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Falling: An Epic Fantasy

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posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 04:11 PM
56 - Just Some Old Scars

The room fell silent for a moment, then she spoke again.

“After I am fully recovered, we must talk.”

“As you wish, Seeress.”

Grimacing, he turned to look back out the window, his hand still pressed to the side of his lower back.

“Lord Braeghe, why are you,” she trailed off, then exclaimed, “You are bleeding!”

“So I am,” he shrugged, turning his head toward her. She was looking at him critically. He noticed the feeling more now, the sticky wetness between his fingers held just above his waistline. He plucked absently at the now blood-soaked portion of the shirt.

“Come over here and sit down,” she said, getting up and moving the one intact chair next to the bed. He obeyed, sitting down with his back to her and arms resting on the back of the chair.

His habit of obedience was strong – despite his two recent Corrections, the a’akirjutama over his heart had not been needed to Compel him in years. Mother had spent a small fortune on the diamond used to create it. A symbol of purity for her son. A symbol of prison.

“Lift your shirt, I need to see what I’m dealing with.”

He carefully lifted the hem of his shirt up slightly – only as much as necessary – and she inspected the wound, pushing at it gently. After a moment, she paused, then pushed some of the fabric of his shirt farther. Suddenly she grabbed the hem and pulled it up all the way to expose his back, and her sharp intake of breath stabbed at him. Immediately he stood up and faced her, shame blooming in his chest. Her dark eyes were wide and her mouth slightly open.

“What happened to you?” she whispered.

Gaalen looked away. “Just some old scars.”

Her brow furrowed in irritation. “That is not what I asked. How did you come by them?”

Gaalen stiffened, and he stared intently at her, controlling his tongue. Deliberately, he said, “They’re healed now, Seeress.” What if she tried to Take his scars? What if she found out?

“You are avoiding--”

He stared at her. She stopped, and pursed her lips, shaking her head. “Sit back down. And take your shirt off, please.” He complied. What was the point of trying to hide them now?

As she worked, deftly cleaning the wound with the water and the handwashing towel in the room, he could almost feel her eyes on his back, examining the criss-crossing jumble of pale runnels and welts. Her fingertips were warm, and her dark hair was soft as it brushed his bare skin. Even now, she smelled of flowers and a spice he couldn’t identify.

“I have heard of this, but I’ve never actually,” she muttered, not finishing the thought. “Some of those are more than a simple whipping though.”

He did not respond, and she looked him in the eyes. “You were scourged, weren’t you?” she said, aghast. Her cleaning of his wound had become more vigorous, and Gaalen had to concentrate to hide the pain.

Gaalen looked away toward the window. “Some things are best left in the dark, Seeress.”

“I could find out, you know.”

“I know. Please do not do that.”

posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 04:28 PM
a reply to: UKTruth

Thank you, UKTruth! I hope you enjoy the read!

posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 08:10 PM
More sprinkling of stars for your story entries. Looking forward to the new ones.

posted on Apr, 6 2017 @ 09:32 PM
a reply to: Night Star
Thank you, Madame d'Sprinkleur (which I believe is French for, "Mayor Night Star your Elvenness.")

Tomorrow! Brand new shiny episode! Even still has that new-episode smell to it.

posted on Apr, 7 2017 @ 10:32 AM
57 - The Price of a Clean Kir

Undeterred, she pressed on. “But these others. No whip – or scourge – made those. Three lines, perfectly parallel. And they on your arms, and sides too, not just your back like a whipping. Those are defensive wounds, aren’t they?”

He gave up trying to keep anything back. Distantly, he said, “Rochfendre have three claws on their forelimbs.” Her eyes widened again as he looked her direction. “I was the lucky one. They entertained themselves on the others first,” he said bitterly. The cross-shaped scar on his belly burned at the memory.

Her manner had softened somewhat. “I don’t need your kir to guess how you got the rest of these.” Her voice was gentler now, although he thought he detected something else in her tone also. Disgust? Revulsion? She waited, patiently. Through the strands of his hair, he could make out her dark eyes glancing at his from time to time.

