The four corners of the World

 

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Introduction

This the novel I will be writing for NaNoWriMo 2015.

I hope to write more of a synopsis as I continue to write and discover along with you, the reader, what the book's intentions are.

As always feedback is welcome, and thank-you for taking the time to read!

Danielle

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Gemma Newey

Good luck with your Nanowrimo novel this year!

Earth and Air

    Starmerie stalked her prey, a lone, small pig that must have wandered into her territory and too far from the grasslands where it inevitably came from.  The question was though, What the hell was it doing in the desert? She pondered her luck for a moment, it had been months since she had seen a pig this close to her home, they had practically become non-existent nowadays and her she lay down in the sandy ground watching it wander aimlessly looking for something to eat as she too was currently doing. 

    Maybe it's a mirage?  She thought for a moment as she brushed a loose piece of curly brown hair out of her line of sight.  She had to collect her thoughts.  The appearance of the pig had been so sudden, so serendipitous that she was unprepared and knew that her spear was several feet away back at her campsite.  She wouldn't be able to make the kill unless she was able to get to her weapon and yet she knew that if she moved too fast, or too much, the pig would notice her and would run as fast as its little legs could and she would lose tonight's dinner.  Since she was already lying flat on the ground she figured the best course of action was to roll her way over to her spear.  If she did it slow enough, perhaps the pig wouldn't notice her.  She reached out her arms over her head and propelled her body to roll over onto her back, and then swiftly onto her stomach once again.  She looked up hesitantly, the pig was still there, it seemed to have found something in the ground, a scarce piece of green perhaps?  She rolled again, and again, each time checking up in between her rolls to make sure that she hadn't done anything to scared the pig away.  It took some time, but finally she was within reach of her weapon.  She reached over and brought herself up to a kneeling position.  There really wasn't anything she could hide her body behind, no large tree that she could camouflage herself with, just sand everywhere with odd scatters of green that really offered little vegetation.  Her only choice would be to make her body as low to the ground as possible and wiggle her way close enough to the pig that she could take it off guard and throw her spear into the heart of the pig.  

    Once again the process was slow and the sun was shining down hard on her body.  She wore light colours from head to toe.  Her feet were covered by soft leather that covered the entire foot and laced up the leg, protective and yet kept the body cool.  Then, her pants and tunic where a loose cotton, almost the colour of the sand, that allowed her body to breathe and reflected a lot of the light from the sun.  She wore a scarf over her head and it held most of her unruly curls back off of her face, but there were always a few that fell through every now and then.  Her blue eyes shimmered brightly against the tanned skin of her face and her pale, pink and somewhat dry lips set off the colour  blue even more.  Her eyes never left the sight of her prey for a moment as she continued to slowly inch her way across the sandy ground.  She scanned her surroundings, the pig had its back to her, it was the perfect moment, there would be no other.  She stood up carefully, crouching at first then fully as she drew back her spear, her other arm pointing in the direction it would go and she whipped it full into the air, hard and true to her intended target.  She watched as the pig shifted its weight, digging at whatever it was trying to get at within the sandy ground; completely unaware of its impending end to life. When the spear reached closer and was about to complete its task, the pig dropped out of sight and her spear sailed on landing in the sand a foot beyond.  Starmerie blinking her eyes a couple of times, then rubbed them with the face of her palms. 

    What the hell? She thought as she looked ahead, then bolted ahead to see where the pig had gone.  She was a fast runner, even in the difficult desert sand and reached her destination swiftly.  To her surprise there was no pig, no desert, no sand, no... nothing.  Just larger than the size of the pig she had been chasing was a blackness that seemed to run deep and yet looked no longer that the length of her arm.  She stood there dumbfounded and thought about what to do next.

 

***

 It was dark by the time Starmerie made her way back to the main camp that her tribe called their temporary home. It had been weeks since she had last been here and she was lucky that they had not yet moved onto their next place of residence. Within the desert land there once was a beautiful oasis that most of her people resided within. In the centre of the city was a large pool of water that provided the people with enough refreshment that they thrived despite the heat and harsh conditions of the desert life. But over time something changed, the water didn't replenish itself as it once had, the animals that traveled for miles to drink from this liquid gold became more scarce as well and the people suffered from it. Fractions started to develop as disagreements about how to control the limited water and food supply started to increase. In the end it was decided to break off the people into groups, what would eventually become known as tribes, and that their best chance at survival was to leave the city and hope that in time it would come to replenish its lost bounty.  

