Since NaNo is finished and I’ve been babbling about my NaNo novel since October, I thought I’d actually share a peek inside this book I’ve rambled on and on over. Hope you enjoy. ^_^
"You're going to have to have a pretty big foot to fill your father's shoes," the other said. He glanced Iavin up and down, eyes gleaming. "You might need some padding in those shoes."
Iavin just waited for the three's laughter to cease. This was nothing new. He had suffered jibes about his unfortunate height, or lack thereof, for the majority of his life. For many of those years he clung to hope that he'd eventually have a growth spurt. I mean, when one had a mother who was an elf, which were naturally very tall people, and a father that surpassed the greater part of Aerigethel's population in height, human though he was, one would expect to eventually gain a few inches. But four years ago when Iavin's eighteenth birthday hit and he still hadn't quite reached five and a half feet, he decided fate took pleasure in mocking him. That was nothing new.
"Are you hungry?" he asked her. He had no doubt she could go probably hunt down every living thing in the woods and have them all skinned and roasted before the hour was up, but there was no point in that. "My mother probably packed me enough food to last for the rest of our dragon rider term." He didn't mention she did that because she didn't think he was capable of hunting down his own.
Sayleth laughed at his comment. She could make no sound, but her mouth opened with a wide grin and her shoulders shook. Iavin liked seeing her face light up like that. He liked even more that he was the one to make it do it.
Iavin glanced around at the others who treated the white-headed boy as if he was the king himself. He obviously had some kind of power over these people. Maybe, hope of hopes, he could help. Iavin knew Sayleth needed care right away.
"Please!" he called to the boy. "My partner is hurt and everyone thinks we're here to cause trouble but all we're doing is looking for Princess Iraila because she was stolen except we can't look for her because we were taken at night but we didn't do anything, I promise."
Nemayn's mental groan resonated through his mind.
That went smoothly.
"Well, that was just plain rude of them, wasn't it?"
Iavin blinked. Definitely not the reaction he was expecting.
The boy turned to the knights and scowled. "That is not how we treat guests in Silhendait."
"But, Your Greatness, they—"
"Nope. I don't want to hear it. These are respected riders of Sivral and shall be treated accordingly. Sir Hegan," he motioned to a rider atop one of the purple dragons, "I want you to take the wounded girl to our greatest physician to be treated immediately. The rest of you clean this mess up while I escort Sir. . .?" He glanced at Iavin with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh, um. Iavin."
"Sir Iavin and the two dragons here to the castle."
"I'm Cael, by the way."
Iavin's thoughts were so heavy he barely caught the boy's words. "You're what?" he murmured, trying to pull himself back to the present.
"Cael. That's my name."
"Oh. Oh!" Focus, Iavin. "I'm Iavin."
Nemayn gently reminded him he already informed Cael of this.
"Fine," Cael huffed. "See if I ever save your lives again."
This was just too much.
"Save our lives?" Iavin shouted. He swerved around to face Cael, every muscle rigid with fury. "All you've done for us is imprison Sayleth, send your pet ice bird to freeze us from the sky, and drive us into these forsaken mountains where we're probably all going to freeze to death anyway. If that is what you call saving our lives then please, by all means, stop doing it."
The strangest sensation washed through his mind. Praise? He glanced at Nemayn watching him, eyes twinkling with amusement. She had never seen her rider stand up for himself like that. She liked it.
Well, I'm angry. And tired.
Really tired. He breathed a heavy sigh and it was as if all his fury blew out, leaving his muscles aching and mind too exhausted to bother being angry anymore. Instead a numbness took over.
"I really was just trying to help, Iavin," Cael said.
"Please just don't." Iavin lifted Nemayn's saddle and shoved past Cael. "Stop pretending to be my friend, because you're not." He heaved the saddle atop his dragon and kept his back to Cael while he strapped it on, but he could hear the boy's sigh.
Iavin hated Cael. He didn't even know it was possible to hate so intensely. Sayleth did not deserve this. Sweet, frail Sayleth, who was crippled by a maniac that wanted to use her energy to control all of Aerigethel. The thought boiled Iavin's blood.
He jumped to his feet and strode right for the single window on the back wall. With his bare hands, he tugged one of the boards put up there to assure they had no means of escape. It didn't even creak.
He stomped over to one of the small chairs, lifted it, and hurled it at the window, or tried. His feeble attempt at tossing it only sent it a couple of feet before it collapsed to the ground with a rattle, nowhere near the window. He kicked the wall in frustration but the moment the tip of his boot hit the hard surface he let out a yelp. He didn't take into account that the wall would be partially frozen.
Bouncing on one foot in attempts to shake out the pain from the other, he caught a flash of Sayleth. And she was laughing.
The heat in his cheeks distracted him from his injured foot. "Sorry," he muttered.
Still laughing, she shook her head and pointed at him.
He frowned, confused.
She gestured to the chair and then him again.