“I was eleven the first time. Father was strict, but it was Mother that usually ordered it.” He paused. She nodded slowly, as if she had expected that. For some reason, it made him more comfortable.

“They didn’t want to Compel me or Correct me. Father reasoned that the Bastion might resist giving me the title of High Defender if my kir was too tarnished. Mother is one of those women who doesn't trust the kir fully. She thinks men need 'real discipline', she calls it. And she needed my kir clean so they could use my marriage to forge an alliance that would strengthen the House. You know how it works. So, instead, to discipline, they had me, well, you can see.” He gestured vaguely toward his back. “It wasn’t that bad. She didn’t even do it herself, not usually. She made Father do it, or Lady Silnae. Mother did administer it once, when she was really angry, but it got out of hand and Father intervened. She gave him a Correction every day for a week after that. He wouldn’t tell me but I saw his kir.”

That was so long ago. His Father had avoided him that week, really had stayed out of sight of everyone. Mother said he was ill, but Gaalen knew better. She was a hard woman.

“The worst one was when I was sixteen and on leave from the Bastion. Father caught me with a daughter of one of my mother’s liegewomen. He used the scourge, that time. He didn’t even ask Mother’s permission, but she approved when she found out, of course. She sent for the Meioshi to heal me so she could have Father do it again the next week. I had threatened the future of the House, and Mother’s House is more important to her than anything else.”

Meioshi Aestad had protested briefly, but complied. Just after that he left the estate, and Gaalen had never seen him again.

The Seeress looked away from him, and silence stretched. He wondered what she thought of him now. Now that she knew. He thought for a moment she had registered disapproval, perhaps at the fact that he had needed to be beaten so much as a child. He felt dirty. She was so austere and pristine, even in her manner and her conduct. A small voice inside his head worried and railed at him for defiling her always perfectly white Seeress’s robes and delicate hands with his scarred and shameful blood.

Only a few others knew the truth of it. Kaena, Bryn, Taarvaes. Gesaert knew too. It had been Gesaert who comforted him after his first whipping; his older brother had treated his wounds after the scourge, too. Gesaert knew what it was like to be a boy at Braeghe Estate.

Gaalen had been teased mercilessly as “Scarback” or “Lord Burlap” when he first arrived at the Bastion. Mostly from the girls, but some of the boys joined in too. Only some of the boys. The others, well, they knew.

It had been Bryn and Taarvaes who protected him. Bryn was so burly even as a boy that only the biggest bullies would challenge him. For some reason, Bryn took a liking to scared, scrawny Gaalen Braeghe, second son of Lady Isara Braegha, a boy of no particular skill or talent.

But Gaalen knew he would never earn true loyalty or respect if Bryn fought his battles for him. Bryn knew it too, so instead they challenged each other. They got up early and went through the a’karana, the fundamentals of ro-ti, and sparred together for hours on end. They studied together, with Taarvaes when his duties as a royal allowed him to join them. Day after day they worked. Bryn never intervened when the other boys tried to give Gaalen beatings unless Gaalen was really losing, and after a year of working with Bryn, Gaalen rarely lost anymore.

Siere finished the stiches and bandaging, then busied herself putting away the kit she had pulled from the closet. He watched her work, efficient and practiced. He couldn’t be certain, but when she disappeared for a moment in the closet to put the kit away he thought he heard her breath catch.

“Seeress, are you alright?”

“I -- I’m fine, Lord Braeghe.” Her voice was faint, high and tight. She came out after a moment. She looked slightly flushed and, and he hadn’t noticed before that her eyes were red, Gaalen assumed from the strain of the Expelling.

“We should get you to your quarters, Seeress. I will send for your escort to meet us there,” he said, putting his shirt back on.

“Yes of course,” she said softly, “thank you, Lord Braeghe.”
edit on 4-7-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 7 2017 @ 11:01 AM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd
Shep I think this is the perfect way to eat my lunch this Friday...with my favorite fantasy!!! Woohoo!!!!

posted on Apr, 7 2017 @ 04:37 PM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Bravo Sir, bravo!!!!!!

posted on Apr, 11 2017 @ 12:02 PM
58 - The Wrong Thing to Say

“You need to drop it, Kaena.”

