Greetings and salutations, my dear readers! Some of you probably know that I started participating on Nation Novel Writing Month in 2013, and I definitely plan on writing for it this November. NaNoWriMo has activities you can do outside of November, including their Camp, which takes place in April and July. Now, I’m always writing, no matter what month it is, but I decided that I would participate in camp this time around. I’m working hard on finishing up Book Two, and I thought it would be fun to have Camp NaNoWriMo there to keep me motivated.
I have the rest of Legends of Lorata Book Two: Traipsing Light and Shadows planned out in my mind. It feels like I’m so close, yet I have so much to put down. It’s going to be so exciting to finish! I decided that I would post the scenes that I am writing for Camp NaNoWriMo when I can, especially since I’m taking a break from “A Modern Legend.” Don’t worry, I will get caught up with it again and end up with 365 entries by year’s end. In the meantime, enjoy this tale of Zarrek’s adventures.
To help get you set up, remember that Zarrek is the prince of Onsira, but he’s not officially crowned as such just yet. The other character in this part is Elezar, a former general, and now a village leader in another kingdom, called Thiizav. Before Camp started, I wrote about Elezar riding his dragon to Onsira to ask for Zarrek’s help in rescuing his beloved and child, who were stolen away by a wraith. Thiizav has a lot of swamps, but also a lot of spooky creatures. It’s a dark kingdom, really. If you have any questions about the background for this scene, please ask in the comments.
Happy reading, fantasy-lovers!
Elezar woke Zarrek at daybreak the next morning. There was hardly any of Ser’s light to speak of when he handed the prince a crudely-made mug of kava and some rations. He had them on Dettri’s back as quickly as he could, and they took to the sky with the young noble still feeling groggy. They crossed the rest of Enhar as the morning brightened, and were soon over Thiizav. Zarrek could tell by the number of swamps that he began to see; he remembered them from the maps he had studied many times before.
They landed in what turned out to be Elezar’s village at dusk. Elezar seemed eager to set out from there on foot almost immediately, but the villagers who surrounded him refused to let him go without a proper supper. Everyone seemed upset to hear why Sallah had been taken, and most were relieved to see that Zarrek had come to set things right.
It was dark by the time the villagers saw them off, wishing them a safe return. They would have to set out on foot, Elezar explained. There was a cypress forest down the road from the village, smaller by far than the bamboo expanses that towered over the land to the west, and Dettri would not be able to go in with them. It was a shadowy place, and not merely because of the night; it felt different from any other forest Zarrek had ever been to.
“Have you ever been to Thiizav before?” Elezar asked as they passed the first few trees. He carried in one had a thick torch, keeping the other ready to draw his sword.
“No, actually,” Zarrek admitted. He had chosen to use his fire magic instead of carrying a torch, and his right hand glowed with flames. He could release the fire at any moment, should he need to draw his broadsword, and found it much more convenient than carrying an item that could be dropped. “As much as my father was an ally, I never had the chance to visit.”
“It was only your brother, then,” the older man noted.
Zarrek thought for a moment. “That was when my father brought my mother here… To the mountains, I think.”
“And your brother came to take her home again. Listen closely, Zarrek,” Elezar told him, his tone foreboding. “Métius has free reign in this land, and he has reshaped it to his liking. The creatures you see here may look like ones you see before, but they are far different.”
“What do you mean?” Zarrek asked as they walked on.
“I mean, do not trust the faeries you will see here.”
They headed deeper into the woodlands, Elezar’s strides long and sure. The path was soft beneath their feet, as though it had not rained very long ago. Then Zarrek remembered the swamps, and peered between the trees to see the wetlands. The wet, earthy smell began to fill his nose, and in the distance the tree branches rustled.
“Elezar?” Zarrek called after a while. When the man glanced back at him, he went on. “How do you know this is where Sallah is?”
“I followed the wraith here,” Elezar explained. “There are ruins somewhere in these woods. It probably took her there.”
Somewhere in the branches above them, an owl hooted. Zarrek looked up to try to find it, but to no avail.
“Keep walking,” Elezar told him, his feet carrying him faster through the murky woods.
The young prince picked up his own pace, and they were soon deep in the woods, so far along the curving road that they could not see the way out behind them. Then Zarrek heard another sound.
“Is that… laughing?” He stopped to gaze around, holding his flame up high. He let it brighten and expand so that he could see the tangles of branches overhead.
“Krral engivan,” Elezar grumbled in Draconic when he stopped and looked up as well.
“Black faeries?” Zarrek asked as he peered into the branches to see dozens of tiny figures perched on the bare wood.
They giggled at him again. “Come with me, stranger,” one of them called.
“Do not listen to them,” the older man warned him. “They are far more troublesome than any other faerie you could meet.”