Friday, November 20, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 15) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Sherri Ward @ her blog, A Candid Thought. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: Well, I've given Eira a break for a few weeks, so now I've got something to give her a new headache with. I've also got a question for all my faithful readers. On the subject of Eira's you think she should keep it or cut it? ^_^ I've just got to ask...this is a fun piece to write, because I was able to bring a little more attitude to her character and some sarcasm to DP's. Enjoy! (and happy weekend)

Eira didn’t particular care to be wandering. As a matter of fact, she didn’t want to wander anywhere. She wanted to be back home, or at least in the cozy little cottage the Dark Phoenix had called home, somewhere away from constant greenery and his equally constant nagging.
Well, his bothersome way of stating things that made him seem nagging, Eira amended. She was still puzzling over whatever it was that she should have remembered, but still quite couldn’t. As it was, that was giving her more of a headache than she cared for it to do and when she couldn’t quite put her finger on the object, she ventured to ask him.
“Well what?” He was methodically slashing his way through the green overgrowth, having strayed from the worn pathway quite some time ago.
“Are you going to tell me what it is that I should have remembered?”
His answer was simple and for that very reason, it only served to irritate her further. Eria kept up her silence for nearly a hour before she tried again. Silence wasn’t helping much and she did not consider herself to be the girl capable of successfully pitching a fit. At least, she mused, if she did, the outcome would probably be pretty ridiculous.
“If you want to say something, I would appreciate it if you’d just say it.” His voice cut through her haze of thoughts.
“You can’t tell, because you so obviously appear so unaware of what you’re doing, I can only assume that you do not know.”
“I don’t know what?”
“What you’re projecting right now is screaming so loudly, it’s giving me a headache.” The Dark Phoenix deliberately fixed a frown in her direction. “I would appreciate it if you would stop.”
“How can I stop if I didn’t know I was doing it…and I’m not doing anything!”
He winced. “To you, perhaps, to me, you are screaming…and it just got worse.”
“I’m not doing it on purpose!”
“I believe you.”
There was a spot of silence between them.
He stopped slashing long enough to look back at her. Then he straightened and turned around completely. “Perhaps we’d best take a break.”
“A real break?” Eira perked up at once.
His mouth twitched. “Don’t be ridiculous, take a real break and miss out on this wonderful opportunity to meditate?”
She couldn’t resist the pout that was now forming. “But I don’t wanna meditate!”
“I don’t remember asking you if you wanted to.”
“But I don’t wanna!”
“and your point is?”
“I need a point?”
“If you intend to argue your case successfully, you do.”
“I can argue my way out of a case?”
“You could successfully present your case and debate it to a point of compromise.”
“Yeah…and I lost you somewhere around the arguing part.”
“Debate.” He corrected, and then reached into the wall of green, forcing an armful of skinny trees to the side. “Hop through.”
“Through where?”
“I see there.” Eira grunted, wriggling through the small opening. “I meant, where to?”
“And yet you went anyway.” He stepped in behind her, snapping his fingers. Two tiny, golden baubles of energy sprang out of his palm and hovered into the air. “I congratulate you.”
“On what?”
“On stepping through without stopping to ask again, what or where.”
“I didn’t think I had a choice.” Eira wrinkled her nose. “Is this another clearing?”
“Yes. Don’t you recognize it?”
“No. It looks weird.”
He followed her gaze around the cleared space and then shrugged. “Looks the same to me, but I won’t argue on that point.” He started towards the center of the clearing, the two little golden lights trailing after him.
By the time he’d picked his place, Eira had already flopped down on the ground, waiting for his cue to start. “Do I get one of those too?” She nodded towards the happy, bobbing lights.
“I was getting to it, but if you’d like it now, then yes, one is yours, for this session.”