“I will not ‘drop it’,” she snarled, “no one has the right to Command you this way! Something is going on and I swear I will get to the bottom of it!”

“Damn it all, Kaena, you’re going to make trouble for both of us.”

Make trouble? I didn’t make this trouble, Gaalen!”

“Let it go!”

“Why? Why should I let it go?”

“Because I’m not your husband!” Gaalen snapped, and immediately knew it was the wrong thing to say.

Ice filled Kaena’s eyes. She spun and stormed out of his chambers, slamming the door. Gaalen cursed, pounded a hand on the table, then grabbed his cloak and followed after her.

She was boiling over with indignant wrath tonight. It would have been a terrible day for her if it had been a normal day, but she was still grieving for the loss of Lady Eilana, and had been moody and difficult to be around ever since. The dam had burst tonight when she accidentally bumped his thigh, making him wince. She had blown up in a self-righteous tirade about secrets and misuse of the kir.

Now she was racing out of the Elver to the stables. She demanded the stablehands provide her with a steed - there were always at least half a dozen mounts that were ready at all times. She leaped astride the bay stallion they provided her with and left the Bastion yards at a gallop.

He shook his head, grabbed the next mount from the stable - an Elamaran nahak, black with stripes in gold, and strong, white ankles - and pursued her.

She plowed her way up the hill through the Port District and into the Aavelae city center. It was false night - the sun was down but the Greatmoon was at half and shone brightly - and he followed her form in the purplish dusky light. Few people were out now, for dusk could be a dangerous time even in a city as large as Avaanse.

She crossed to the west quarter of the city center, heading for the Gerat Kuhjinoe, the great plaza outside the Temple. She raced across it, the few petitioners heading toward the evening services dancing startled out of the way.

She leaped from the saddle and carelessly wrapped the reins around a rail. Gaalen followed suit and finally caught up to her on the steps.

“Kaena, where are you going?” he said, reaching up to put a hand on her shoulder. She swatted it away in irritation.

“To get to the bottom of it! Don’t try to get in my way, Gaalen Braeghe!”

She pushed him away and entered the great doors of the Temple. Immediately to her right a Bearer stood by a podium with a large, ledger-like book.

“Where is Seeress Meron?” she demanded.

“In her apartments, Lady...?”

“Where is that?”

“In the Water Quarter, to the north, but Lady!”

Kaena was already heading to the right, around the ring, her stormy face making Bearers and initiates scramble to get out of her way.

“Lady Commander!” Gaalen called from behind her.

She ignored him.

Around the northern end of the ring, he saw her head swivel back and forth. Apparently finding what she was after, she marched straight to a set of oak doors with gilded knobs, and a ring emblazoned for all to see. A Braeghe Color Lanceguard – Paralan, Gaalen noted – stood at attention outside. He looked at her and seemed to recognize her, as well as noticed Gaalen coming up behind her.

Kaena pounded on the door and it opened as Gaalen caught up to her.

“Kaena don’t do this,” Gaalen said breathlessly.

posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 12:07 PM
59 - On The Edge of a Cliff

“Lady Commander, Lord Captain,” Seeress Meron said politely, “This is a surprise. Please come in. I was just making tea, would you care for some?”

Kaena stalked in, and Gaalen followed after, somewhat sheepishly.

The Seeress’s expression was placid as she closed the door behind them. “What brings you here tonight, Lady Commander?” she asked.

“You know exactly why I’m here. How dare you?” she fumed.

“I beg your pardon, Lady Commander, what are you referring to?” Seeress Meron said icily. Gaalen wished he could be anywhere else.

“I’m talking about him,” she pointed. “and what you are doing to him!”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” she said, looking genuinely puzzled. Gaalen had to step in.

“Kaena, it’s not --”

“Quiet!” She barked, turning her attention back on the Seeress. “What makes you think -- where do you get off thinking you can order him about?” she ranted. Gaalen knew her, knew that when she was like this to get in the way was as good as trying to stop a boulder rolling down a mountainside.

