#FictMAYhem #StoryADay May 07, 2017

Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic.

Today’s prompt is: Myth

“The Magic Guard may not have apprehended you during your months in Racharan, but they have apprehended others,” Rikard said. “What a coup for the descendents of the Racharan magicians if they had the all-powerful monarch of Thelidon on their side.

“That is complete bollocks!” Clara exclaimed, slamming her hands down on the table and rising slightly as she glared around at the Racharan officials. With the use of the slang, Max heard Clara’s accent momentarily slip into the working class accent she had had during their time in Racharan. Murmurs made their way around the room; the Racharan officials had noticed, too.

“It seems you would have fit in there quite well,” Rikard remarked, an eyebrow raised.

Clara frowned, slid her hands from the table, and took a moment to compose herself. “Mr Voidsun, during the months I lived in Racharan, I had no memory of who I was or why I was there. Using me as an information gatherer would have been quite useless. And if I may say so, the reasons why I was there have been made quite clear. Anyone can verify them.”

“And yet, you still remember everything you learned of our country while you were there. And you were not there unaccompanied.”

“Are you suggesting that Max and Jana were undercover operatives for one of your rebel groups?”

“I’m suggesting nothing. I’m only noting the coincidence between your time in exile in our country and the upsurge in rebels trying to infiltrate our borders again.”

“You can note all you like, Mr Voidsun. It doesn’t stop the fact that all of it is speculation. Fabrication. A complete myth.”

“My government’s investigations haven’t finished yet,” Voidsun replied. “We shall see.”

#FictMAYhem #StoryADay May 06, 2017

Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic. Today’s scene is one of the big plot points of the story, and takes place slightly before yesterday’s scene.

Today’s prompt is: Magic.

Clara awoke with a start, her heart pounding.

Something was different.

She sat up and grasped for the candle on the bedside table, and sent a small wave of magic towards it, enough to light it.

Or at least, she thought she did. She remained in the dark. She tried again and still, the candle remained unlit. She placed it back on the table.

She took a few breaths, and then took stock. She wasn’t hurt. That wasn’t the issue at all. And yet the longer she remained awake, the bigger a gaping hole behind her heart began to feel.

“No,” she whispered. “It’s impossible.”

She threw the blankets off and stood. She picked up the candle again and then moved to the window. There was a street lamp just outside, blazing brightly. She slid the window up and stretched out one hand towards the light, telling herself that this was what had been lacking the first two times she tried. She hadn’t had a light source to transfer to the candle. The fact that she hadn’t required a nearby source since the early days of her magical education was beside the point.

She tried to reach out her consciousness along her arm towards the lamp, to pull the light towards herself, and send it into the candle.

There was nothing.

She slammed the window shut and threw the candle down on the bed. As quickly as she could in the dark, she found her way to the door. The guards outside startled and called out to her as she ran past them, but she paid them no heed. She counted the doors on her left until she had passed the right number, then she pounded on the next one she reached.

“Max!” she shouted. “Max, wake up!”

She realised she was shaking, and braced herself against the door. Her face was hot. Her eyes were stinging, and she quickly wiped away the threatening tears.

It took Max a few minutes to reach the door. When he opened it, he was bleary eyed, squinting out at Clara.

“Clara? What’s wrong?” he asked.

“My magic is gone,” Clara said. “I don’t know how they did it, but they’ve stolen my magic. They’ve switched it off. It’s like the past few months never happened, it’s just… gone!”

Max blinked at her. She knew she was probably speaking far too quickly for him to follow in his barely-awake state, but she wasn’t thinking rationally.

“Are you listening to me? My magic is gone! I couldn’t do something as simple as light a candle!”

“I’m listening,” Max said. “I just… don’t know how that’s possible. Surely the only thing that could do that is some other kind of magic, and the Racharans are completely against that.”

“What about you?” Clara asked. “Can you make a Rune work? Or is it just me?”

Max held up his hand and disappeared back into his room for a moment. When he reappeared, he was carrying one of the pens every Aligarian Mage owned; it filled with ink at the touch of its owner and could write on any surface.

Once back in the corridor, Max pressd his thumb to the Rune on the side of the pen casing. There was a quick flash of blue, and Max nodded, confirming that the small additional weight of the ink was there. The Mages hadn’t been affected. At least, not yet.

Clara wrung her hands. “Just me, then,” she said.

“Looks that way,” Max replied. “Are you sure you’re not just tired or something?”

Clara shook her head. “It feels like something has been switched off inside me. There’s this emptiness that wasn’t there before. Max, I’m really scared. What if I can’t get it back? Thelidon relies on its monarch having the magical power to protect the Kingdom.”

