I hope you enjoyed having a longer chapter this week because this one is a bit shorter. You just never know how they will turn out.
I say that while laughing at myself. I’ve had to completely tear apart Sacred Knight #5 to do away with the chapters and am writing it scene by scene. Sacred Knight has been the strangest series for me. Every book has to be done differently. The Three Books (Book #1) changed genres repeatedly and the only way I got through it finally was by writing it as a script, then changing it to prose. Manifest the Magic and To Birth a Destiny (Books 2 and 3) had to be written together as one piece and was a combination of script and prose. Prince of the Ruined Land (Book 4) was half scripted when I tore it apart and wrote it as prose. The Missing Thread (Book 5) has been entirely prose, but chapter headings have been completely useless throughout.
Another book I’m working on for my dragons series, has just been one long straight story without any breaks. The 7th Loki novella is working out in the same way.
Yet, while each story has a tendency to be different, I was asked earlier this week if I have a process or a ritual that I go through when I sit down to write. I know people that have rituals to get themselves ready to write. Some people use a different computer than their normal computer. Some writers have a mantra or a prayer that they say.
No, I don’t have a ritual. I’ve always had to be ready to write at a moment’s notice and the method has never mattered to me. Getting the story that’s jabbering at me out of my head is what’s important. I have mentioned a couple time that I dictate some of my work. I’ve been doing that for a long time. I use to use a tape recorder. I hope my mother burned all my old tapes! I’d sit in the closet and record my stories. Yeah, and you all wondered why I wanted to sit in a box and record the audiobook for my stories! (grin) I discovered DragonSpeak when it was at version 3 and have been using it off and on since then. Instead of having to transcribe everything myself, it has made the work so much easier. Not perfect, but what is.
The closest thing to a ritual that I might have is turning on music. Why? Because what I want to write determines what I listen to. Here’s a list of my Internet radio stations and what I write while I listen to them:
Two Steps from Hell (soundtracks, no lyrics): Sacred Knight
“One Night In Bangkok” (80’s happy, boppy pop music): Loki
Shinedown (hard edge, lots of screaming): Onesong
No music, or very rarely a mixture of all of the above: a Wells of the Onesong story and the various others in progress
Now, there are some strange cross-overs. For example, if I start Two Steps from Hell and their song “Blackheart” plays, that is a clue for me to switch to Loki. If I’m listening to my “One Night In Bangkok” station and Cutting Crew‘s “I Just Died In Your Arms” starts playing, I must begin working on Sacred Knight. Why? Well, because these songs have been instrumental (pun, I wonder) to building these stories. They have special meaning to me. And it’s very important that I catch these clues. When I don’t, I usually bog down in the story I’m working on. When I do, like last weekend when Blackheart started playing, I come up with wonderful ideas. Loki had me laughing to myself all day because of working on the 7th novella in the morning. I love it. I wish I could be having you read it right now.
That’s the hardest thing about being a writer: waiting for the readers to catch up. I feel like I’m always one step ahead, skipping merrily along, and turning to look back to see who’s behind me. I scream to hurry up, but then I sprint ahead anyway. I have to stay ahead. I have to have the ideas keep coming. I have to catch them and get them down so that I can leave the pages littered behind me like bread crumbs. Yeah, the Internet makes that even harder because it’s so easy to put out little snips of conversation, but they never have quite the same meaning for the reader, I feel, as it does for me. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you like the quotes I put out on Facebook and Twitter. I hope they tempt you to keep reading.
But it’s still hard.
Have you caught up to me yet?
Would you please read more?!!!
Okay, onto Onesong.
Onesong is an epic fantasy story filled with action, adventure, and sword and sorcery. Chapter 13 is available for 1 week only! Then, it will turn back into a pumpkin and a new chapter will appear!
