Wednesday, October 19, 2005

City of Mages Chapter V

Simile drifted through the leaves, beating her tiny wings to keep herself aloft. She turned and dove headed for the sound of off-key singing in dwarvish coming from the opposite side of the forest. Finally, as she broke through the canopy, she saw it's source. He was well build but short man, no more than 5'2", with a well-trimmed red beard and slightly pointed ears. As he sang, he was sharpening his axe on a rock. She flew up behind him and landed on his shoulder.
"Boo," she said.
The man jumped and flew the axe into the air. Simile took off and caught it before it hit the floor. It was five or six times larger than her little purple body, but she didn't seem to notice this, a fact which made the sight all the more comical.
"Simile!" said the man, in surprise. Immediately, though, the surprise lifted and he put on an air of carefully calculated charm. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I'm afraid this is strictly a business visit, Dukalb," said the Doom Pixie, "Thurigen requested your presence. He didn't seem to happy, either,"
"How could you tell?" asked Dukalb, "It's not like you could read it on his face,"
"I've known Thuri a few years," answered Simile, "I can tell"
Dukalb laughed, a loud, percussive laugh, typical of his dwarfish heritage. "Thuri? I hope you don't call him that to his face!"
"Of course not," said Simile. "But he likes me. Which is definitely more than you can say, especially after you hear what he has to say to you now,"
"So you know what this is about?" Dukalb asked.
"No idea," answered the Pixie, running a hand through her bright green hair. "But as I said, he didn't sound happy,"
"Well," said Dukalb, "Best get this over with,"
"This way," said Simile. She flew off. Dukalb followed her, running to keep up.
A few minutes later, they reached a clearing with an enormous tree in the middle. The tree was an Erillian Yew, one of about three in existence. It was nearly as old as the city, and was something of a sacred spot for Druids. Thurigen had therefore decided to use it as his headquarters (inasmuch as he had them)
Today Thurigen was, for no apparent reason, appearing in the form of a fountain in the small ceremonial pool at the base of the tree. This was not really apparent until he spoke.
"Dukalb Argoldson of Virii," said the fountain. The voice was a mixture of Thurigen's usual booming voice and the gurgling of a fountain. "Explain yourself!"
Dukalb looked at him confusedly. "Explain what, master?" he asked.
"Do not try to play dumb with me Dukalb!" cried the fountain. It swelled in size, splashing water on him. "I know every Nymph and elemental in this forest. I know everything that happens here! I know that a birch tree near your house was destroyed by lightning last night!"
"Yes, well that is regrettable," answered Dukalb, turning on as much charm as he could possible muster, "But you're the one whose always taught us to let nature take it's course. If the tree was meant to be zapped -"
"The tree was not meant to be zapped!" boom-gurgled (burgled? No, that's already a word) the fountain, "Some Druid zapped it! Some Inept Druid who has never succeeded in controlling the weather, but decided to try it anyway, and ended up killing a perfectly innocent young tree! Some Dwelven Druid, I would guess, an irreverent, unthinking Dwelf who wanted to practice calling lightning in the middle of a forest!"
Dukalb thought for a moment, looking for a way out of this.
"Okay, so you got me," he finally said. "But it was an accident, and while I suppose I could have been a little more careful, these things do happen from time to time, and isn't that what this whole place is for, to learn and practice? SO should I really be punished for -"
"SILENCE" burgled the fountain. "Yes, training is one of the main functions of the forest of Erilliance. But what you do is not training! You're just practicing skills you don't have and not making any effort to learn them! So you haven't really learned anything in three years! And you're destroying things in the process!"
"I'm sorry," Dukalb answered weakly, "I-"
"I'M NOT FINISHED" roared Thurigen. "I'm going to make you an offer, and you're going to say yes or no, and then leave. If you say no, you will pack up all your things and be gone from the city by tomorrow morning, and if you say yes, you will be allowed to stay. Nod if you understand,"
Dukalb opened his mouth as if to protest, then thought better of it and nodded.
"Good," said Thurigen, "Now, you have a natural affinity for trees and stone, and for some reason a bit of skill in weather control. There is one other Druid in Erilliance who shares these powers. I have spoken with him, and he is willing to take you on as an apprentice. Is this acceptable to you?"
Dukalb swallowed. "Yes, Thurigen," he said.
"Very good," said Thurigen, "Grosk will meet you here tomorrow afternoon,"