“Only this session?” But Eira was already reaching for it with eager hands. “It’s pretty.”
“Easy!” He quickly waved them higher into the air, out of her reach. “Don’t grab them…they’re alive, you might spook them.”
Eira blinked. “What?”
He took a deep breath and let it out mumbling quietly to himself. “They’re meditation…things. That’s all I’ll do to explain them. They have personalities and they are easily frightened and easily befriended, granted that the person who is befriending them is not the one who has scared them earlier. They help to bring light and warmth to a meditation period and they are good for helping to remember things.”
Eira didn’t bother to stop her groan. “Why can’t you just tell me outright?”
“Tell you what?” He asked, innocently.
“You know what!”
“And if I told you, would you be happy then?”
“Well, it might improve things!”
“By your opinion, now. Not later. Now, gently, hold your hands out…this way, focus and there you go. Cup your hands around it and keep it as close to your center as you can.”
“Which center?” Eira wonderingly cupped her hands around the tiny, golden glow.
“I can’t believe you just asked that…but I’ll humor you, because I’m attempting to create a generous atmosphere for these little…glow…things.”
He stumbled over the last half of the sentence and Eira had a feeling he didn’t want to tell her exactly what they were. She pushed the thought away, trying to focus on what he’d said. A blush tinged her cheeks at once as she drew the cupped hands closer to her stomach. He’d meant her physical center, because there was no realistic way to put the energy to her mental one…at least if there was, Eira was quite sure she didn’t know how.
“Do I start now?”
“You may begin.”
“Why do you always have to be so formal about it?”
“Six minutes. Because there should be some semblance of routine, when it comes to meditation.”
“Why? And I know, seven minutes.”
“Seven minutes.” He repeated, automatically. “Because it’s a cue, a catchphrase for your mind to recognize what you’re about to do and prepare itself for what is to come.”
“And you do that in one single phrase?” Eira huffed. “I know, eight minutes.”
“Eight minutes-yes, you do, it’s easier for some than others. Are you trying to extend your time on purpose?”
“If I answer that you’re going to tack on another minute!”
“Nine minutes. I didn’t say you had to answer.”
“But if I didn’t, then you’d get all snippy and say that I need to learn respect. Ten minutes.”
“Snippy? I didn’t think…I…since when have I…” He stopped. “Don’t bother to answer that. I see where you’re going with this and I refuse to be baited.” He snorted. “And you’re right, ten minutes.”
“I’m going somewhere with this? Eleven minutes.”
“Yes, and you’re obviously enjoying it. Correctly put, eleven minutes!”
“That isn’t fair at all, Master Phoenix.” Eira smiled sweetly. She liked this yellow thing, it made her feel confident and not quite so muddled and dense. “Twelve minutes.”
“And now who’s being formal?” There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Duly noted, twelve minutes.”
“I’m only being…correct, proper…respectful, that sort of thing…it must be what I’ve forgotten to do…because it is the one thing you haven’t specifically called me out on.” Eira smirked. “Thirteen minutes.”
“Do not push this particular subject, Eira…there are many things you have forgotten and I don’t particularly care to remind you of them, the one in particular I speak of, I’m sure you will remember in a moment…granted you stop speaking long enough to actually properly begin your meditations and yes, thirteen minutes.”
“Better make it fourteen, ‘cause I still wanna ask a few more questions.”
“Fourteen minutes.”
“Aren’t you going to ask me what questions I want to ask?”
“Fifteen minutes.”
“Oops, sorry, I was trying to help you keep track. Better make it sixteen. I was going to start at the very tippy top of this list I have, see and-”
“Sixteen minutes. If you continue along this line of annoyance, I will take away your little happy glow.” His voice was dangerously calm. “And as we are still being formal and cheerful, I reserve the right to make a point. Consider your penalty of sixteen minutes, doubled. You can help me keep count by starting at thirty-two minutes.”
“So that would make this thirty-three or thirty-four?” Eira wanted to know. “And I like my happy glow, you said I could have it.”
