Caer Awen
The Muse's Castle
193--small and simple things 
6th-Jan-2008 01:31 pm
Prompt: [193--small and simple things]
Universe: [Original]
Genre(s): [Fantasy]
Rating: [PG]
Warnings: [None]
Word Count: [1439]

This is the result of my writing ADD problem and not related to anything else I've posted. It's not as polished as I would like it to be and I'm sure there are many a typo. Concrit is very very much needed and wanted!




He gathered wind and ran faster.

Dogs howled somewhere in the forest behind him and the sounds soon fell away. They were going in the wrong direction and he took comfort in that. He focused his attention ahead of him and listened to the air. It kept his course straight and true. He knew it wasn’t far. He came to a halt shortly after he burst out of the trees.

“Naeda!”

The breathless shout drew her attention and she turned towards him. She stood two steps away from the edge of the cliff. She was partway through the change and even now he was frightened for her. Her dark hair turned the same blue black as the night sea below them. Her deep green eyes paled and the scars on her sides slowly began to separate.

She smiled and took a step back.

Three steps took him within arms reach of her. He almost slipped on the remains of her dress. He grabbed her wrist and pulled her away from the edge. Quickly he twisted her arm behind her back. She did not struggle. Instead she placed her free hand on his chest, over his heart.

“Aren’t you going to ask if it is true?” She still stumbled awkwardly over the Halen tongue, so the words were slow and soft, but she taunted him just the same. When he didn’t respond immediately, her fingers curled into the damp fabric of his shirt. “Kael?”

“Did you kill him?” he demanded. It was more forceful than he wanted and he struggled to control his temper. Naeda took no notice and again, she smiled.

“Yes.”

He inadvertently twisted her arm more, nearly dislocating it from her shoulder in his frustration. Her eyes closed briefly but it was the only sign of discomfort. “The war is over, Naeda.”

“I will not be its spoil.”

“I would have protected you!”

She clenched her free fist, her new claws ripped the cloth easily, and shoved him away from her. Kael stumbled back several steps. He didn’t release her wrist but she twisted out of the uncomfortable position. When he pulled her back to him, he noticed the hardening pattern of scales along her forehead that moved down along her hairline. It stopped at her shoulder and he knew it would move down along her back.

“Stop!” he hissed and released her wrist in favor of gripping her shoulders. She drew in a deep shuddering breath and once more closed her eyes. The lines on her sides had completely separated and she began to shake. “There is no where to run!”

Naeda opened her eyes and pressed her fingers to her lips. She raised her hand to him and he understood that she meant to jump into the sea. Even now, even after what she had done, he could not bear the thought of her falling and breaking from this height. The sea would be too strong, even for her.

She turned and ran off the edge. Kael gathered wind and leapt after her.

=====

She was halfway down the side of the cliff when he caught up to her. He was able to wrap his arms around her and pushed away the sounds of her suffocation as he concentrated on slowing their descent. He used the wind to push them farther out into the sea and away from the shallows and rocks at the base of the cliff. When they slammed into the hard water, he lost the wind and inhaled water. Somehow he managed to retain his hold on her for a few moments longer.

Out of her back came two fins, shaped like large fans. Smaller fins came out of her arms and legs. They were sharp and caused him to fall away from her. His eyes stung fiercely but he stubbornly looked at her. This was the third time he had seen the complete transformation and he still ached at her beauty.

“Kael!”

Her scream echoed in the water and against the rocks. The music of her voice was jarring and her face held horror at what he had done. She did not hesitate to press her mouth to his and force her tongue into his mouth.

She drew the water out of him, swallowing it until his lungs and airway were no longer clogged. When she pulled away, his chest tightened and began to burn for need of air. She pressed her forehead against his and he felt the slits on her waist fluttered against his arm.

“Forgive me,” she whispered, her song sad, and pressed her mouth to his once more.

A warmth spread through him and he could feel the air pass between them. Now that he was no longer drowning, he realized that this was as close to a real kiss either of them have ever come. Heedless of the peril surrounding him, he used his returning strength to pull her closer and kissed her back.

Kael knew there was a better time and place for this sort of thing, but he didn’t care.

He had to hold his breath when she finally pulled away. The slits in her sides were moving erratically and when she noticed him staring, she looked away. He reached up and turned her face back towards him. She kissed him once more and then took his hand. They began to swim and he trusted her course. She would stop every few moments and give him air.

Eventually she came to a point wear he could feel a cross current rushing past them and towards the beach. He watched expression leave her face and when she pressed her fingers to her lips and then to his, Kael knew this was the real goodbye. He had lost count of their farewells.

“You owe me a debt, Zephyr Kael,” she whispered.

For a moment, it looked like she might clarify. Instead she kissed him once more and pushed him hard into the current. He tried to grab onto her arm but only cut his hand upon her fins and scales. The struggle to remain afloat distracted him from the pain and the knowledge that once again she had given him something he had no right taking.

Getting to shore was still difficult and he swallowed quite a bit of seawater before he managed to crawl up the beach and collapse in the sand. The dogs found him, along with Aeryn and Lukian, lying very close to where he had first found Naeda. He hated the irony.

Lukian helped him to his feet and studied the waterlogged young man carefully. Aeryn fussed about him like a nervous bird and he let her. After several minutes of Lukian staring at him, Kael glared at the taller man.

“What?” he asked and sighed.

“The Visola has marked you.” He pointed to the set of scratches Naeda had given him atop the cliff. They were still bleeding sluggishly and the salt water had made them red and irritated. Kael clenched his jaw and tried to remain calm. He resisted the urge to cover them. He was about to speak, when Lukian interrupted. “She broke the Forbidden. She is a thief as well as a murderer.”