It wouldn't be a bad idea to reread the Doom Pixie stuff at the beginning of this blog. I know I'm introducing a lot of characters in this story, and I'm sorry if that's confusing. I'm working on a guide to help you keep the plotlines straight.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chapter 39: Bureaucracy

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, everything just seemed to get worse. My parents were acting especially strangly around me, Jason had stopped talking to me completely, and Mora was having no luck at all on discerning the writing. I had also failed my drivers test, and despite my fathers encouragements, I had decided to wait a while before trying again. One of the few bright spots was my lessons. I was becoming quite adept at using my dragon form, especially my stinger and my claws, and I was eager to start flying and ice-breathing, the last two components of my basic training. Unfortunately, secret flying lessons required special facilities to which we didn't have access, and Teresa said I wasn't "ready" to start learning to use my breath weapon yet. I found this odd, considering the "time is of the essence" attitude she'd been taking lately with my training. One day, as we were drilling Wyr'kaka moves in the gym, I decided to ask her about it.
"Believe me, Skyler," she answered, as she swung her tail around to try and trip me, "If it were up to me, that's what you'd be learning right now. But the bureaucrats on the Council have certain rules about this sort of thing,"
"What kind of rules?" I asked, jumping over her tail and side-stepping her incoming claw.
"You know that purple card I gave you?" she asked, as she swiped her head towards me.
I had almost forgotten the ID card I'd recieved more than a month ago. I'd hidden the thing in my dresser without really a second thought about it. I jumped back and curved my long neck down, trying to use it to knock her off balance.
"Yes?" I said.
Teresa stepped to her side, grabbed my neck, and swept me into a headlock with one arm. As she held my face against her chest, I wish for a moment we'd both suddenly turn human.
"The single silver stripe denotes a recruit," she said. "Thanks to Fintan O'Connell, recruits are no longer allowed to learn how to use their breath weapons. But don't worry. As soon as Thadius has a chance to inspect you, I'm sure he'll grand you a second stripe, and then you can learn anything,"
She finally let go of my neck. I went over to the bench and sat down.
"What's so dangerous about breath weapons?" I asked.
"You can go ahead and transform," said Teresa, walking over to her clothes. She quickly became a beautiful young woman again.
"Ostensibly," she continued, as I transformed and got dressed myself, "It's so young recruits don't light themselves on fire,"
"Ostensibly?" I asked, "What's the real reason,"
"You want my opinion?" asked Teresa, as she pulled her tank top over her head, "I think they just don't want anyone becoming that powerful unless they know their gonna work for us. It wouldn't be the first time a draconic's turned informant on an MLF cell,"
"Really?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said, "Five years ago about two thirds of our New York City branch was wiped out that way. I'm sure you heard about it,"
I vaguely remembered hearing something on the news about a "large terrorist cell" being shut down in New York about that time, but I wasn't really sure.
"Anyway, technically you have to be approved by the leader of the N.A. and three other operatives. I'm one, and Quentin and Pat are also going to vouch for you, so that just leaves Thadius. With any luck he'll see you in about a week,"
I went home hopeful. I was going to get to learn how to braethe ice, Catherine was coming home in a week, and Christmas was coming up. Things were looking up.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Mirror of Truth: The Play

I am adapting the Mirror of Truth into a one act play for a scholarship competition. If it's good, it could win $1,000. Unfortunately, the adapting will require a lot of extra writing, as the play has to be about thirty minutes long and the story is approximately three. Still, I think it easier than starting from scratch. This will, however, probably cut into any time I might have for my other stories. But then, I can't win $1,000 for them.