Friday, June 25, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 43) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Laury Hubrich @ her pretty blog. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: Ack! Two installments a week is killing me with all the ridiculousness going on right now. It's MUCH shorter than I wanted it to be--and hopefully it explains a lot of the little mysteries blended into this adventure. I had no idea how many things I had to do in June this year, but it seems like my writing schedule is filling up. LOL. Thankfully, it's bringing this story to a close and hopefully just another week will be enough to wrap this all up. This week's installments have covered a significant portion of backstory and explanations for things hinted throughout the series, so don't miss a single installment! This week finally has the DP and Eira opening up more to each other with important questions and strong emotions coming to the surface. Enjoy the read and Happy Weekend! Don't forget to leave a comment, I love the feedback! 

RECAP: On Wednesday, Eira recovers from being stabbed with a weapon crafted from the DP's energy, as a result, she is now a signature apprentice. However, Uncle Garrett seems to have different ideas for his niece and when a strange healer, Chessy, comes to take a look, then things take a twisted turn. Eira tries to escape the nightmare, by unknowingly entering a void where the DP resides. She begs him to let her sleep over for the night, only for her request to be refused--leading up to an argument she won't be able to win.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Book Reviews? (BBT)



Haven't done this in awhile--so busy with life and all those other wonderful things that come with it, lolz. But here we go! I just had to answer this one. ^_^

Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?

Yes! I have a few specific folks with similar tastes in reading to my own, such as Stormi, over at her blog, Books, Movies, Reviews and More! which cover interesting titles and an honest opinion, or a few of my friends over at Shelfari. The more reviews as book has, the more likely I am to give it a chance. If it is a favorite author, however, I'll usually read the book before I read any reviews. Comparisons in book reviews also play a part in the decision when deciding whether to read something or not.

Today, I've finally gotten my hands on the 100 classic books Nintendo game and am happy for the chance to read some old classics I've heard about--but never actually gotten my hands on. Word-of-mouth recommendation and book reviews influenced the purchase and now I can't wait to squeeze in a bit of reading around my busy summer schedule. ^_^

Cheers!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 42) [Wednesday Wanderings]

This week's Wednesday Wanderings is a continuation of the Hunt For The Dark Phoenix serial from last week's Friday Fiction, if you missed an installment, there will be a short recap. Enjoy the read!


Author's Ramblings: Just a few notes for this installment--I'm rushing and trying to get this done on the road, actually, which, probably isn't the best of things, but, here we go! "Hak tum" is a translation of literally "Stand up/be at attention" usually given by a League master to his apprentice. "Carthe" is usually a directional command, with direction to the context in which it's being used, in the DP's case, he wants Eira to sit still and is using his authority in terms of he will not accept excuses. (((*note, I've fixed the spacing and such mentioned earlier, apologies!)))

RECAP: Arriving in Kouraki, Eira and the DP are staying at her Uncle Garrett's vacation home on the station. During the night's dinner show, in which Eira is a participant, her powers run wild causing the dinner hall to be evacuated. She is stopped from her destruction by the DP, who taints her energy with a poisoned javelin of dark energy--straight through the heart.

SAME DAY-KOURAKI-GARRETT OMAHA RESIDENCE, EIRA’S ROOM


“What did he do to you?”

The head hovering over her face cast a welcome shadow from the glaring lights in the room. Eira tried to keep her eyelids open, but it was a losing battle. She couldn’t recall where she was or how she’d gotten there.



Her mouth was dry, her throat was burning, her stomach was queasy and of course, her head was hurting. This was conveyed only through the furrowing of her brows, resulting in a twisted grimace as her mind struggled to work through the puzzles presented to her.



“Eira? Hey, cuz…come on…it’s Lyssa…talk to me girl! I know you’ve gotta be okay…if you aren’t…I think Bryan’s gonna eat me.” Trembling fingers tangled with the limp, cold hand resting atop the bedcovers.



“Don’t touch her, Lyssa!” The hand was slapped away. “And that kind of blathering talk isn’t the least bit useful.”