“Kaena, listen to me!”

“You let me handle this, Gaalen Braeghe, or I will have you up on charges,” she snarled.

Stunned, Gaalen stood silently, his mouth open in shock.

“What is going on, Lady Commander?” Seeress Meron asked. “I truly have no idea what you are on about. If I am too demanding of the Lord Captain I apologize, sometimes I forget myself. I will endeavor to temper my remarks further in our training sessions, but --”

“This is not about your training sessions and you bloody well know it! You know what you did to him!”

The Seeress considered Kaena for a moment, her jaw set like polished alabaster. Frigid and soft, she said, “Let us suppose for a moment I do not. Why don’t you enlighten me, Lady Commander Milaener?” Her dark gaze was rock steady and unwavering.

“Seven nights ago. You came to his chambers. What did you make him hide?”

“Seven nights?" Her eyes narrowed just a fraction. "Lady Commander, I did not have any contact with Lord Captain Braeghe seven nights ago, or any night, for that matter. I do not visit his chambers at night, Lady Commander.”

Her words were sharp and quiet, and her face shone with self-righteous indignation. Kaena’s eyes narrowed at the implied insult.

“Seven nights ago would have been Venika,” the Seeress continued in a more business-like tone, “I was working with patients in the Temple infirmary, down in the Palace Quarter. The Lord Captain’s man can verify it, I believe it was Sir Etruesdan,” Seeress Meron said. A mild bewilderment had crept into the steel of her stare. Gaalen recognized her danger signs. She was not happy. “Why don’t you ask Lord Braeghe what happened last Venika?”

“I did, Seeress,” she spat the title, “and someone has Commanded him to keep it a secret. Even the bloody Command is included within itself. Under my Command, he said it was not the Elder Seeress. That leaves you, Seeress Meron. Now tell me what you’re hiding!”

Siere remained calm, no longer looking at Kaena but studying Gaalen. “Someone Commanded to keep silent about something, including the Command in the silence?”

“Yes, and you’re the only logical one left to have done it!” Kaena was triumphant.

“I assure you, Lady Commander, I would not use the Lord Captain in such a way,” she replied, her voice now almost dismissive. “How did you discover this?”

“I know him better than anyone else, so stop denying it! I’m not stupid, Seeress. He has had no legitimate contact with anyone else at this bloody Temple, and I know it had to do with you people here! First the Corrections, then he’s training you, then it’s the cipher, now it’s this!”

“Cipher? What cipher?” the Seeress said ominously. Her eyes darkened even more. Gaalen had to figure out how to calm this.

“The cipher you people gave him. It had the bloody Ring of Aomm etched into it, for Aomm’s sake! I don’t know what you people think you --”

Seeress Meron gave Kaena a disgusted look, then strode purposefully forward and forcefully grabbed the sides of Gaalen’s head.

Gaalen felt dizzy, then a warmth flooded his brain, spreading down his neck to his body.

“What are you doing to him? Stop it!” She drew a longknife and put it to the Seeress’ throat. “If you harm him I swear by Aomm I will kill you here and now.” The thunder and lightning was gone from Kaena’s voice now, her words calm and soft. The whole situation was on the edge of a cliff. Gaalen knew Kaena would kill the Seeress if she felt he was in danger.
edit on 4-13-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-13-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 02:39 PM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

Good Lord, I'm at the edge of my seat!

Great entries my friend!!!!

posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 04:09 PM
Yeah, a dog and a tree, I'm just marking my spot so I can find my way back easier.

And like a dog I'm hanging my head because I'm not caught up.

But this dog will be back soon to catch up, and if you've 'offed' any of my favourite characters I will be VERY upset with you!!

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 08:19 AM
While I've only had time to read the first couple
installments, I have to say your descriptive prowess
made me instantly jealous.

I can only imagine the annoyance of running a unique
story like this through a spell checker.... (ignore, ignore,
ignore, ignore, ignore, change, ignore, ignore,

I will get caught up at some point in the not too distant
future. Keep up the great work!