“I said you could borrow it for this session only…I should have known better, you’re too impressionable.” He paused. “And I’ll only keep it to one minute, thirty-three.”
“I’m not half as impressionable as you think I am!”
“Thirty-four minutes. You are, you’ve never used a Soridan before, which, is in essence, a miniature sort of…for lack of a better word-”
“Just spit it out already! And I know, thirty-five!”
“It would do you good, apprentice, to watch your tone.” He sighed. “Fairy. I was going to say fairy…but it’s really an influential sort of thing. Right now, it’s amplifying a different side of your personality.”
“Which side? The smart side? Oh, I didn’t forget. Thirty-six!”
“Let’s round it to an entirely even number. Forty.” His hands, cool and smooth closed over her own. Against her will, it pried her fingers open and took away the happy, warm fuzziness that had fluttered in the safety of her hands, held close to her heart. “I would call it your reckless side. You’re going to regret this the moment I reabsorb both of these.”
“Will not!” Eira resisted the urge to stick her tongue out, instead crossing her arms angrily over her chest. “Forty-one! Can I open my eyes?”
“No. You think better when they’re closed…there’s too much around to distract you otherwise.” There was a quiet, slurping sound. “Forty-one.”
“What did you just do?” Eira swallowed hard. “What was that sound?”
“I was right.” He muttered. “Forty-two. You’ll remember in a moment, but first, while you’ve still got the borrowed energy, think quick, what is it I want you to remember that you can’t place, because you’re avoiding it?”
“I’m not avoiding anything!” Eira bit her lip. “I’m not.” Her voice was quieter, her mind whirling. “What was that?”
“I’ll explain it some other time. Your energies were just so strong, I thought it would help in drawing your abilities out. Forty-three. Don’t think right now, focus on this. Work with the energy, don’t lose it!” Now his hands were on her hand, one on each side, the thumbs firmly pressed to the sides of her temple, the others gently pressing.
“What are you doing?”
“Focus, Eira.” His voice gentled. “Relax and focus. I won’t count this minute.”
There was no answer and Eira tried to do as he’d asked. Her mind whirled through a thousand different things, from giving up her boots, to getting her hair cut, to seeing a city that didn’t make sense and how she’d argued and lost her non-existent free time and how her family must be wondering what had happened to her, because she’d never called or messaged to let them know she’d arrived safely on the station or that she’d been found by the Dark Phoenix and subsequently adopted as an apprentice. The very last sentence registered and she felt the blush becoming more pronounced as she realized the golden sparkle, had been a miniature creature of some sort. “Oh no!” The words came out in a wail. “Forty-three minutes?”
“Shall I round it to forty-five, since this minute, counts?”
The second half of her thoughts registered. Change boots. Cut hair. I was supposed to cut my hair. Eira nearly choked. “I’m not cutting my hair!”
“The city isn’t that far away.” His hands dropped from her head as her eyes popped open. “And I’m giving you until this afternoon to make your mind up.” He rose to his feet, dusting off his cloak. “Hak tum-up. We’ll hold meditations until tonight. You can make up your time there…we need to move from this clearing.”
“I’m not cutting my hair.”
“That isn’t your choice to make.” He was propelling her towards the dent in the greenery where they’d entered. “As you saw, the city isn’t that far away, and I won’t walk in circles forever.”
“I never told you to walk in circles!”
“That is the end of this discussion.” His voice was firm. “This one point, we will not differ on.”
“You mean, one point you won’t differ on!”
“You can shut your mouth, or I’ll shut it for you.” There was a distinct touch of coolness in his voice. “I won’t sway you with my own experiences or any other logical explanations. I am not asking you, at this point in time, I am telling you. Are we clear?”
Eira ducked through the trees, as he held them aside.
“Yeah. We’re clear.”
“Doesn’t sound like it.” His voice was almost mocking.
She forced the proper response through tightly clenched teeth. “Yes, Master Phoenix.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