“Mr. Omaha, please! There are many ways for family and patient interactions to continue, even in this…state. Are you her cousin?”



“Er…yes, ma’am.”



“Ah, I see. Then you’re worried, yes?”



“N-not really.”



“Really? Why not?”



“She’s too…stubborn.” The girl ducked her head. “Doesn’t matter who does what to her, she can’t…she won’t…”



“Ah, I see, but everyone has their limits you know.”



“Hey her hand moved!”



“Did it now…I didn’t even notice…strange. I can’t tell what it is she wants, but I’m almost certain that she could be conscious.”



“Really?” Relief immediately replaced the worried expression. “That’s wonderful, healer. Thank you!”



“There’s nothing wonderful about it if it can’t be proved!” Garrett scowled. “Eirithea Omaha-Durheim!” He thundered. “I-”



“She’s probably thirsty…yelling at her won’t help. Here…drink this, love.”



Something soft moistened the patient’s lips and a cool straw was placed in the corner of her mouth, promising a soothing liquid for the burning within.



“I thought you were supposed to be an expert healer, why aren’t you doing anything for her!”



“Please, Mr. Omaha, I’m trying my best to-”



“Try harder!”



“Mr. Omaha, your presence is extremely disturbing, this sort of procedure requires that I have the quiet and the silence, and there seems to be an issue with-”



Eira coughed.



Immediately the lights dimmed and two shadowy faces now hovered over her. Strange hands smoothed her forehead and patted her shoulders.



Strange hands.



No…got…to…get away!



“H-help.” The word was pushed through her lips, refusing the icy relief offered. The sickening sweetness was all-too familiar. Her singular plea was too faint to be heard further than her pillow.



“She’s awake!”



“What did she say?”



“I couldn’t hear her…hold on…don’t crowd, Mr. Omaha! I need the space. She needs the space, please allow me to do my work!”



“Do it faster!”



“I’m a healer! These things can’t be rushed!” There was a derisive snort as something cold and wet was thumped on the patient’s forehead. “It would be of great help to my initial plan of treatment, if you could tell me what exactly happened to her!”



“I cannot.”



“Then don’t complain about my methods or the amount of time it takes to produce a suitable result!”



“How can it be that important that-”



“The injury isn’t physical!”



“What?”



The woman sighed. “Look, I don’t know how much of what you understand, since as far as I’m concerned, you’re as empty-headed as they come. I have work to do—as a professional and I prefer to handle my clients with the same efficiency and ethics that my firm operates on. This appears to be a family problem of sorts, so I won’t pry, however, I will say this much. Whoever is doing whatever to this child, should stop immediately.”



“If you’re trying to suggest that-”



“I’m not trying to suggest anything! I’m just saying, the stress this child has been under, for now, as far as I can tell, it’s all had to do with her powers in some way or another. Whatever the situation is that brought this about, it has stressed her to the point that the side effects are now affecting her physical body. This is serious! Drastic action should be taken, however, it is not within my jurisdiction to interfere, so I cannot do more than suggest that you listen to me.”



“I’ve been trying to listen, but all you’ve been spouting is pointless and-”



“Mr. Omaha, I do appreciate the trouble and the consideration put into this effort, however, my schedule is already booked and with this kind of attitude, I do not think I will be of much help. I’m sure that your family healer is more than-hey! Ow! Let go of-”



“Uncle!” Lyssa caught hold of his arm, trying to pull him away from the healer. “Don’t! You can’t do this now that-!”



There were two sharp knocks on the bedroom door and all occupants froze.



“Eira? This is Master Phoenix, be you decent apprentice?” There was a shuffle outside the door. “If you are not, you have thirty-seconds between now and when I will open the door. Please attend to it.”

Master Phoenix…! Please…rescue me…



Lyssa scrambled to the opposite side of the room, dragging her uncle with her, the healer pushed back to her seat on beside the nightstand. “Not a word!” She hissed, clenching her hands tightly for the nails to dig into her palms. Pain always helped to chase the fears away and clear her head for coherent thought. She didn’t dare cross the room to undo the lock.



