Friday, January 1, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 19)


Author's Ramblings: Well, I promised I wouldn't hold onto to Eira's story for too long, so I won't bore you with thoughts for the New Year and other random musings. However, a quick thanks to all of my fans and readers for the encouragment this past year. I look forward to sharing my latest creations and characters with you in this upcoming year. May it be a wonderful, adventure-filled milstone in this lifejourney. I also had a few minutes to spare and worked out a general idea for Eira herself--seen at the left. Let me know what you think! Happy Reading! (and have a great weekend!) All comments and feedback appreciated. ^_^





In the time the terror took to patiently work its way into her mind, Eira found herself scrambling backwards on her hands and feet, until she touched something solid. A tree trunk. It was strong and steady enough to help aid her trembling limbs in raising her to a somewhat standing position.

The strange rock creature snarled in reply, visibly torn between the fallen body lying to the left and the trembling apprentice cornered at the right. The great, stone head creaked ominously, swinging from side to side before ending with a roar.

Eira felt the echo of it in the very back of her head. It released the headache that she thought had finally disappeared for good. It also freed the tender strings of her temper, rewarding her with a useful dose of adrenaline-summoned strength.

She tried again to use her gifts, struggling to push them past the thought of the fizzling, crackling sparks at her fingertips, which repeatedly amounted to absolutely nothing. Her efforts drew the attention of the creature as it lumbered towards the Dark Phoenix.

For a moment, their gazes fastened upon the other with a look akin to annoyance and a single attribute, accordingly. A tremor of fear was visible to the creature, and for Eira, she had the pleasure of viewing its annoyance. With another groaning to moaning sort of rumble, the creature halted in its path to roar again, deliberately in her direction.

It took that moment to set Eira’s head spinning further off than it had originally been. She watched, frozen, as the creature approached her master and knelt, crouching beside it. In the second one giant, stone arm raised upwards, Eira felt herself move.

“NO!” Her legs were moving, her hands were poised, Eira surged forward. She felt the energy within her—mere seconds before she collided with the creature, shoving with all her might. The fiery red sensation rippled upwards from the ground, racing until it traveled up her shoulders, and out through her palms. “Leave him ALONE!”

With a fury she hadn’t touched in years, Eira released every ounce of pent-up energy, fear and determination in the blast that left her hands, hurling the creature several feet to the side, slamming it into a nearby tree.

Her breath registered in short, excited gasps. Eira shook her head and then her hands. The tingling sensations dancing through them almost made her giddy. The moment passed and she rushed forward. “Master Phoenix?” She shook his shoulder, gently, hesitating. The blade stuck between his shoulders had been driven in to the hilt.

The wound wasn’t bleeding…and he wasn’t breathing.

Eira swallowed, forcing herself to keep calm as she reached for the blade, hearing the rumble behind her another moment too late. The fat, stone arm had somehow become slender and flexible. It wrapped around her shoulders, before curving upwards to her neck.

She scrabbled frantically for something to hold onto as the creature jerked her back. Her fingers found the blade and it came free as she was flung backwards into the air. The tree coming towards her was unforgiving.

Eira smashed into the trunk with a sickening crunch. She took a quick inventory of her body, logically writing off things like the inability to move her left arm and the pain twisting deeper within her neck and back.

Out of habit, her working, right hand, fisted and she drew on her strength and energy to bring the fist to the side of her neck and tap. The spiral of healing energy circled through, and feeling returned to her limbs, the pains fading as she drew herself up, leaning against the very tree that had nearly killed her.

Almost.

She was slipping away, back into the realms where things didn’t matter and her powers were free to do as they pleased. Eira didn’t try to fight them, because she couldn’t. It was too much to fight herself and the creature, that was once again charging towards her.

For the moment where she saw, clearly, the crazed black eye set in stone, Eira didn’t doubt that it would kill her, if given another chance. The red fire burned within and she braced herself, arms moving upwards.

She would not give it this chance.

The tree did little to cushion the impact.