“It’s the middle of the night; there’s not much we can do at the moment. Tomorrow we’ll talk to Reiner and the others, and find out who did this and how. Then we can work on getting it back.”

“I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.”

“Just try. Maybe your powers will be back in the morning.”

Clara nearly rolled her eyes. Max and his unfailing optimism. She nodded.

“All right,” she said. “See you in the morning.”

 

#FictMAYhem #StoryADay May 05, 2017

Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic.

Today’s prompt is: Mirror.

Clara looked at herself in the mirror. She looked the same on the outside. Same face, same figure. How could she still look so normal outwardly when her insides were roiling with turmoil? Her magic was still so new, and yet without it, she felt empty. She felt violated. No one had the right to do this to her.

She clenched her fists and felt the rage stirring inside her. It was the same rage that had coursed through her after she had watched her parents murdered. The same rage she had felt when she had seen Josef Bauer sitting on her throne like it was his, while his men terrorised her people.

If these people thought they could just take her power from her, they were wrong. She would have it back, then she would show them how big a mistake they had made.

“Clara?”

She started and turned around. Max was in the doorway.

“What?” she snapped.

“I just came to check if you were all right. If the magic had returned?”

Clara unclenched her fists and took a deep, shaky breath. She shook her head. “It hasn’t returned. I don’t know what to do. What if I never get it back?”

Max stepped into the room and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Whatever they did, there has to be a way to reverse it. They may not like magic here, but they know how much our Kingdom depends on it. We’ll get it back before we leave.”

Clara nodded. The tone of voice Max was using was one she could never argue with. He always sounded so sure. She wished she had half his confidence. It would help her in the role of monarch to no end.

Once her breathing was steady again, Max put his arm around her shoulders and began to guide her out of the room.  They had a meeting scheduled with some of the Racharan officials in half an hour. Clara was grateful for his presence. Enraged was not a good state of mind for negotiations.

 

#FictMAYhem #StoryADay May 04, 2017

Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic.

Today’s prompt is: Monster.

Rikard had heard the stories from his grandmother. There had been a time when the magic schools would pull people off the streets and then keep them prisoners, letting their students practice their obscene powers on them. Magic had held the reigns over the whole country, until one day the people had finally had enough. One day, they resisted. They stormed the magic schools and released their friends and loved ones, and the magicians were made to stand trial.

After that, the laws governing the use of magic in Racharan were enacted, and they were quickly and strictly enforced. The magicians fled, but even in other nations, they weren’t free to practice their magic however they liked. Magic manifested differently from nation to nation, and they had to abide by whatever laws they ran into. Things were never the same again.

Back in Racharan, the Magic Guard was established. Its members learned to recognise secret symbols that magicians used to communicate; they learned enough that they could infiltrate the ranks of the small rebel groups that remained. They never remained for long, but the Magic Guard continued to patrol the cities, ensuring they never made their mark again.

Hearing these stories as a young boy, Rikard never questioned that becoming a member of the Magic Guard was what he was destined for. It wasn’t easy, but he did the training and passed the exams, and by his mid-twenties, he was initiated into their ranks.

Some were surprised by the vigour with which he sought out the rogue magicians. There were always a few who thought they could sneak back across the border. Rikard barely saw them as people. They were monsters. They may not have personally done the things that their predecessors had, but they might as well have. The fact that they had no respect for the current law meant they thought they were above it; that they thought they could return to that earlier time.

Rikard was having none of it.

I’m pretty excited by this story, which will actually help inform subsequent drafts of Memories and Magic as well. Can’t wait to see how that starts unfolding!

#FictMAYhem #StoryADay #WIPpet Wednesday – May 03, 2017

Welcome to my first WIPpet Wednesday in the new digs. You can see more about this on the About page, but basically I felt that any focus on my writing was getting swamped by book reviews and other talk of other people’s writing over on A Keyboard and an Open Mind. So I decided to separate reading from writing. At the moment, I’m doing the Story a Day in May challenge, but in regular times, my plan is to post WIPpet Wednesday posts on, er, Wednesdays, then another writing-focused post on Sundays.

For anyone who may have stumbled across this post completely by accident, this is a weekly blog hop hosted by yours truly. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This month, I’m using the Story a Day Challenge, along with Faith Rivens’ Fictional MAYhem prompts, to coax out some semblance of plot and some new characters for a potential Memories and Magic sequel. The vaguest of concepts came to me a little while ago, so I’m teasing it out. Please bear with me and the flash fiction/first draft-y nature of this excerpt. It relates to the day because… I wrote it today. Quick context thing: the country where Clara spent her exile with Max and Jana doesn’t allow magic. That’s one of the reasons they chose it, so that it would be the last place anyone would look. Except a while later, that government found out they were there, and they weren’t happy. That’s… kind of the extent of the plot I have at the moment, apart from the scene I plan to write on Day 6, when the prompt is “magic”.