There wasn’t enough time.



The two knocks were repeated and then, the door light hummed green, as the panel slid to the side. Standing in the doorway, sheathed from head to toe in his traditional black cloak, the Dark Phoenix lifted his hooded head to scan the room and its contents. The head drooped, a second later.



Behind him, a nervous Bryan stood in the hallway, a gaggle of female sisters and cousins clustered around him. He started forward, the entourage following at once, until the small bedroom was quite crowded.



“I figured you would have her brought her.” The phoenix spoke, his voice was calm and polite. “Is she awake?” The question was directed to the healer where she sat, pale, in her stood beside the bed.



“I-I…”



“She isn’t quite feeling well.” Lyssa shot a pleading glance at her twin across the bed, Emily.



The girl beside the healer immediately hooked an arm around her shoulder, pulling the healer woman to her feet. “Yes. She is right. You do not look well…please, come with me…your hands are cold, I will find you something warm to drink.” The two started for the doorway, the phoenix turned to watch them.



“Excuse me, healer.” The faintest hint of ice touched his voice. “Did you tend to my apprentice?”



A small squeak was the answer as Emily turned the healer around to face him, her face mirroring a smile, her hand firmly clamped around the healer’s elbow.



“I see.” One hand raised to lower the hood from his head, golden-grey eyes drilling into the woman. “Did you do anything at all?”



“No.” Garrett cleared his throat. “I called her in to examine Eira, but it appears there is nothing she can do to help us, so Lyssa was about to escort her out when-”



“Good.” The phoenix hooked his foot on the edge of the stool and pulled it away from the bed. “It would have been bad…if she had.” He leaned forward, flicking the wet compress away. It landed with a squishy thump on the floor beside the glaring uncle. “Eira?” He thwacked her forehead, lightly. “Hak-tum.”



Her eyes popped open and she jerked upright to a sitting position.



The Dark Phoenix caught her lightly, one hand on her back the other over her mouth. “Open. Chew. Swallow.” He whispered in her ear. “Preferably in that order…then you may stand.”



A single tear trickled down her cheek as she did as ordered. His hands fell away from her body as she moved slowly, carefully to sit on the edge of the bed, before standing to her feet. Her head bowed, shoulders slumped,



“Eira!” Lyssa exclaimed, horrified. “You should at least put on a bathrobe!” She bustled around the bed, grabbing for the item at the foot of the bed, attempting to cover the satiny chemise and pantaloons. “It’s indecent for you-”



Eira shied away from the small, white hands. She stopped when her feet stepped on standard-issue boots.

“M-master Phoenix?” He was calmly removing his gloves and the faintest wisps of black energy could be seen swarming around his figure.



“Eira-!” Bryan started forward.



“It’s…fine.” Eira managed, feeling some degree of relief in knowing the darkened man was nearby. “He’s fine…the rest of you…” She coughed. More than fine. “Get out.”



“As if!” Garrett drew himself up, moving to stand beside Lyssa and snatching the garment from her outstretched hands. “If you choose to trust him, niece, that is your own choice, however as your uncle, I must insist on some degree of modesty for-”



“Carthe.” The phoenix murmured, guiding her to the stool and spinning it for her to face him. He tipped her chin upwards, staring deeply into her eyes.



The seriousness of the action seemed to be enough to silence all protests for the moment, for no one moved in the following moments.



Straightening, he tipped her head further back, moving to stand behind her, one hand on her neck, one over her face. He closed her eyelids, gently and his thumb caressed one cheek.



“How does it feel?”



A gasp came from the female portion of the audience.



“How dare you-!” Lyssa sputtered, caught only by Bryan’s hands on her shoulders, holding her in place.

“Bryan-!”


“Shh!” He ducked his head, a faint coloring on his face, but his hands serious in keeping his cousin at his side.



She twisted for a moment and then stopped. Her next outcry was muffled by Bryan’s hand as she witnessed the next strange actions.


The phoenix had drawn something from the folds of his cloak and stuck it in Eira’s mouth.