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 08:53 AM
a reply to: Night Star
Thanks Night Star! I'm glad my little suspense games are effective.

Maybe I'll wait a week or so for the next installment - although Kaena's arm might get tired holding the sword to the Seeress's throat for that long.

a reply to: jacygirl
Haha! Nice analogy.

Wait, did you just p on my story?!?
*the nerve!*

a reply to: shlaw
Hi shlaw and welcome! Glad you made it over here.

Thanks for your kind words - I see things in my head sometimes and those first couple episodes I can picture the landscape and architecture pretty clearly. There are a couple other episodes - The Seeress' Secret is one in particular - that I could map out the room it takes place in. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing - LOL.

Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed it so far. Like your story, I've got quite a bit written, so I'm posting an episode here and there. It's kind of fun to find the suspenseful breakpoints and cut it off there.

ETA: I forgot - spellcheck. It's kind of funny, actually. Chrome's spellchecker freaks out when I post here, that's true. But in the source document for this story arc, i got a message a while back that basically said, "MS Word has found too many spelling errors in this document and will discontinue spell-check." LOL - I made Word's spellchecker cry "Uncle!"

edit on 4-14-2017 by PrairieShepherd because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 10:54 AM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

I'm just leaving this reminder for myself for later (so I know where I left off).
Gotta go do mama's lunch soon, but will be returning after.

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 11:05 AM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

a reply to: jacygirl
Haha! Nice analogy.

Wait, did you just p on my story?!?
*the nerve!*

Bahahahaha! Jacy always cracks me up! I've heard her called many things, but her analogy of a dog...Ahahaha!

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 11:22 AM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd
More more please Shep we need MORE!!!!!!!! OMG, I am dying here!!!!!

Shep this is just amazing!!! But OMGosh what is going to happen next!

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 11:44 AM
a reply to: Martin75


posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 02:31 PM
Oh crap...I'm at the end now?
I know it's not the end of the story, but I was hoping for a few more pages to keep me going.

I can't believe how good this is.
I'm kind of in awe.

It's mind-blowing how you can have a family and a job (& multiple other responsibilities)...and somehow focus your attention into this "other world"...I'm quite envious of your talent.

Bah, even my response here feels awkward and I just used a Sharpie to write graffiti on a Faberge Egg.
So much respect,

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 02:49 PM
a reply to: jacygirl
Aw, Jacy, you're very sweet and too kind. Thank you, friend.

As for how I do it - well, keep in mind I've been at this a LONG time. Like, the first stuff I wrote about Gaalen and this world was in 1999, with a small amount regarding the "big bad evil" - which we haven't really seen yet, actually - dating back to my college days in the early 90's. I'd guess about 60% of what I have posted so far has been written for a long time - I've refined and edited, but the guts of the story have been there for a while.

That said, some of the stuff is new - particularly Kaena & Gaalen's backstory. Interestingly, for a long time Kaena was more of a shadow character. I'm glad she's been given more robust life - I'm rather fond of her now. I have a soft spot for beautiful bad-ass fictional women, apparently.

I think another part of it is that I think about this story a lot. I have a long commute to work, so ideas occur to me and I'll voice-record them on my phone for later use. By the time I write, I've generally thought about the scene quite a bit ahead of time, so it doesn't take me long to get the rough draft of a scene out.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. I'm tickled you guys like this story, I really am.

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 03:00 PM
a reply to: PrairieShepherd

I guess I am forgetting that you have a long-term relationship with this story and characters...what you said makes sense.

Often I have found myself thinking of The Shed story/characters and have written many chapters for my own pleasure, just because my brain started putting something together and I felt compelled to type it out.
You do become emotionally attached to characters, but it makes sense considering how you (we) created them.

Your imagination is unreal, see? there I go being all clumsy again. Like so totally rad dude!
(seriously, I talk like this...I'm never going to be the person who writes delicate prose or romantic interludes!!)

There are some seriously talented writers on this site and I almost feel like a fraud with my "Writer" status here. But I'm also honoured to be included, so I'll just shut up and sign this, lol...

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