On that note, today’s prompt is Mercy.

Clara tilted her head at him. “Of course, in the wrong hands, magic can be dangerous,” she said. “But the Aligarian Mages saved my life on more than one occasion, thanks to their magic. I’ve made a vow to my people to protect them. My power is bound to that.”

“And you want me to believe you’ve never had a moment where you used it selfishly? For your own gain?”

“I stood in front of the man who murdered my parents on more than one occasion. I wanted to do all sorts of things to him. And yet, he remains in a prison cell awaiting trial.”

Rikard scoffed. “Well, not every magician is as strong-willed as you.”

Clara took a deep breath and stared down at the table for a moment. When she looked up, her expression was tender, almost pitying. Rikard could barely stand to look back at her. When she spoke, her voice was soft.

“I don’t know what happened to you to make you feel the way you do,” she said. “I know that in your eyes, I’ve wronged you. That I’ve wronged a lot of people, simply by having been here. But I do hope that one day you can forgive me.”

I don’t really know what happened to Rikard either, since I only invented him on Monday and he was barely mentioned in yesterday’s story. But apparently he has some kind of ~past~. Feel free to check out the last couple of days’ posts as well. They’re a lot longer than this one, and have a bit more plot. I’ll see you here next week!

~ Emily

 

#FictMAYhem #StoryADay May 02, 2017

Welcome! This month I’m writing a small story each day to try to brainstorm a future full-length novel, a sequel to my current WIP Memories and Magic.

Today’s prompt is: Mayhem.

It took days to reach the capital of Racharan. Clara hadn’t had to travel like this ever since her powers developed and she could transport herself at will. It had only been a few months, but that was long enough for her to forget the tedium of proper travel.

She hadn’t expected the welcome they received as their ship pulled into the port. She knew that the Racharan government wasn’t happy that she and the Mages had infiltrated their borders, using magic, however unintentionally, in a country that expressly forbade its use. But she didn’t expect this news to have filtered down to the general public.

There they were, though. An enormous crowd lined the docks. There were so many people that a temporary fence had been erected and men in black clothes were standing along it every few feet, their chins jutting out and their hands behind their backs. The crowds didn’t seem to be trying to get past, but Clara could hear their shouts and jeers from the deck of the ship.

She turned away and found Max approaching her from further down the deck. The Mages had agreed it was better not to wear their purple robes in deference to the Racharan laws, and now Clara saw what a wise decision that had been. Max was dressed in tidy black pants and a white shirt, with a grey coat over the top. Clara hadn’t seen him in such regular clothing since their time in Racharan the previous year, back before she had realised her true identity.

“I didn’t realise they were sending us a welcoming committee,” Max remarked and Clara chuckled despite her apprehension. “No need for you to watch any of this,” Max added, and tilted his head back down towards the keel of the ship. The two of them made their way further down the deck and then leaned out, watching the open ocean. The ship was essentially moored now, but after seeing the waiting crowd, Clara was more than happy to delay disembarkation.

Finally, there were no more excuses. Mr Voidsun approached them, indicating it was time to move off the ship. Clara and Max followed him, and were met by Reiner and some of the other Mages at the top of the gangplank. At the bottom, four of the men in black were waiting to escort them. One of the self-driving carriages Clara had been so fond of during her first stay here was waiting nearby.

It was when they reached the bottom of the gangplank that Clara realised the crowd had just been biding its time until she was closer. Those at the front began straining against the fence and the guards, jeering louder and making rude gestures at Clara and the other Mages. Clara took a deep breath and lifted her head. She wasn’t going to let them get to her. She wasn’t ashamed of her power and what she had been able to use it for, and she wanted this crowd to know that.

She didn’t realise that the barrier had been broken until she felt Max slam in to her from behind. He kept one arm around her as she turned and saw one of the black-clad guards wrestling with a man who had made for their group, brandishing a knife. Clara’s heart sped up. Insults were one thing, but no she realised there were some people here who wanted to hurt her for her alleged slight on the country.

This was just the catalyst. Clara spotted at least two more people jumping the fence, too quickly for the guards to react. The group of Mages pressed in around her. Clara looked around. If the guards along the fence had to deal with a few fence-jumpers, then there would be no one to reign in the crowd. She needed to do something. She looked further down the road in the gap between Max, Reiner, and Derek. At a bend in the road, there was a large building with the outline of a fish painted on it in black.

Max’s arm was still around her shoulders, so with her two spare hands she grabbed onto Reiner and Derek.