“Mm?” Eira’s eyes popped open, one hand moving upwards to investigate.

Bloque. 

The answer came to her head. She almost smiled.

Mint-flavored…thank you…

How are you feeling?

Better…now that you’re here…

Before then…?

Awful.

Good.

WHAT?

Reactions, apprentice…work on your reactions…

mmm….

How are you feeling now?

Eye’s better. Still aches. Lip tingles…cheek…not so bad. You make a good ice pack.

The phoenix gave a polite cough. “…I see.”

“Ow…dat swtill hwurts!” Eira twitched, speaking around the bloque in her mouth.

“I guessed as much.” He tapped her shoulder.

She winced, reaching back to push the satiny straps away to expose her bare shoulder, with a jagged angry slash of red from the base of her neck, extending further down.

A hiss came from Bryan’s corner as he released Lyssa. “Eira, where did you get that!”

Eira winced in answer as expert fingers danced over the wound, coaxing the healing energy within her body to respond.

“Eira-!” Her uncle had now turned rather pale. “That is a serious injury…how did you acquire it?”

The Dark Phoenix sighed, pausing in mid-stroke, his fingers forming a triangle over the worst gouge of the uneven slash. “I would appreciate it-” The darkness touched his voice, lending a deeper rasp. “-if you would all either leave or be quiet. I cannot tolerate interruptions under these circumstances. If neither of you have noticed this until now, then it is safe to assume, with such information, that appearances are deceiving in that these wounds are not that serious.” He frowned. “She has suffered worse before.”

“Worse!” Bryan exploded. “How could you let that happen to her-!” He lunged forward.

There was the sound of energy crackling, followed by a moan and then a thud.

Eira flinched, pulling away from the hand on her shoulder to see. The bloque fell to her lap as she coughed.
“Bryan!”

“Interruptions.” The phoenix scowled. “Out! The entire lot of you!”

The girls darted out at once, Lyssa and a few of the older ones pausing to support Bryan between them. A few shaky glares were sent in his direction, but no other protest was offered.

“Mr. Omaha?” The Dark Phoenix forced the name between his lips. “That includes you.”

“I am not leaving my niece in your-”

“It was my own fault…I fell down.” Eira smirked. “Clumsy me…as always.” The smile wavered. “Get out!”

*******

Several tense minutes later, the Dark Phoenix emerged from the room, the darkened energy still swirling thickly around him as the door slid shut behind him. His audience remained, lining the hallway, a few reinforcements found, a mixture of various expressions scattered about their faces.

“Well?” Garrett demanded. “I believe you owe us an-”

“She is sleeping now and I ask that no one disturb her until morning. It is a very deep healing trance and should not be broken, interruptions will result in scarring.” He frowned. “And it is as she said…she did fall.”
“How does falling imply-!”

“She was in a street brawl.” The phoenix said, lightly. “And she fell. That was a lucky blow, she recovered quite nicely, however the weapon used to cause such an injury leaves marks even to the energy self. It requires more than a single-session healing.”

“When did this happen?”

“You’re quite protective of her, aren’t you, Mr. Omaha?”

“She is my niece.”

“And you have no children of your own.” The phoenix offered a faint smile. “I suggest you ask her the answer to that question yourself. I did secure her permission before mentioning the nature and circumstances of her injury and as such, cannot reveal any more.” He turned his head to the left. “It seems you have company.”

Running footsteps gave way to a panting messenger, who paused to rest, leaning forward on her haunches.

“Uncle Garrett!” She gasped out. “We have another League guest, she says she wants to speak to him!” She pointed towards the dark figure. “And she won’t leave!”

The Dark Phoenix sighed. “Ah. That must be Sorora.” He drew his hood up once more. “I don’t feel like handling her tonight…tell her I’ll see her tomorrow.” He waved a hand dismissively. “Tell her I said that and she shouldn’t take it out on you. I’m tired, so excuse me if I retire for the night.” He moved the few short steps to the neighboring room and stepped inside as the door slid open, without even asking for verification.

Garrett frowned.

