I almost forgot! In and amongst all the bad news I had a bit of good news! I won the April Writing Challenge on Fantasy Faction! 😀 The theme was spring inspired. The story also had to include themes of hope and warmth. The story I entered is actually based in the world I’m writing my books in, but is set hundreds of years earlier. You can see all the entries here. And here’s the piece I entered.
Mela stood on the edge of the massive plateau staring out at the dark horizon. The ground far below appeared flat and even, but the sound of breaking waves in the distance broke the illusion. The sun would rise soon over the water and send its golden light into world once again. And Mela would be there to see it. Mela had to see it.
The cold wind whipped past her into the ancient forest at her back. The first birds were already awake and gracing the trees with their sweet songs. Mela heard something scurry into a bush at her side, but she didn’t turn to investigate. The sky fey, Sunil, had told her to watch as he left and to continue watching until the first rays of sun breached the surface of the ocean. Mela had been standing rooted to her spot for hours, determined to finish the last wish of her former master.
Another gust of wind blew up from the Flatlands brushing a tear from her eye and tossing her dark hair about her shoulders. The wind didn’t seem to care that the fey were gone. Neither did the forest or the birds. Mela brushed the cold tear from her cheek and added a ragged sigh to the twisting breeze.
“No one cares,” Mela said still staring at the horizon, “that’s why they left. People think they have no use for essence magic; they’d rather rely on technology to save them. But wild, untended magic is a dangerous thing, and the only beings who knew its secrets have finally abandoned humanity. We are lost, and yet the wind continues to blow and the birds continue to sing, as if nothing has changed; as if we can carry on without them.”
Sunil hadn’t told Mela why she must watch the sunrise. He hadn’t told her where the fey were going or what she was to do now that they’d left. Part of her hoped the sun’s light would cut through her body like Sunil’s last words had done. That the first light of spring would be the last she’d ever see, and that her spirit would stay forever watching the horizon and waiting for the fey to return.
The thought sent a shiver down her spine. Mela shifted her feet and felt the frost covered grass crunch under her boots. It was cold and her mind’s wanderings weren’t helping her repel the icy air. She rubbed her arms to warm herself, but the wind bit through her shirt as if trying to thwart her efforts.
The sky was starting to lighten and Mela could just make out the waves of the sea crashing against the sandy shore. She had thought that she would be too far off to smell the salt air, but even at this great distance she could hear the rhythmic crashing of the waves and the smell of the ocean drifting up the side of the plateau, giving the forest an otherworldly feel. It seemed the lighter the sky became the more clearly she could sense the ocean. The sounds and smells of the sea mixed with the deep earthy tones of the forest were tossed together by the ever present breeze. Mela had the urge to close her eyes and take in the sensations without the distraction of the view. But Sunil had given her an order and she could not tarnish his memory by disobeying him. So she waited; for the sun, for spring, and to complete her final task.
“How can I go on without my master? Without the essence?” Mela thought, as another tear rolled down her cheek. “My whole life was learning the balance and understanding the ways of magic and the fey and how to use it to help my people. Now I have nothing. Nothing but the sunrise and the wind.”
As if in answer, the wind blew straight up from the cliff face, startling Mela from her thoughts. She almost looked down to see where the wind had come from, but stopped herself just in time.
“You won’t distract me from my task,” Mela said to the breeze. “You are a trickster, but I won’t be fooled by you. The essence of the wind has no power over me. Go bother someone else!”
One last gust of wind blew past Mela into the woods and then the breeze fell silent. The whole world suddenly seemed tense as if the forest itself was holding its breath. Then a small bit of the horizon sprung to life and the golden rays of spring’s first sun leapt up from the sea into the sky. The light was blinding and Mela had to concentrate to keep from blinking. She took a single step forward and recited the verse Sunil had taught her.
“The sun has risen from the depths and touched the sea and sky. And with this I give one last breath and bid the fey goodbye. We stand alone to keep the day and push away the night. Grant us one last boon oh sun and bless us with your light.”
With that Mela closed her eyes, letting the warmth of the sun cover her face and chase all traces of winter from the air around her. She realized quickly that the warmth she was feeling was far greater than it should have been. And that the heat seemed to be coming not from the sun before her but from inside her very being! She opened her eyes and saw the world covered in the glow of magic; essence floating out of the forest and into the sky before her carried by the playful breeze. Sunil had not abandoned her completely; he’d given her a parting gift. He’d given her the gift of magic!
Mela took one last look at the rising sun, and then collapsed to her knees with a great sigh of relief. She would continue in her master’s footsteps and would save her people from the world and themselves. She again had a purpose, a link to the essence, and more importantly she again had hope. Smiling Mela picked up a dried leaf and let the wind carry it from her hand, watching as the blue-green essence magic blew it off into the distance, over Flatlands and into the sea beyond.
There were some really great entries in April, so I was happily surprised that I won. I’m thinking of entering this month’s contest as well. This month’s theme is storms! You can check out the specifics here if you’re interested in entering. This months contest runs till June 30th. All you need to enter is a Fantasy-Faction account, and if you don’t have one, it’s free to sign up!
Well that’s it for now! I’ll try to remember to be back soon! 😉
Have a great day! 🙂