“Your Majesty, are you –”

Clara closed her eyes, visualising the building with the fish painting up close. Derek was cut off as the four of them were transported up the road and away from the crowd.

She had done it without thinking. She had done it to keep them safe. To get them away from the people who wanted to hurt them. In that moment, it hadn’t occurred to her that in doing so, she would make everything worse.

But when the crowds up near the docks realised she and the three Mages had disappeared, that someone among them had used magic… that was when all hell broke loose.

Welcome! Also #FictMAYhem and #StoryADay – May 01

Hello everyone and welcome to the inaugural post on Letting The Voices Out, my new writing blog. I decided after some consideration that I wanted an online space for my writing separate to that of A Keyboard and an Open Mind. I love reviewing books, but over there, my own writing was getting rather drowned out by talk of other people’s.

Ive decided to start things off with a bang, using one writing challenge to help me complete another one. Hopefully. As those of you who  have followed me over from A Keyboard and an Open Mind would know, the first draft of my YA fantasy, Memories and Magic is currently in a drawer, waiting for revisions after this semester ends. In the meantime, I am going to brainstorm the ideas I have for a sequel. I’m using both the Story a Day in May challenge, along with Faith Rivens‘ Fictional MAYhem prompts to come up with scenes that may end up in the story in one way or another, or may just help me work out where the story might go.

Disclaimers include:

  • These are all being posted “as is”, i.e. I’m writing them and posting them in their glorious first draftiness
  • Names of new characters, countries, etc., are being made up on the fly so I beg your indulgence if things get confusing as the month goes on.
  • I do realise that because this is a sequel, there might be references to events that don’t really get explained. But I hope you’ll bear with me. Feel free to ask questions!

In the interests of still writing a story while following the prompts, I’m going to introduce the two characters I’ll be mostly focusing on through a story. So without further ado, say hello to Queen Clara Winterburn and Max Drosselmeier (whose surname is likely to change in revisions, but this will do for now).

The Queen stepped into the room, followed by two men in purple robes. One of them Rikard recognised as Reiner, the Mage who had greeted him on his arrival. The other was a younger man.

Rikard’s attention quickly went to the Queen. It was a shock just how young she was. Of course, he had been told she was only eighteen but to see her in the flesh was a different story. The stories all said that the monarchs of Thelidon were powerful, but had she really reclaimed her Kingdom from a a General and his entire army single-handedly?

He stood up as she approached the seat at the head of the table. Reiner took a step forward.

“Your Majesty, this is his Excellency, Rikard Voidsun, the Racharan Ambassador to Meshus. As it has been that long since our nations have had any, er, official contact, he was the closet representative the Racharan government could send.

“Mr Voidsun, this is her Majesty, Queen Clara Winterburn of Thelidon.”

The Queen immediately held out her hand to him. “Pleased to meet you, your Excellency.” Rikard took the proffered hand shook it. “I’m sorry we couldn’t meet under more pleasant circumstances.”

Rikard frowned. She realised she was the one who had caused the trouble in the first place, didn’t she?

Reiner sense the awkwardness and coughed. He motioned to the other Mage, who was standing at the Queen’s left. “This is Max Drosselmeier. He was, uh… also involved.”

Rikard nodded. He had been told that there had been three of them in Racharan, but two would do for now. They all sat down, the  Queen at the head of the table, the Mages to each side of her, and Rikard in the second seat down next to Reiner.

The Queen spoke first. “Mr Voidsun, I want to explain why –“

Rikard held up his hand. He wasn’t interested in excuses. “Magic is not welcome in my country,” he said.

“Yes, I know, but –“

“Magic of any kind. From what I have been told, yours was completely uncontrolled. Then you were accompanied by two Mages, and more Mages followed after you.”

“I wasn’t hurting anyone.” Her voice was quiet and her gaze was downcast. She seemed truly remorseful and so Rikard fought down the anger that was threatening to come out. He knew the stories, from the days before magic had been banned in Racharan. How the magic-users had controlled those with no power. How the powerless got hurt by those who didn’t know how to use their powers, but it was all in the name of training and education, so nothing was ever done. This could have happened all over again.

“What would you have had us do?” It was Max this time, and Rikard was grateful for the chance to take his attention away from the Queen. Max’s voice was louder, angrier. “The previous King and Queen had just died, and a coup was taking place in our front yard!”

Rikard was aware of his lip curling into a sneer. He didn’t bother to correct it.

“Your country’s problems are not ours.”

Hmm. Well, there’s an interesting new character. And some interesting backstory about the country where Clara and Max spent a significant amount of time in the first book. I should look into that. Yes. *steeples fingers and ponders*

Come back over the next few days for more!