******

“Did she leave?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you, Jules.” Garrett frowned. “I’d like you to look into a few more other matters for me.”

“ah, the young lady’s injuries?”

“Perceptive.” The man allowed. “Yes. I want to know when and where and by whom.” One hand curled into a fist. “And I want to know within the hour, or you can expect…” His voice trailed off, for Jules had already left.

Garrett smiled.

That was good. That was very good.

Now, about that League guest…if the Dark Phoenix didn’t want it around, then it was something he would definitely be keeping close.

*****

“Chessy?” Garrett shifted impatiently outside of Eira’s bedroom. The family healer regarded him with something akin to amusement. “What took you so long?”

“Ah, now, Garrett, don’t tell me you tried hiring one of those knockets as a temp?” Chessy clicked her tongue in mock sadness. “You’ve wounded me, boss.” Her head rolled to the side with an audible crack. “Now then, let’s have a look at the little kitten, shall we?”

Garrett scowled, overriding the security with his own codes and stepping into the room behind the healer. It slid shut behind them, with assurance to keep all others out. The frown from earlier registered as he recalled how the phoenix had entered the room.

There had been no interaction with the security system…the same as when he’d entered his own room.

“Garrett!” Chessy smacked his head neatly from behind, waving her wide-robed arm in front of his face. “If you aren’t going to pay attention and make yourself useful, then get out! I haven’t the use for decorative ornaments!” She sniffed. “And you’re not much to look at it, so excuse me!”

The faintest stirrings of his true temper began to swirl in the farthest pit of his stomach as Garrett forced a smile. Now he remembered why he’d requested a temp, working with this thick-headed woman had always been a source of annoyance. “I do not have time to put up with your vanities and-”

“I’m a woman, excuse me, but I think I’m entitled to whatever vanities I happen to possess.” Chessy yawned. “Then again, that sounded rather strange, didn’t it?” She cackled. “Never mind, just keep back and don’t interrupt…” She squinted. “Looks like the kitten got herself a bodyguard.”

“That old bird?”

Chessy snorted. “I wouldn’t call a phoenix an old bird, but if you want to take on all that bad luck, go ahead. I’ve got plenty of my own as it is, don’t need more, thank you.” White-purple flame exploded out of her hands and mouth, directed to the sleeping girl on the bed. “If you’ll excuse me.” Her voice was metallic, as she moved forward, stiffly, to spray the flames entirely over the body.

Garrett shifted, moving back to stand near the door. He was thankful for the fact that the room was soundproofed. If Eira awoke, there was sure to be a loud fuss and he could do without the complications.
It took a minute before the flames died down and Chessy stood to the side, scowling, arms crossed over her chest. “Well, she’s got herself one-” She swallowed the word. “-of a bodyguard.”

“That’s not what I want to hear.”

“I don’t care what you want to hear! She’s wired up, but I don’t know what’s protecting her.”

“A Lyrith.” Garrett scowled. “Most likely Rory.”

“Rory?” Chessy stared at him. “You’re kidding! Since when is he her pet?”

“Since she played him for it and won.”

“What?”

“It’s a game to get a Lyrith beneath you, whoever can play, has an equal opportunity. She saw one and took it.”

“But I don’t sense or see him anywhere that-”

“He’s in that chain ‘round her neck…and he’s pretty far out. I’d wager she’s attempting to hide him.”

“Hide him?” Chessy scoffed. “What for? Something like that is all she’s been waiting for and now…unless he’s lost something or the other.”

“You didn’t sense him either, yes?”

“I already said that.” She scratched her head. “I think.”

“Not in so many words, but I assumed.” Garrett returned to the bedside, pulling the covers apart and then tugging at the buttoned collar to reveal the gleaming necklace. “I don’t see a mark of ownership, which means she has no idea of what he can really do and that he isn’t really hers.”

“Then call him back to you.”

“Ah, if games were only that simple, my dear Chessy.” Garrett yawned. “Just finish up the rest of the tests, I want to know if she’s improved, what she’s been up to and how her energies are.”

“Did you leech her already?”

“Naturally.”