Previously in Onesong: As a child, Rivic destroys not only his parents’ village, but also the village of his aunt and uncle, leaving only him and his twin sister, Nyree, alive. Alone, hungry, and wandering through the woods, the twins are found by a beast that swallows
them whole. Ten years later (or so), the twins are hatched from a dragon egg. With each of them receiving special dragon powers, they are charged with saving the world from a terrible evil rising. Unsure of this new world, Nyree quickly becomes ill. Rivic finds help from a nearby tribe who takes them in. The healer, Ellonia, has been seeing Rivic in her dreams for years and knows that he is the one destined to save her people. Until Necroathelings from Gohaldinest arrive and kidnap his sister. Rivic leaves Ellonia behind in order to go to Gohaldinest and rescue his sister. Along the way, he meets a cahaster, a small, kittenish dragon, who offers to show him the way. But the cahaster, Dragzel, is an obvious trouble-maker in Gohaldinest, as well as the pet of the mistress to the Lord of Gohaldinest. Rivic stumbles upon Cirvel, the Lord of Gohaldinest, who makes a bargain with Rivic to stay as an acolyte and continue the study of magic.
And now, the next chapter of Onesong:
by Dawn Blair
“You will need to change into these,” Alityka said, pulling a pair of white pants and a white tunic from the shelves of closet once they had reached another building. She pointed to a trifold screen. “You may change over there.”
Rivic stepped behind the changing screen and began to remove his clothes and don the ones she had given to him. He’d never felt such soft fabric in his life. He pulled the ties on the pants and tucked them into the band. “How long have you been here?” he asked.
“Nearly a cycle now.”
“Where are you from?”
“Like most of the acolytes, I’m from a tribe beyond the Palin Mountains.”
He pulled the tunic over his head then gathered his discarded clothes and tucked them under his arm. He came out from behind the screen.
“When you need a change of clothes, you may come here and get them. Take two more sets of clothes, which you will be able to store away for now.” She paused while she waited for him to follow her instructions. Then she pointed to a hole in the wall that looked like it had a ramp leading downward through the wall. “Place your soiled clothes here and they will be taken down to the laundry to be washed. You may put your travel clothes there now. They will be cleaned and held in the laundry room until you can get them.”
Rivic put his clothes on the ramp and sent them down. He listened to see if he could tell how far down the chute was, but he didn’t hear a sound when they had landed.
“We are on a chore rotation. You will find yourself in the laundry room during some fortnight period.” She once again reached out for his hand, then led him toward a staircase. He followed her up, still letting her have his hand though he felt as if he should draw away.
They came out in a shadowy room under a huge sloping wooden roof. Wood planks with large rafter supports and exposed beams ran across the room. Six windows, three on each side of the room, allowed light into the area. Irregardless, the dark, ragged wood of the uncovered walls made it seem dark in here, as if it couldn’t get enough sunlight. Several beds, six to be exact, lined up on each of the outer walls while in the center were three sets of six beds, three against three with a small walk space between. Each bed was of simple construction, raised about two feet off the ground in a small wooden frame and the mats were covered with white blankets.
Alityka stopped beside on the beds against the wall. “This will be your bed. The boy who was sleeping here recently had an accident.”
“An accident?” A draft ran across the back of his neck.
“He lost control of his magic.” Her eyes looked sad, too sad for someone her age. He wanted to make her smile for someone as lovely as she was should never be sorrowful. “There is a lot of residue in this castle. When it comes whispering to you at night, I suggest you shield your heart from its lies.”
“What happened to the boy?”
“The gargaxes devoured him.” She turned her head away as if she could defend herself from the memory. Then she straightened her posture. “’Tis hard, but every now and again we lose acolytes who are not prepared to be here. The boys and the girls our age stay in this room until we are promoted, so we get to know each other. ‘Tis devistaing to lose someone you know well.”
“You stay here, sleep here too?” Rivic set his extra clothes on top of the blankets and stepped over to the nearest window. Each one had a padded ledge for sitting on while staring outside. He looked out on a space between the buildings and an alleyway beneath. Examining the sills, he noted that the walls of the room were at least two feet thick.
Alityka looked around as if it depressed her. “Aye.” She broke her hand away from his and drifted across the room. “’Tis my bed here.”
Rivic took a quick count. “So there are eighteen acolytes if all the beds are filled?”
“Aye. Lord Cirvel tries to keep it balanced with nine girls and nine boys, but it doesn’t always work out that. Right now, before you came, there were twelve girls and seven boys.”
Alityka smiled and it made his heart sing at the revival of her beauty. “Very good. You have basic math skills,” she said proudly. “Most who come here do not know how to read, write, or do math. Do you read and write as well?”
“Sontre’ taught me.”
“’Tis the name of the woman who raised me and my sister.” Though it was the truth, it felt strange talking about something that hadn’t been real, but rather more like an intense dream. “She was my Sontre’.”