In Honor of NaNoWriMo 2009 (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Yvonne "Vonnie" Blake at her lovely blog, My Back Door. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: Having a crazy week-with so many changes, some good, some bad and Eira and DP will have to wait a bit before I can get back to them. This week, I'm featuring a hilarious little slice of NaNo life, titled "Ode To NaNo" and written by the creative Danielle LaPagila, who graciously allowed me to feature it during NaNo. Read, comment and enjoy! (and happy writing this weekend!)

Twas the night before NaNo when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, except for this louse;

NaNo badges were stuck to my corkboard with care,

In hopes that midnight would not soon be there.

The family was nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of word count widgets danced in my head;

My man went to bed without so much as a gripe

And I’d just settled my fingers for a long winter’s type,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tripped over the cat, hit my head on the glass

The moon on the breast of the newly cut lawn

Gave the luster of midday as I stifled a yawn,

When what to my blood shot eyes should appear,

But a noveling machine and eight volunteers,

With a lightening novelist, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Chris.

More rapid than deadlines his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name:

“Now Writers! Now, Poets! Now, Creators of Fiction!

On, Authors! On, Critics! On Masters of Diction!

To the depths of your caves! To your desk in the hall!

Now type away! Type away! Type away all!”

As fresh ideas that before a blank page fly,

When they meet inspiration and mount to the sky,

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,

The machine full of plots, and St. Christopher, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard, it’s no joke

The clicking and clacking of each tiny keystroke.

As I rubbed my sore head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney Chris Baty came with a bound.

He was dressed all in NaNo gear, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all covered with toner and soot;

A bundle of plots he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a student just opening his pack.

His eyes – how they twinkled! So shiny and blue!

A fanatic at heart, from that look, I just knew!

His thin lipped mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the shine on his head gave off a soft glow;

An “All Star” sticker held tight in his teeth,

A golden halo encircled his head like a wreath;

By his side were the trusty Tavia and Lindsey

That help with young writers, as well as Script Frenzy.

No Plot? No Problem! tucked under his arm,

But the thermos of coffee is what gave him his charm.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,

And filled up my pages; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney they rose;

He sprang to his plot machine, to his team gave a shout,

And away they all flew to help more NaNos in doubt.

But I heard him exclaim, as they flew from their spot,

“Happy NaNo to all, and to all a good plot.”


Friday, November 6, 2009

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 14) [Friday Fiction]

This week's friday fiction is hosted by the wonderfully talented Rick "Hoomi" at his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: As some of you may know, this month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I've been having quite a bit of fun with this year's project, a Christian Fantasy work, titled "Faceless". An excerpt is now up in the novel area, if you'd care to read a piece (click here to read the Faceless Excerpt) and I've managed to also crank out a little something for Eira and DP this week. Not very long-as I've had other things to type, lol, but do enjoy and have a great weekend!

