normal, except Seeress Ouhu had found also that she could Work tamborae. That discovery changed her relationship with her mother forever, and, it seemed, with everyone else she would meet.

Suddenly, she was no longer a legitimate heir to the estate and title. That didn’t make much of a difference to her - she was fourth in line anyway, far from the heir to the Maarke - but she would be able to go to the Temple and work as a healer. Siere was the kind of child who brought wounded birds and small animals back to her room to nurse them back to health. She found her greatest joy in setting them free, once again whole and restored. She would be able to pursue the life that lived only in her dreams, to heal people with power given by God.

Her mother had changed that day, though. Eveleta had long been fascinated by tamborae, as many were, but few were willing to learn about it or understand it. That day, her mother looked at her differently, distant, almost fearful. And yet, Siere felt she was curious, also. It was as if Siere had become some kind of alien creature, strange in appearance and unreadable as to whether it was benevolent or hostile.

It had been that way with the numerous suitors whose families had arranged courting appointments with her, as well. Once they knew she could Work, it was as though she was a creature in a cage in a roadside show or menagerie, to be looked at and wondered over, but never truly to be known or gotten close to, for fear she might be dangerous.

Eibal had been different. He was the one suitor who didn’t balk at her growing power, who treated her no differently before or after the discovery of her talent. Their match was not looked upon favorably - neither Eibal’s mother nor Eveleta were supportive of it. Of course, in the end, it made no difference, she thought bitterly.

Siere sat reading in her room. It was difficult going. The book was a text on diseases of the mind and spirit, and used the author’s own terminology heavily. Her eyes were tired and begged to be rubbed, but she refused to allow that kind of indulgence. She must get through this. Meioshi Caran had told her he expected her to read the book by week’s end.

Her focus waned yet again. She saw Lord Deneral – no, Eibal. He wants you to call him Eibal. Eibal. She drifted through her memories of him. He was so kind, so gentle. Smiling, she found herself musing over how one lock of hair always seemed to fall over his face no matter how he pushed it back.

No, she had to finish her work. Grudgingly, she pressed on. But slowly her thoughts turned back to the young man with the stray lock of hair. They had ridden horses together last week. Come to think of it, he seemed distant then. She thought of his
kir – it sparkled so brightly. She didn’t think he’d ever been Compelled, not even as a child.

She was interrupted by Maera . “Will you need anything further this afternoon, Lady Meron?”

“I will manage. Go home to your boys.”

“Thank you my lady. On the morrow, then.”

She turned back to her book.

It wasn’t long before another soft knock on the door pulled her out of yet another reverie. As she came to her senses, it hit her. She loved him. He was absolutely wonderful. He made her feel like the most important woman in the world, like he thought of nothing but her. Slowly a smile spread across her face. She was in love.

Almost giddy – as giddy as Siere got, at least, which was, if she were to be honest with herself, not very – she jumped up as Maera popped her head in the door.

Siere was startled. “Maera!” She blurted out, “I thought you’d be back home by now.” She blinked.

“I was, my lady,” she said urgently. “That is, I was on the way, when I ran into a certain someone coming to call on you.” Maera’s kind, knowing smile lit up her plain face.

“Eibal? He is here? What do I do?” she whispered urgently.

“Just be yourself, my lady, as always. Remember, you are the woman. You have the power here, as is proper. Let’s get you freshened up.”



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