“And…?”

Stupid woman. “And it was interrupted!”

“Ah, I thought so.”

“Chessy…!”

“It was just an observation, I don’t remember the estate being this low powered before, I figured the kitten had been holding out on you, didn’t know she’d been out playing. Looks like she tired herself out.”

“It was that meddling bird!”

“Really? Imagine that, now I’m dying to see him. I heard he’s quite the looker.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“He could be charmed.”

“I don’t care!”

“Shh, you’ll wake the little kitten.”

“I don’t care about that either. If she wakes, then it’s easier to pry the answers out, now isn’t it?”

“Ah, but that’s my job, love…not yours. Why don’t you go-ah, look, they’re calling you! Isn’t that lovely of them!”

Garrett scowled at the communicator snapped to his waist. It hadn’t even buzzed, but he knew better than to contradict Chessy’s predictions, she was always annoyingly right. A moment later it buzzed and he answered it. His foul mood climbed closer to the surface as he angrily switched it off.

“Bad news?” Chessy asked, cheerfully, taking out various krystal tools from her satchel.

“Starting with those already? I thought you liked to save the blades for last.”

“Well, I’m in a bit of a hurry, the Vanderoone cooking marathon is showing in an hour and I don’t want to miss any of it at all-”

“I don’t care what for. Hurry. Use whatever means you feel are necessary.” He scowled. “But I want her unmarked, understood?”

“Naturally. Don’t I always do it that way?”

“I have business to tend to. I expect results when I return.”

“And so you shall have them.” Chessy’s smile upped a few watts. “Which reminds me, she had something in the corner of her mind about a little brat named Grena...familiar to you?"

"Grena? What about her?"

"Ah, just a bit of information I'm sure you'd love to know..." Chessy waggled her fingers. "I'll tell you when you get back. Happy business.”

******

The reaction was too great to temper.

Eira sucked in the feelings of regret and flung them out as hard as she could. She’d been semi-conscious since her master’s absence, but she’d never expected her uncle to come straight back with Chessy.

The tremors and shakes were threatening to spill out and it took more willpower to keep them tightly stored within. Chessy loved to exploit weaknesses for her own enjoyment, she knew how to use them in ways to leave the deepest scars.

I won’t give her that chance again! I’ve got to get out of here…before Uncle comes back…and before she touches me with those…I hate knives. I hate pointy things….I hate dying. I can’t die. I don’t want to die!

There was a solid thud into the opposite wall and Eira’s eyes flew open. She drew heavily on her own stores of energy, relieved when they came quickly to her, fueling her body with what it needed to function normally for the next few minutes.

Chessy lay slumped on the floor where the energy had thrown her and Eira moved unsteadily to her feet. She couldn’t stay in the room and it would take too much to keep people out of it all night long.

The shaking began to start, from the twitching of her toes, working upwards.

No. No…focus. I can do this…it’s just…a nightmare. Yeah. Think of it like a nightmare.

Eira fumbled under her pillow and drew out the knife her master had thoughtfully returned yet again. He’d done with an expression that reminded her of his last words from the time before.

Great. I’m in more trouble already and it still isn’t my own fault.

Drawing it from the sheath, she pulled lightly again on her powers to walk steadily to the wall and the blank space between her dresser and the refresher. The reality of carrying the thing she despised left in the moment Chessy stirred.

Eira threw herself at the wall, hurriedly tracing a jagged circle with the knife.

Please let this work, please let this work!

Closing her eyes, she threw herself towards it.

******

The Dark Phoenix had just finished his nightly meditations when he felt the gentle pull to his left, of someone entering his private space. It was accompanied by a signature he could easily recognize and for this reason, he didn’t bother to double check when ‘it’ tumbled out on the floor in front of him.

“Nightmare, apprentice?” He inquired, politely, slowly unfolding his feet and standing up from the bed. He was dressed in a loose robe and baggy nightpants, a golden emblem of a phoenix emblazoned on the left sleeve.

The huddled mess crumpled before him was a quivering bundle of tangled hair, stale tears and complete fear, with energy sparking off of her in irrational waves.