Eira found herself sprawled out on the ground again, this time, awkwardly braced with wooden beneath her and the stone creature above. A cry of pain wrenched free as the creature stomped downwards on one bruised leg.

The words that left her mouth were blurred and unintelligible, as Eira drew harder on the red energy to create a barrier between her head and the stone hands hammering down on her. She heard her bones crunching as the creature settled over her. The pain was gone, for the energy always spared her that much.

Each blow rained upon the thin red energy disc, brought a ripple of energy and a tiny splinter at the edge of her shield. Eira licked her lips, feeling the fading, fuzzy feeling beginning.

Fresh panic raced through her mind and registered somewhere short of her logical reasoning. Another wave of blind fury hit and Eira rolled with it. She was jerked upwards, to a sitting position as her arms pushed forward, shoving with all her might.

The creature stumbled backwards, bracing against the energy onslaught, when Eira accepted the next wave and pushed it outward. It radiated from her in a constant barrage, unrelenting as it bombarded the creature, forcing it back.

Tremors in the ground shocked her enough to cause a hiccup in the steady waves, Eira felt herself falling backwards, the short distance to the ground. Attempts to move her lower extremities were rather useless, as the shaking ground, caused her headache to grow worse.

A roar sounded and Eira stared, helplessly, as the creature suddenly appeared, airborne—and directly over her body. There was no time to scream, no time to pray and absolutely no time at all for her life to review itself in seconds.

She flinched, shrinking back to the ground, drawing whatever reserves of the precious energy left, to attempt to shield her body from a final death blow. Her mind was cold, precise and logical.

She was going to die. A hiccup escaped.

And there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.

The shadow grew larger, the creature looming as it closed the distance between them.

In the moment where she would have closed her eyes, Eira heard a new sound and saw something she couldn’t place at all.

A terrible, anguished wailing sort of scream burst through the air as a giant shadow of black streaked across, through the air and slamming the creature easily to the side, in one swift movement.

Life was a gift too sweet to savor in that moment. Eira hiccupped again, feeling the energy still sparking over her body and knowing the shaking would begin within seconds. It had been too much in too short a time. Perhaps living still wasn’t an option for her.

“Ian?” Someone was speaking, to her left. “Can you hear me? Please…” The voice was burdened with guilt and tinged with fear. “I know you’re alive…this can’t be…I’m sorry I couldn’t…”

There was nothing more.

The rumbling roar sounded again.

Fear slithered through, gnawing within her, effectively distracting her from the pain now settling in. Eira tried to make her mouth work, tried to make her lips move to warn the person to look behind them.

Another tremor shook the ground, and her head limply fell to the left, giving an excellent view to the action taking place. The person speaking had been the Dark Phoenix himself. He was alive and breathing, now walking fearlessly forward to meet the charging rock beast.

His expression was darker than anything Eira had ever witnessed in him before. He moved with a cool calmness around him, igniting the power within, as causally as if it was merely an accessory than necessity. The black fire pooled at his fingertips and crackled throughout his entire body in powerful, rippling waves.

One hand moved upwards and the other backwards. The Dark Phoenix settled easily into a stance and held it. The creature was stopped by one finger and violently flung backwards with a tilt of the head.

Several gaping holes were cleared through the greenery, squawks from wildlife now voicing their unrest and protest to the sudden change in their homes. A pile of debris was formed behind the creature from the deep furrows in the ground, which had slowed the fall, now serving as a brace. The creature pushed off and rushed forward once more.

This time, the Dark Phoenix stepped aside and caught it about the head. With one arm secure around the neck, he slammed the creature down to the ground. The head was wrenched off with one hand and the rest of it was quick work. Within seconds, all that remained was a heap of stones in all shapes and sizes.

Dusting his hands, the Dark Phoenix circled the pile, drawing the toe of one boot through the ground, to create a visible circle. Then, he rooted through the pile, as if searching for the vital pieces and then threw those as far away as he could.

Once through, he soon returned, his boots stopping inches away from her face before he knelt beside her. His hands were cool and efficient, checking her pulse, unbuttoning her collar and clearing away the debris on her. “Ian?” He whispered. “I need you to retract your energy…I can’t help you with mine, until yours is gone.”