She stood at the top of the dune and looked down at her tribe below, would they even want her to return? She shook her head, it didn't matter if they did she had to tell them of her discovery. She made her way into the encampment.

 

***

Traemius shivered in the cold and wrapped his cloak tighter around his body as he watched the snow continue to fall harder and heavier than he ever had in his young sixteen years.  As he stared ahead into the distance looking for some sign of movement he shook his head, it was slightly better than trying to see through a brick wall. It was the voices he heard first, but to his dismay they were practically on top of him before he could fully identify them as friends. 

"Right this way, Elder Samson." Roddy, his mentor said as he guided the old man through the treacherous snowfall to the safety of the guild meeting room. Although Samson looked quite frail, his mind was quite active and much needed at a tim like this. Everyone would do their best to make sure of his safety. Once the three of them were within the enclosure of the entrance to the building they all lowered their hoods and breathed out a sigh of relaxation. Roddy nodded to his apprentice in greeting and then spoke harshly in frustration. 

"We'd better hope that our enemies are having as much trouble as we are seeing through this snow or we are in trouble of a surprise attack."

The elder responded, "I don't see how they could do any better than we, perhaps this is mother nature's way of allowing us some well- needed reprieve. The two soldiers nodded in agreement. Roderalean knocked hard on the large wooden door then returned to their conversation.

"Well I agree with you there, elder. I am not sure how long any of us will be able to survive this continued onslaught of cold, snowy weather." The cage to the door slid open as two eyes peered out at the three men who stood waiting for entry. 

"You're late." A voice came through the mesh.

"We were out picking daisies and got lost in the beauty of the day." Roddy responded ironically. The door clanged a couple of times, then swung open.

***

    A greasy, beard-covered man ushered the three of them into the safe enclosure from the outside storm.  He mumbled to himself as they walked along the long, and still quite cold, narrow hall.  His job was meant to watch the gate, and that is what he did, every day, only after a while, the wait and the isolation made him a bit off in the head.  Traemius looked over at him, what was his name again? he thought as he made a silent prayer in his head that he never became like him.

    Once they reached the end of the hall where stood a large opening with several more doors leading off in different directions the gate keeper turned around and walked back to his watch.  Without hesitation the three remaining men made their way to the western most door and pulled it open, this time without knocking.  The heat that came from the fire within instantly warmed all of their bodies, although it would still be some time more before any of them felt warm enough to remove their layers.  A large table took up the centre of the room, around it two large benches rested with seven soldiers sitting on either side of the table, looking up at them expectantly.  Roddy guided the elder to the seat of honour at the top of the table where he could look down at those who sat along the table.  After he made sure that Samson was comfortable he and Traemius took their own seats on the bench and nodded their greetings to the others swiftly so that the meeting to commence promptly.

    The Elder Samson looked down the long table and shook his head before speaking, "Is this truly all who remain?" There was a sadness in his voice. The attacks had been vicious and never-ending, although there were a few other who remained they were unable to attend as they were scattered throughout the mountains and could not risk traveling in this treacherous storm. The men along the table all nodded in sadness too as there really wasn't anything to say.

    "So be it."  He continued on.  "There is no pretense to this meeting, you all know why we are here, so let us discuss it opening and honestly."  He said outstretching his arms to the table indicating that he had said all he was going to say for now and was ready to listen to their thoughts and concerns.

Traemius finally pulled his hood down , feeling warm enough now, to reveal his blond, shoulder-length hair and deep brown eyes. It was Teraiyan, an older soldier with dark brown hair pulled back into a ponytail and deep piercing blue eyes who spoke first.

    "Well we can't keep cowering like dogs now can we?  If it wasn't for this blasted life-saving snow, we'd likely all be dead now, wouldn't we?"  Everyone at the table all nodded in agreement, there was no denying that as much as the snow hindered their livelihood it had also stopped their enemy's attacks dead cold. 

    "You have to admit though how strange all this weather is?"  Felix, a red haired, green eyed man spoke up.  He, like the rest of the men there had a full beard to help keep his face warm from the cold wind that blew.  "It isn't even the time of year for it!"  he exclaimed in frustration.  Right now they would normally be in full swing with their mining operations but that had been stopped due to the fact that they couldn't remove the snow fast enough to clear off their machines, or keep the snow out of their tunnels. They had already fallen behind  in their production due to the constant attacks from the Borho beasts that also occupied the mountains. What was even more frustrating was paradox that was present, if it wasn't the weather, then they were being attacked, but when there was a storm there was a unspoken seize fire that occurred. 