“Ah, the real kind.” He knelt beside her, prying the knife from her clenched fingers and tucking it into the sheath, before placing it on the floor beside them. “Was something the matter? What is it you require?”

There was no answer.

She let him help her up and sat obediently on the chair directed, holding her face perfectly still as he dampened a cloth and methodically wiped her face, again touching the points of her eyes, lip and cheek, to further speed the earlier healing.

There were footsteps heard in the hallway and shouting, followed by the sounds gradually growing quieter as the bedroom darkened considerably. The phoenix gave a sigh of relief. “So noisy.” He murmured, returning to the bed where he began to pack up his books and writing materials into his knapsack. “The sooner you feel like talking, Eira…” He set the pack on the floor by the nightstand and moved around her to reach through the blank spot in the wall where she’d come.

Her knapsack was thrown to the floor in front of her. She blinked. He nudged it closer with his foot. She didn’t budge.

He sighed, rummaging through it for a moment and pulled out a hairbrush. With careful, long strokes, he began brushing her hair, eventually twisting the strands into something resembling a braid.

Eira found her voice as he dropped the hairbrush in her lap. “Where’d you learn to do that?”

He shrugged. “Sisters…and my hair wasn't always this short.”

An awkward moment of silence refilled the room.

“Eira?” He sat on the edge of the bed, head tilted down to eye level. “I really do hate for this to be the way it is going to sound, but if you have something that requires my assistance or intervention, I would appreciate it if you would kindly tell me what it is while I am awake.” The head tilted towards the plump pillow at the head of the bed. “It’s been a very long day and I am extremely tired.” The golden-grey eyes narrowed. “I was hoping to get some sleep tonight.”

The blush crept up the corner of her neck. “I-I’m sorry…I didn’t mean…to disturb you.” The hairbrush was clenched tightly in one hand, her lips moving for a moment, but no more sound coming out.

The phoenix sighed, he crossed the room to stand beside the dresser and rummaged through the top drawer for something. The hairbrush clattered to the ground as Eira through herself forward, grabbing tightly and refusing to let go.

“Eira…?” He tried to pull away from her arms. “What’s-”

“Please let me sleep here tonight…I’ll sleep on the floor…in the corner. Just for one night. I won’t be any trouble. I won’t bother you at all, I swear. I don’t feel safe anywhere else and I’m really, really-”

“Eira!” He twisted around, catching her hands in his. “Are you unwell?”

“No!” The panic was resurfacing, dredging up the reality of her complete helplessness. “Please…just this once!”

“No.” He said, simply.

“No? W-why not? I-”

“Three reasons come directly to mind. One, it isn’t proper-”

“No one cares about-”

“Two, I refuse to be an excuse in whatever it is that you are running away from. I am not a shield to be used at whim for whenever you assume things are too difficult for you to-”

“Please!” The tears began to come again and this time, the shaking was set free. Her body began to tremble, her legs giving way beneath her. “I’ll do anything! I can’t go back there…just take me away from here…everywhere. I’ll do whatever it is you want me to do! I won’t complain about meditations. I won’t be such a brat and I’ll tell you anything you want to know about-”

“No.” He sighed. “Thirdly, there is absolutely nothing you could do or offer me at this point to change my mind.”

The torturous expression stretched across her face seemed to crack, giving way to a child-like expression of vulnerability. She let go of his hands, taking a step backwards, her hesitation and caution returning with her senses. “I-I see.” She hiccupped. “I-I’m sorry…I’m really sorry. I guess I’m just too…” A short bark of laughter came out. “I’m not good for anything but apologizing…and I can’t even do that right.” She turned away, shuffling to where the knife on the floor lay beside her knapsack. “I’m sorry to bother you. I…I won’t do it again.” Her fingers closed deliberately over the knife as she began to draw it from the sheath.

“It doesn’t work that way.” His shadow fell over her figure. “If that’s what I think you’re doing.”

“What?”

“The return trip.” He sighed. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Her shoulders stiffened. “Then what do I have to do?” Her head lifted. “If it’s not too much trouble to ask.”