Eira couldn’t answer. The shaking was starting and the tears wouldn’t be far behind. She no longer had any kind of control over her powers, nor of her body, for that matter.

Something fizzled and crackled. The first splinters of pain shot through, registering in the places where it hurt the most. For a moment, the pain was too much to bear, the screams welled and died within her throat as Eira gasped to breathe and then to wish she was dead. A sudden, blissful coolness spread through her as quickly as the pain had come and then her limbs relaxed, now slack.

The ground was colder than the feeling that was steadily trickling through her, slowly, carefully repairing the damage done. Shivers now mixed with the shakes as Eira wished for everything her mind could fathom at that moment. Most of them centered around normality, reality and hearing her name aloud.

The tears fell, finally and freely, as the Dark Phoenix gathered her up in his arms, his energy wrapping protectively around her. He cradled her head close to his neck, his breathing an even, soothing sound. His voice was a murmur as he whispered and mumbled, words she couldn't hear, but a feeling that was familiar.

He was praying.

Another shudder passed through and she didn’t feel him move, didn’t feel him walk. Cold air rushed and snapped about the exposed side of her face, then tickled her neck and hands. The thought that they could have been flying registered for a moment and then the blackness beckoned to her and she faded away.

© Sara Harricharan

6 comments:

J.H. said...

__Hello Sara! Happy late Thanksgiving/early Christmas, and congratulations on finishing or winning, I guess it is, Nanowrimo. Believe it or not, ‘you’ are the one that got me more interested in it, though I’ve never actually participated in one yet. I started reading your writings on faithwriters in 2007. Going to your website I caught some of your Nano excitement and followed your progress on the forums. Now, my biggest interest in Nanowrimo is watching the video blogs on the viddler website. In 2008 the participation was strongest. This year, only 2 people posted regularly. And ever since 2008, if you don’t have a Nano account you can’t search for an author, so I haven’t been following your progress since. “Ya know, you really ought to create an account then,” I can see you replying innocently but with an obvious wink. Well then, I guess I ought.

=/+ In a word, finally! Your story needed this bad. The first meaningful conflict, and did it have meaning; if nothing else, then to introduce a serious dose of Christian spirituality: “He was praying.” Say no more. Your character’s are powerful, but not so powerful that they trust in their powers alone, at least the D.Phe. doesn’t. That line was so well inserted, its point so adequately timed, tears of joy formed in my eyes, Sara. TRUTH! GOD’S TRUTH IN THE FANTASY REALM. I love it!! You better bring more of this, Sara. This scene outweighed in significance all the D.Phe. and Eira meditation scenes so far. I only wanted for it to come earlier, but since this story goes into some 50+ parts I’ll respect your placement of it and reserve that judgment for now.

J.H. said...

- I didn’t get a strong description of the rock creature and that was irritating. In paragraph 2, your key descriptive words were “strange” and “great.” Strange did not give me the impression of “the crazed black eye set in stone” that you all-of-a-sudden described in paragraph 17. So now I’m reworking my image of the rock creature as Eira gets pummeled and then the D.Phe. steps in. Of course he wins, but how did he manage to get a “secure” arm around its neck [par.42]? “Great” gave me the image of a huge stone monster; and furthermore, you said the stone creature had a “giant stone arm” in paragraph 6. Was I wrong to visualize the D.Phe. and Eira as the size of squirrels and the creature the size of a full-grown human? No one else has commented on this installment, so I don’t know if I missed something, but I do know it was very hard picture the D.Phe taking down the creature with his bare hands. Why didn’t he just dark-blast it?

J.H. said...

+ One sentence paragraphs do wonders don’t they? Especially with the way you wrote this action—lyrical, lingering on emotion and surrounding stimuli, almost like poetry. “He was praying” in paragraph 49 was the best. An honorable mention was paragraph 15, “Almost.” This foreshadowed her getting thrown into the tree again, and it also created a sense of tension as Eira hurried to heal herself so she could counter attack.