Kael swallowed and forced himself to look at his teacher and friend calmly. “What do you know about the Forbidden?” he asked and Aeryn suddenly became very still. Neada was the only one who had ever mentioned that Moryan custom. The wind around the three of them died and even the crash of the waves became quiet and restrained.

Lukian did not look away, his eyes paling for a moment, before returning to their steel gray. “Only what my father told me of it. Only that those that break it are marked and cursed. No man, Halen or Moryan will take her now.” He paused and then continued. “That includes you, Your Majesty.”

Kael stiffened at the new title and shoved the implications of it away. “But your mother--”

“Was a Walker. And they did not break the Forbidden. He never stole her death. He never gave her life.”

Silence followed Lukian’s statement and the wind slowly started up again. Kael ran his hands irritably through his wet hair and glanced down at his sister. Aeryn looked at him sadly before placing her hand lightly on his arm.

“She saved my life,” he finally said.

“She killed your brother,” Lukian responded. “And this is not her first murder.”

“She made you King,” Aeryn whispered and withdrew her hand. “It can never work between you and the Visola. It will be war again if you try.”
Pirate girl by Kabochan
Comments 
7th-Jan-2008 02:35 am (UTC)
This was really quite interesting. I was having a hard time figuring out what she was becoming at first...but once she hit the water it became a lot more apparent. And I'm supposing if this was not the first introduction to the story it would be more obvious.

You mentioned typos and I only can remember one of them (if there are more than one). "Eventually she came to a point wear he could feel a cross current..." It's the wrong "where/wear".

I always seem to have a hard time giving advice on plot and flow, but...I really liked the flow and the word choice was very good. The only things that were confusing were all likely because I had no idea what was going on in the world or the relationships going on, etc. So...I wouldn't advise this for the introduction to the world. Otherwise, it's a very nice piece.
12th-Jan-2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the concrit! You're right, this would be a very bad introduction to the world, mostly because it's happening about 3/4 of the way through the story. I didn't give any details of the world in my author's notes because I was experimenting to try to see if readers could follow the action. I also wanted it to be something like a movie trailer, where you just get a piece and the viewer knows that something important just happened.

I know it needs work, but Fi was worried that there wouldn't be enough entries in the contest, so I splorted and gave it to her. ^^;;

Thanks again!
13th-Jan-2008 05:06 am (UTC)
This was really cool. It definitely grabbed me when Naeda started transforming. She and Kael have wonderful chemistry together.

I wish that all this stuff about the Forbidden was explained a little bit more. What exactly is it that can be broken? I'm a little confused about that. ^^;

And when you said Kael was marked, you didn't mean marked as in cursed, right? Only the physical injury?

Who else did Naeda kill besides his brother?
17th-Jan-2008 05:51 am (UTC)
Yay for wonderful chemistry! Yay for cool!

As for the Forbidden, up until this point the only person who's mentioned it, has been Naeda to Kael, and all she's said is that kissing on the mouth is forbidden among her people. They, of course, kiss in all sorts of other places, but what she did under the water, breathing for him, is really taboo. And it's not going to be something that she can hide from her people (the Moryan). It's going to make her an outcast, which is going to be doubly difficult, because she's their Visola, their wave-walker, and their spy. She's one of the very few that can come onto land, and if she had to, remain on land for the rest of her life without dying prematurely.

Kael is cursed, but it's not a mystical curse relating to breaking the Forbidden. He's in love with her and she keeps turning his world upside down. He can't win. The marking was only a physical injury and Lukian was being melodramatic.

As for who else Naeda has killed, I don't know yet. It just flowed better and I figured it's in her character. I'm looking forward to finding out!

13th-Jan-2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
I like it. I like Kael a lot. He seems very human, very much a relatable protagonist who follows his feelings, even when they're not a good idea. Naeda feels edgy and alien, but I like when she shows emotion by sacrificing her.. er.. virtue?.. to save his life.

I'm curious to see what happens to each of them after this, and particularly what happens between them - whether it works out, really. :P

It was a little confusing when she was speaking underwater - I think it could have done with a little more description of what she sounds like - is she speaking his language then, so he can understand her? Does it sound different underwater? Does he know what her native tongue sounds like?

The Forbidden is (are?) a little unclear - if you hadn't told me already, I wouldn't understand what she did wrong. I'm not sure what Lukian's talking about about Kael's parents. (This is where I would usually file it away for later and see if the context of what happens next works the meaning out for me.)

Also, if they call her the Visola, is that a title for her alone? Or is it the name for her people? If it's a name for her people, then who are the Moryan? And if the Moryan are a third people, what business would a Moryan man have taking her, anyway, since she's not of them..?

All in all - really cool scene, really cool setting, written very nicely. The scene feels smooth (although the transition that lands him back on the beach could use either less or more, depending on how important it is to know how his trip back was) and the tension is definitely there, spurring me on. I could care about this story.. ;)

Edited at 2008-01-13 09:35 pm (UTC)
21st-Jan-2008 02:46 am (UTC)
I loved the emotion in this piece! You could really feel the characters' struggle, especially Kael's. That was awesome.

I have to admit that I was confused about a lot of the details, though. Especially at the end. I have to echo a lot of kabochan's questions--are the Visola a people, are they and the Moryans the same, who are the Walkers and how are they related, what exactly is the Forbidden? etc. My confusion made it a little harder for me to stay plunged into the emotion of the piece since I wound up rereading lines and struggling to work things out. With context, I think this would be a really great piece, but as a stand-alone, it's a little difficult.

I enjoyed it, though!
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