He looked at the collapsed chair and understanding slowly dawned on him. It probably was an amusing sight watching his weak attempt at smashing the room. Not exactly normal behavior for him.
All his fury leaked out of him in chuckles. He stepped over to Sayleth and settled down on the floor in front of her.
"I don't know what came over me," he said, still smiling in amusement over himself.
Eyes twinkling, she waved him off.
There was another gentle knock before the door slowly crept open and a white head of hair poked through the crack.
"You two awake yet?" Cael whispered. "Ah, good." He pushed the door all the way out with his foot and grinned wide. "I brought you breakfast." He knelt and slipped one steaming wooden cup through the bars onto the floor but kept the second in his other hand. "Iavin, you can drink yours on the way," he said, holding the cup up.
Iavin dug his nails into the cot. This was it. Cael was taking him to be tortured. To torment him until he had no choice but to agree to join the dark elves. Stretch his limbs until they broke. Beat him with burning iron rods. Cut out his tongue so he'll be a mute like Sayleth. Whip him with—
"I want to give you a tour of the city." Cael's voice swiped away the thoughts of doom.
Iavin blinked. "You mean. . .you're not taking me to be tortured?"
"Tortured? Why would I do that?"
"Because—" He bit his tongue. Giving Cael ideas was probably not the best plan. "I don’t know."
Cael breathed a laugh. "The things you think of, Iavin. Come on," he lightly shook the cup in his hand, “you're breakfast is getting cold."
Iavin's mind slowly came back to life. "What makes you think I'll go anywhere with you?"
"Don't you want to see the splendor of the forgotten region?"
"Not particularly. It's too cold."
"That's what the drink is for. Trust me, you'll like it."
"No, I meant the company is too cold."
Iavin followed him down the wide hall and examined the drink in his hand. The frothy dark texture didn't look like anything he knew the name of. He gave it a sniff and immediately jerked his head back. The overwhelmingly spicy scent brought tears to his eyes.
"Are you sure this stuff is safe to drink?"
"Of course," Cael said, leading Iavin down a broad set of stairs. "You're going to like it, trust me."
Iavin trusted him as far as he could throw him, and judging by his attempts at throwing the chair the day before, that wasn't very far. But he was thirsty, and since Sayleth didn't seem alarmed by the drinks, they probably weren't meant for harm.
Bracing himself, he inched the rim of the cup up to his lips and took a tiny sip. "Agh!" The cup as well as himself nearly hurled right down the stairway. He jerked to a halt and pounded his fist into his chest, pretty sure his heart combusted into flames. The drink burned all the way down to his stomach. He clawed at his clothes, sweat dampening every inch of him.
"Oh, I probably should have mentioned the first swallow is pretty powerful," Cael said, skipping over the last step to the ground floor.
"Powerful?" Iavin gasped. He stretched his collar away from his flaming throat. "I think I'm dying."
Cael waved him off with a flick of his wrist. "You're fine. The first sip of rioric always feels that way. But afterward it'll provide a pleasant warmth."
Iavin, still trapped in the middle of the stairway, reached the offending stuff far away from his smoldering body. "I'm not drinking this ever again."
Cael shrugged. "If you want to freeze that's none of my concern."
"I'd rather not burst into flames either." The worst of it seemed to have faded but he still took cautious steps down the remaining stairs.
Iavin wasn't sure which was worse. The talons piercing into his shoulders, the frigid wind buffeting him back and forth under the griffin's hold like a puppet, or the fact that two ice dragons were zooming straight for them.
Shouts came from below followed by a whoosh just past Iavin's ear. The griffin lurched to the side away from the second arrow, nearly sending Iavin's breakfast out of his stomach.
"Don't shoot at it!" Cael's voice cried. "You're going to kill Iavin!"
He was pretty much doomed anyway, but Iavin appreciated the gesture.
He shot for the door just a few feet down and threw it open. Sayleth's anxious face met him through the bars on the other side. She gestured wildly to her left at Daeomin, obviously sensing his pain and desperate to reach him.
Iavin fumbled with the lock, tugged at the bars, slammed his shoulder into the whole thing, but all it achieved was a forming bruise.
Nemayn stepped up, gently pushed her rider away, and ripped the barred door right off its hinges with a tug of her claws.
He could never kill Cael. Whether that was a cowardly or noble decision, he didn't know. He just knew if it came down to it, he could never go through with it.
Which brought him back to the question at hand. What was he supposed to do?
He did have those chains, but not enough to detain Cael and all the dark elves. Maybe he could do a few? Cael and the biggest dark elves? Then swallow the key or something. He glanced down at the thing in his hand and grimaced. It was small, but that still seemed awfully uncomfortable. That'd be embarrassing. After all he went through, his demise would be choking on a tiny silver key. Really, it sounded exactly like the way he'd go.
"Who knows," Leiden went on, "we may all be legends. Youngest dragon riders in history to save all of Aerigethel!"
Darven snorted and gave his partner a playful punch in the arm. "Or the loudest."
I hope everyone’s first week of December has been a blessed one! <3