“Sontre’… Sontre’…” The girl seemed about to laugh, but then her blue eyes started to flicker back and forth as if she were reading something over her head. The smile faded from her lips. “A teacher of the Onesong.” She grabbed his wrists. “Does Lord Cirvel know that you are connected to the Onesong?”
“I don’t… I don’t think so.”
“How could he not!” Alityka stepped away from Rivic. “’Tis why he wanted you here. You must not tell anyone. ‘Tis dangerous, you hear? If Lord Cirvel found out…”
“He won’t.” He thought about telling her about his encounter with the Necroathelings which severed his connection to the Onesong, but had that even really happened? Or, had that been his dragon mother’s doing even though his novimather denied it?
“We should carry on, pretend this conversation never happened.”
“Aye.” He felt relieved at being released from this conversation. “I am anxious to see my sister.”
They left this building and proceeded into the next. Alityka pointed out classrooms and training areas, but her attitude was different now, shorter, sharper, as if she were in a hurry and didn’t want to be around him any longer.
They came around to another entrance and the quarries in the windows and the tiles reminded Rivic of the hallway he’d entered before coming to Lord Cirvel’s room. “Are we back in the castle?” Rivic asked.
“Another wing of it,” Alityka replied.
As they approached a staircase, Rivic realized they’d been up and down so much today that his legs were beginning to hurt. How much more would he have to endure?
“You’re almost there,” Alityka said as if she could read his thoughts.
It gave him the fortitude to continue on. In a long hallway of doors, Alitkya knocked on the fourth doorway down to the left.
“Come in,” Nyree’s voice called from inside.
Alityka opened the door. “I’ve brought someone to see you.” She stepped inside and moved out of the way for Rivic to enter.
Unlike the room where he was going to be staying the acolytes, Nyree’s room was lavish and seemed to fit the castle better than the drafty attic where the acolytes stayed. The bed had four long poles rising from each corner. A chandelier with four candles would illuminate the room after dark. The curtains on the windows were pulled back to allow the daylight into the room. Near the window was a chair where Nyree currently sat. She put her book down on the round marble table beside her and jumped to her feet. A short way off was a small writing desk and a chair.
“Rivic! You’re finally here.” Nyree ran over to him and threw her arms around his neck in a tight hug. He lifted her close to him for a moment then dropped her back down to her feet. “Come.” She grabbed his hand and led him toward the fireplace where there was a small sofa.
Nyree sat down and motioned for Rivic to sit.
Alityka, who had remained by the open door, spoke up, “I’ll leave you two to visit. Nyree can take you down to dinner in a bit. I will catch up to you later to lead you back to the acolytes’ quarters.”
“Thank you,” Rivic said.
As the door shut behind Alityka, Rivic faced his sister. “Are you all right? No one’s hurt you?”
“I promise you, I’ve been fine. I’m not sure that what they say about Lord Cirvel is true. Everyone here is wonderful and seems so happy.” She rubbed her hands over her knees as she smiled at him.
He couldn’t find the words to speak.
“When do we get to go home?” she asked.
“We’re not.” He paused. “I’ve agreed to continue my training while we are here.”
“’Tis great.” She sounded genuinely pleased.
“But we have to do something for Lord Cirvel to repay his kindness. I have agreed to his terms.”
She looked at him suspiciously. “Terms?”
“A few drops of our blood, nothing more.”
Nyree nodded, smiling. “’Tis nothing much for what we are getting in return. The wound will heal.” She reached over and took his hands in hers, her eyes alight with excitement. “You should see the library here. Books from floor to ceiling. I have been allowed to read at my leisure and there are some wonderful things.”
Rivic closed his eyes and thanked the Spirits of the Onesong for keeping Nyree safe. Lord Cirvel had been truthful in saying that Nyree was safe. Maybe, just maybe, Cirvel wasn’t as bad as the stories of his reputation. However, Rivic had also been on the receiving end of his temper. Nyree hadn’t yet met him. Time would reveal the truth.
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Onesong – copyright © 2017 Dawn Blair
Published by Morning Sky Studios
Cover and layout copyright © 2017 by Morning Sky Studios
Cover design by Dawn Blair/Morning Sky Studios
Cover art “Looking Toward Yesterday” copyright © Dawn Blair