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 hair...do 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?”
“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?”
“No.”
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.
“What?”
“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?”
“there.”
“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.
“Eira.”
“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.”
©

5 comments:

Dee Yoder said...

Here's what I need: "Two tiny, golden baubles of energy sprang out of his palm and hovered into the air."

Do you have some extras?! LOL

Love the dialogue you create, Sara. It is SO real--They have such camaraderie, these two, eh?

Lynn Squire said...

Well done, Sara.

I've given you an award (you can see it on my blog).

J.H. said...

__Hello Sara, it’s dim and stormy as I comment this afternoon. Sorry about part 14’s comment being split up; believe it or not, I had written too much to fit into a single post! Heh, my first post wasn’t even half a page on Word, now it seems I’m having trouble keeping it under two pages. Forget writing comments, we ought to just skype! I’ll try and do better.

= Okie Doke, my dominant emotion towards this story is now frustration; however, I’m still going to keep my opinions in check until you bring these two to Pietrasaan, so long as it doesn’t take 15 more installments. Wish I hadn’t read that bit about the plot being influenced by the Israelites forty years in the wilderness, because now all I’m seeing is the allegory of Eira failing to trust the D.Phe. like the Israelites failed to trust God. I know you said there was some epic-ness coming, but today I’m seriously concerned you won’t deliver. I’m trying being honest—don’t mean to scathe. I mean, after all the hype about “what Eira forgot” to learn she’d just forgotten to cut her hair like the D.Phe. requested…ugh!…I hope that her getting this makeover will bring about an epic climax. And yes, you should have her cut her hair if that’s the case.

- Paragraph 7, “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.” Did I read that right, Eira’s ‘not’ capable of pitching a fit? She seemed pretty darn capable in part 2 when she Hulked-out in Vanderoone. I would guess this personality inconsistency goes back to the fact that you hadn’t intended this story to continue after part 7 and that’s fine, but since/if you plan to edit and bring this story together as a whole you need to be aware that you did a really good job establishing Eira as a temper tantrum case in the reader’s mind. For you to suddenly endow her with self-control now, is, well…BAD.

- Paragraph 55, “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.” Rambling, again. In par.46, the D.Phe. explicitly states he does not want to explain exactly what the golden baubles are so you don’t even need this line. Looking back to the previous paragraph—54—you use the ellipsis to show both pauses in dialogue and stuttering, and, for the smarter readers at least, that’s annoying. Why not use a single dash or how about some “uh’s”, “er’s” and “ahem’s”? For example: “…I’ll humor you, because I’m attempting to create a generous atmosphere for these little uh, the Sori-, er light, sparkl-, things.”
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.

+ I feel bad that the only positive comment I can think to give is that I enjoyed being reintroduced to the word “gentled” in the 16th paragraph from the end: ““Focus, Eira.” His voice gentled.” Though I seem to be full of more criticisms, I want you to know that I am learning from you also.

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

((and my replies are also going to be split up it seems. Sorry!))

Hi again, J.H.! I've finally the time to reply--I've been meaning to answer every one of your comments, but time simply won't give me the chance. I've been so busy this week (again!) it's ridiculous. Incidentally, I'd been happily typing out a reply and when I finally finished and posted it--the comment was also too large and I'd been too empty-headed to save it, so I'm starting over from scratch again. Hopefully, I can manage to fit it in one comment this time. Incidentally, it is pouring rain today. Nice writing weather, not too dark and just gloomy enough.

Ouch. Yes, it does take them awhile to reach Pietrasaan, mostly because I hadn't decided what to do with them in the jungle and where they'd go while attempting to get his business taken care off. Now that I'm trying to wrap it up, it's causing me a headache, because I could have used all that "space" for the clues I'm trying not to weave into the newest installments. In the revision, I'm definitely cutting out a significant portion of it, mostly because it's useless and also because it's redundant. I was still experimenting with their personalities/inner character and it's evident through the amount of dialogue interspersed throughout. Yes, Eira does have a trusting issue, but it's not necessarily with the DP, I didn't want it to be so "obvious" like that, so it's muddled at present. Ack. Apologies that this tale does lose quite a bit of "epic-ness" in the middle. There's much more action and drama in these later installments as this whole story has evolved just a teensy bit over the year it's been in progress. I'm afraid my haphazard way of writing shows through in these early parts. I do hope you can stand to read through to the end--if not, I do understand, LOL. And I also promise to do better with the new serial when I'm finished with this one. (I'm estimating at least six more posts and then it'll be complete).

Yes, cutting Eira's hair does carry meaning and such later on in the story. I didn't think much of it until about halfway through, so the importance doesn't really match up yet. One character point on that, is I didn't want Eira to be too "girly" as an FMC, so I wanted to have the haircut to take away from some of her fussiness. (and because they're tramping through the jungle, realistically, it is a pain to deal with hair longer than your chin) .

Ah, yes. Eira's "fit" I suppose a "temper tantrum" would've been a better description, though because it was more so for the sake of working out Eira's character than for the reader's puzzlement. Apologies again, but I don't have it quite so ridiculously put in my revision notes. Eira's idea of a "fit" is like a whiny-foot-stomping-crybaby sort of sideshow. Whereas, I finally decided her character would be one to simply explode and kick/punch/hit something or simply chew the person out. I definitely see the point you're making though and most certainly, Eira does not have self-control and she is absolutely selfish for her own needs/desires, so keeping her anger/temper in, causes more issues for her than others, so she will let it o ut.

More rambling. LOL. Again,sorry. I can see what you mean here and the redundancy is painful to read. Added to my revision notes, because the DP does not repeat himself. I hadn't thought of using different interjections, as you've seen, I'm partial to the ellipsis…but mostly because it's easier to type. *facepalm* I'll make a personal note of that for my smart, intelligent readers. Thank you!

Sara Harricharan @ Fiction Fusion said...

(((part 2)))

Yes, the DP can be slightly surprising with the degree of his own darkness and humor. I try to use the "gentled" as a reminder that he's still a "good guy" in the sense of the idea, because later on, it certainly changes around and those instances are far and few in between.

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply again! I do intend to reply to all your comments, just as soon as I can spare the time to do so. I truly appreciate the time you put into each review and especially this one as I know it must have been rather annoying to read. I hope you can stand to make it through the whole series (I'm ending it in about six installments, I think) and if not, then I do understand--no worries! I promise to do better with the new serial. ^_^ I hope your writing has been coming along well and that your week ahead is smooth and productive!

Cheers,

~S