- In my opinion, that paragraph could have been stronger and more tense if you’d used the same word in the previous paragraph: “…leaning against the very tree that almost killed her.”
“Almost.”

? I’ll end on a question. Why is Eira’s name spelled “Ian” in paragraphs 44 and 54? I suspected you were trying to show how dim her awareness was at that point in the story, but you’re writing in 3rd person so that’s not believable, especially since you already described a dimly aware Eira surrendering to use her powers uncontrollably as she fought the rock creature. What happened there?

Sara Harricharan said...

I am late--so very late in replying to these, I hope you don't mind. Things have just been ridiculous on my end, especially since the semester restarted. ^_^ Hope things are good on your end-and that the new year is treating you well.

I love having short sentences. (though I'm sure I've said that somewhere before, lol) I like the abruptness and choppiness of it--especially when it's realistic. Folks I know will start out speaking sarcastically and end with "It was great, right? NOT!" and the break in the expected word pattern is what leaves me with things like "almost". I'm glad you liked that detail.

Hmm, I hadn't thought of adding it to the previous sentence. That makes a very good point--thanks!

For the question, I was going to have Eira masquerading as Ian (the 'boy' apprentice) when they reached the town, however, since this change in location doesn't happen for much longer, it is kind of wasted as a hint here. The DP was working on getting her to respond to the name, but I sort of scrapped that idea in midpoint and only picked it up later. I think it is a detail I will remove entirely, because it mostly served to confuse me while I wrote.

Sara Harricharan said...

Ah-continuing the second half of the comment. I hadn't actually decided on what the rock creature had been at that point, which is why it was nothing more than literally a blob/chunk of boring rock. I later changed it to be something similar to the idea of a Titan, which means, it would have looked like a giant mecha robot (think something like iron man, hulked out in stone form). The size actually varies, I made that one of the Titan's points, but in the fight scene, you are correct, he's huge--and one of the contrast points I'd intended to use, was that the DP could force him to shrink (or simply attack him head on)to a managable size. The correct size ratio is probably a dog/human, instead of a squirrel. The reason I wanted it to be that way, is because of the way the DP 'diffuses' him, instead of dark-blasting, (and there's an explanation much later in the story to explain why he doesn't use his powers so much) he was literally repaying the creature for what it had done--based on how he found Eira when he came to. I do understand your points though, it is a confusing and difficult scene that I haven't reworked yet. Thank you for your comments on it!

Sara Harricharan said...

I'm answering these out of the wrong order, I think. LOL. But this goes with the "hello Sara" comment, which reminds me. I've been "dubbing" you J.H. for awhile, if you have a preference/name, do let me know. I tend to be careful with names unless otherwise asked. (hence, my nickname of Sara). ^_^

I hope your holidays went well. I had no idea these comments were sooo old. Ack! I am sorry, truly I am! Thank you for the congrats on NaNoWriMo, I'm still working on finishing Blood Library, because it's such a deep story and I really want to put some heart into it.

Wow. I didn't know you followed my FW writings. Since 2007? Double wow. I feel all famous. Thank you so much! ^_^

Did you create the nano acct? I actually had a lot of things happen in November and I was unable to blog my progress as I had dearly wanted to do, I'm thinking I might do it this year, we'll see. I really wanted to, because it was fun, but with the new university and whatnot, there was way too much going on. Maybe this year you can join in the craziness though. :P There's also FAWM and ScripFrenzy coming up on the horizon. If you're following my scarlet blog, I'll have updates of those adventures there soon. :)

I'm glad you did enjoy the first 'fight scene' one reason it did take so long to get to that point, was because I never really did intend for them to leave the forest/jungle, much less to actually have more than snappy dialogue going on between them. I am glad you liked the point of prayer though. I have made it a point to work the powers back to God whenever I start to write this kind of fantasy. I don't want it be something stereotypical and fantastical to be believed. I want it realistic and I want to show their human sides a bit. That was one glimpse of the DP's human side. I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Anyway, take care, I've got homework to tend to--so all the best is whatever it is you are doing this year!
~Sara