"What we need is a way to continue our operations in all this blasted snow!" Teraiyan exclaimed. They all nodded in thought, a few of them stroked the hair in their beards unconsciously. A bell tolled in the background and a small bit of excitement showed on the men's faces, it was the dinner bell and many of them had been wrestling with the growls of their bellies for some time now. Very much on cue a man with a large wooden cart in tow came in, the smell of food filling up the chamber.  He gave a swift bow and then backed away quickly, he knew how hungry these men were and had no desire to be plowed over by their enthusiasm for dinner.  Not five minutes into their meal there was a loud bang at the door down the corridor. Each of the men stopped eating and looked around suspiciously, a late visitor was not expected in this weather. After some time the gate keeper shuffled his way down to their chamber and announced plainly, 

"There is a man here to see elder Samson and the young Traemius." 

 

    

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Light and Dark

    Three months earlier...

    It was cold... or was it  hot... the Designer shivered one minute then took off his cloak the next minute.  The world as he knew it was indeed, no more.  Was it really that time already? 

    He walked over to the window and looked out at his world, the ability was his to see farther than anyone believed possible and he could see his people suffering.  Those who belonged to the earth had lost their water and their stability as a group.  Those to the north west in the mountains, who belonged to air were bombarded with attacks from a foreign race that didn't belong and by the changing weather patterns.  The people of the Water to the south were being poisoned out of their home and were being forced to come to dry land, many of whom could not survive for long, if at all. Finally, to the north east, the people who's lives depended on fire and the forging of metals for their livelihood were being forced out by that which they held most dear.  The fire was pushing up into their homes of the caves they lived in, and a nearby volcano threatened to erupt on a daily basis.  His people were no longer safe, no matter where they lived. 

    The Designer thought back to when he had taken the job of protecting the people of this land and admonished himself for not seeing earlier the hardships that were starting to befall them.  He had tried to send messages to the people but for the moment they were being ignored, if he could be sure at all that they were even being received.  He shook his head and thought once again, Maybe I should have reached out to them sooner? His power was weaker than it had ever been and he hadn't even realized how it had happened.  He hadn't even used his abilities in so long, he would have thought he would have had plenty stored away.  He had chosen a different way than his predecessor before him.  While they had stayed actively involved in the lives of the people, he had chosen to watch them from a far, let them work out their own battles, let them solve their own problems, let them learn how to take care of themselves; and yet here they were.  He was dying, his people were on the brink of destruction and no one was answering his call for help. 

***

    Deep within the cracks of the earth an emptiness grew.  It was dark and light at the same time, long and short, cold and hot, there was a feeling of nothing and everything all together.  Light could begin to be seen through the breaks in the earth above.  Sounds could be heard and the dark one took this as a welcome sign as he breathed in a deep breath of the emptiness around him, as if it was a breath of fresh air.  Another animal, this one long and slithery, slipped through the cracks from up above and fell right in front of him.  He stopped it mid air and held out his hand to twist it disgustedly in the distance, the power surging from his hands.  Within seconds the snake no longer appeared as it once had, now he admired its dark form that it now possessed and he whipped his arm up to add it to the pile of creatures he was creating behind him.  He turned to face them and realized he was developing a rather nice collection of the surface creatures.  A light broke free above him and he floated up in the nothingness to take a better look.  A larger creature this time hovered just out of his reach, a girl, dressed in white with soft curls framing her face.  He was taken aback.  He was drawn to this girl and didn't find her repulsive at all, in fact he would almost say that he was attracted to her.  An immediate overwhelming need to have her down with him, by his side presented itself within him like a longing he had never known. 

    But how do I get her? He thought suddenly feeling trapped instead of his usual feeling of comfort in his vast nothingness. He watched her intently, she was stalking something, one of those vile animals that so often fell into his domain.  She moved so swiftly and elegantly, almost as if she were dancing.  Then, her weapon, a large staff with a pointed end, went flying through the air and landed heart-true in a creature with wings.  The creature stopped flying and plummeted to the ground landing in the dusty covers of sand, in the land above him.  She floated over to the creature and plucked it up without hesitation, removing her instrument of death.  He was curious and memorized as he watched her move on and do the same thing again, with another flying creature.  She seemed content to have two, and moved on out of his crack of light.  He grimaced in frustration at no longer having a view of his lovely new obsession and hovered around looking for another spot from which he could see her.  She was nowhere to be found, but he smiled nonetheless.  He had thought of a way to capture this creature of beauty, he would set a trap. 

 

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Water and Fire

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