“These aren’t my boots.”
“I don’t care if they’re yours or not. Put them on. We need to go.”
“But these aren’t mine! You should care! Someone stole my boots!”
“Why are you assuming they have been stolen?” He asked, mildly.
“B-because that’s the only way they could’ve been-!” She stopped. Her face heated to a point where she felt her temper dangerously sparking. “You took my boots!” She snapped. “You! Give them back, right now!”
“Or what?”
Eira blinked. She hadn’t been expecting that reply, at least not from him. “I-I…”
“Those are your boots, as of now. Put them on, we need to go.”
“What did you do with them?”
“Put them on, we need to go.” He repeated, bored.
“I want to know what you did with my boots!” Eira refused to move, standing stubbornly, arms crossed over her chest. This was more than just a simple matter of boots, Dara had given those to her-with money her mother had scrimped and saved outside of her father’s budget to allow her a pair of special boots. The boots were very special. Quite special. And she had promised to never let them out of her sight. Her stomach churned. This wasn’t good and it wouldn’t be pretty.
“The boots are safe and I will give them back to you when you can properly use them, until then, you will not see them.” He fixed her with a deliberate stare. “We are not going to argue about this.”
She opened her mouth and he pantomimed zipping it shut. Her mouth clamped shut, lips pressed together. It took a half-second to realize that he had closed her mouth for her…and wasn’t going to open it any time soon.
For that reason, Eira didn’t dare argue about the boots.
To her complete surprise, however, once her feet were securely encased within the standard black boots, her feet relaxed at once. Her toes gave an experimental wiggle and she struggled to keep from smiling.
It felt so good!
“Better?” He inquired, politely.
Eira bobbed her head, not wanting to let him see he’d won this round. It wasn’t exactly fair of him to switch boots on her…and not tell her that the new ones were very, very comfortable. And to take her voice so he couldn’t argue about it.
“Good.” He started for the pathway again. “We’re going to cover more ground again than the last time.”
“MMmmmmMMmm!” Eira charged after him, pointing to her mouth.
His mouth twitched. “I know. I didn’t forget.”
Eira stared after him as he continued up the path and then she hurried after him. This was going to be a longer day than she had in mind. Her stomach churned again and she winced. This was going to be very bad.
To his credit however, he did not make her walk very far on an empty stomach. At seemingly the next clearing, they took another break for meditations and breakfast preparations. When they reached that point, he reluctantly returned her voice, ignoring her protests that spilled out upon their sudden release.
Once the words were out in the open, her mind emptied itself and her head cleared as the end result. With a deliberate tilt of her head, she sat down facing opposite of him. In the time that it took for her to fill her stomach, he finished and washed his dishes, counting the steps for her.
When finished, the trip continued again and she began to understand what he meant about traveling more quickly. She didn’t recall her feet walking any faster, but the boots seemed to have something inside of them, or at least they were doing something, because she was able to keep up, easily, with hardly any effort at all.
“How are you doing?” He asked, when they reached a hilltop, pausing to catch a breath. Without really waiting for an answer, he dropped to the ground, motioning for her to do the same.
“Sit.” He tapped one booted foot with his hand. “Now, please.”
Eira did.
“Look that way.” He pointed. “Out of the corner of your eye, not directly, or they will see you.”
It took more thought to do as he said, than to figure out what he had actually meant. “Who will see what?” She hissed between her teeth, straining to see the landscape out of the corner of her eye. “Where?”
“The city to the left, you’ll see it when you stop trying so hard. That’s where we’re heading.”
“Mmmmhmmm.” He shifted to the side.
“Doesn’t look so far away now.” Eria observed.
“It isn’t really.”
“So how far away are we? When will we get there? We’ve been traveling forever!”
“Not quite forever. We’ll get there soon and we aren’t that far away.”
“That’s not the kind of answer I was looking for.”
“Answer or answers?”
“Stop doing that!”
“I am sure when I know what it is you speak of, I shall do my best not to-”
“I thought you said it only took a week to make this trip! We’ve been traveling for at least a week, haven’t we?”
“It would take a week, if I was traveling by myself, at the very limits of my energies.” He frowned. “With you tagging along, with you as an apprentice, with having to pace my energies and every single factor of this trip on your account-” His brow furrowed. “This could take a year, maybe more.”
“A year?” Eira didn’t trust the word that had left her mouth. Her head was spinning and her stomach was not happy-again. This was news to her. She had counted on returning to the cozy little house and taking lessons on the evergreen hill when the sunlight dared to touch it. The dreams were quickly shattered. This was not how it was supposed to be.
“Yes. Maybe more.” He turned sideways. “Yes, I think more. At least for you.”
“This is the test?” Eira knew she sounded pathetic, but for once, she didn’t care.
“Is there something wrong?”
“Yeah, there’s something wrong! I don’t wanna tramp through the mountain for a year!”
“Who said anything about tramping through the mountains?”
“That’s all we’ve been doing and…and!” Eira was sure if she could stand to laugh, or bear to cry. As it was, everything had become so muddled at that point, she did neither.
Her apparently clueless master, watched this all happen with a look of interest on his face, and when she finally dared to meet his gaze, he was smiling.
“It’s not that bad.”
“It is too!” Eira wailed. “I hate the outdoors!”
“You’re doing quite fine in it.”
“But I don’t like it!”
“One does not always have to like where they are placed.”
“But I wasn’t placed here! You dragged me here!”
“And you had the opportunity to accept or refuse. The choice was entirely yours.”
“But you didn’t tell me this was what we’d be doing!”
“Did I have to?”
There was a loud sigh. “I suppose this is where the year is going to add on a few months.”
“I was showing you how close we were to where we needed to be, however you need to change a few things before we reach there, so we’ll be wandering around a bit, until you can reach that point.”
“I don’t want to wander around!”
“Then tell me what you’ve forgotten.”
“How can I tell you what I’ve forgotten if I can’t remember?”
“How do you know you can’t remember!”
“That’s a trick question!”
“Stop that!”
There was another long sigh and he rolled up to his feet, offering her a hand. “We are going to be wandering.” His face bore an expression of martyrdom. “For days.”
© Sara Harricharan