“This isn’t the bedroom next to yours in your uncle’s house.” The phoenix settled comfortably on the bed, in a cross-legged position. “But you’re welcome to take a guess at where it is, if you like.”

“I don’t.”

“Put the knife away…it’s useless in here.” He stifled a yawn. “You’re inside one of my personal voids.”

“A…void?”

“Patches between time and space that can be accessed by those with tremendous power to shift illusions, dimensions or travel. My gift is illusions, so I have these…places, at my disposal.”

“Why?” Her grip on the knife tightened.

“Because Kouraki is quite far from Vanderoone and though it is not where I currently stay, it is too far away…for the sake of safety, I need to be…here.”

“How do I get out?”

“Eira.”

“How do I get out?”

“It isn’t easy.”

“I don’t care. Just tell me what to do and-”

“You’re not listening to me.”

“How do I get out, you stupid-!”

The end of the sentence was muffled with a squeak. The inner glow within the room faded away to blackness.

“Do not…annoy me, apprentice.” The formality touched his voice. I do not have the patience for it today.”

©

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 41) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the wonderfully talented Hoomi (Rick H.) over @ his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Click here to read and share more great fiction and poetry!

Author's Ramblings: Well, having to churn out two installments for this week has definitely turned up the pressure, so hopefully this short installment isn't too much of a disappointment. If you missed the post for Wednesday Wanderings, it was intallment #40 in this serial--please be sure to check it out, I can't fit everything in the recap! For this week, I wasn't able to flesh out all the characters as nicely as I'd hoped, but the story is of Eira and the Dark Phoenix, so that element is coming along quite nicely. There a bit of scene jumping again, as the day spent with Eira's uncle is mostly spent with the master and apprentice in different places, so hopefully that explains just a little bit. Now, since I have a hundred billion other things that I absolutely must do in addition to wrapping up my ramblings--lolz--happy reading and have a great weekend! Don't forget to leave a comment--I love the feedback! ^_^ 

RECAP: On Wednesday,  A reluctant niece and League Master are confronted on the steps of an official League building, where the foursome have arrived in Kouraki. Deene is dispatched to see Uleah to her final destination as a messenger girl, while Eira and the DP take care of official business, where Eira must also take her basic exams. The DP seems uneasy in the city and Eira struggles with her own sense of paranoia as they leave the building to walk into a new surprise. Our heroes were then invited to the home of Eira's uncle, Garrett Omaha, where they are now. 

((and because I can't resist...a subtitle))
HUNT FOR THE DARK PHOENIX : A DEADLY DINNER SHOW

“So,” The Dark Phoenix began. “Would you mind telling me exactly why we’re spending the night at your uncle’s if all you wanted was lunch or dinner?”

“Not or, and. I want lunch and dinner.” Eira bit her lip as they stood outside in the hallway, in front of their respective guest rooms. “And it’s not like I planned for this to happen!”

“I had no idea you were so attached to your uncle.”

“A-attached?” Eira stammered, a nervous laugh escaped as she rubbed her neck. “I wouldn’t know about that. I just, I mean…it was complicated. I couldn’t…really, hey, he invited us for…I mean, I couldn’t be impolite and it’s been…weeks…in the jungle and away from civilization and…I-I’m sorry. Really sorry. I didn’t mean for things to turn out like this, I was just…you know. Hungry. Yeah. That’s it. I was hungry and that’s the most-”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 40) [Wednesday Wanderings]

Author's Ramblings: In order to keep on schedule with the finishing up this serial, an installment will be posted today for "Hunt For The Dark Phoenix" for Wednesday Wanderings. It is significantly shorter than a regular installment, but please enjoy just the same! It will feature a brief glimpse into a few other members within The League, as well as the DP's counterpart to balance out his negative energy, the White Phoenix, Sorora. This installment takes place in the capital city of Kouraki, similar to a modern version of ancient Greece. Happy reading! 

RECAP: After leaving Pietrasaan with a strange messenger girl, the DP transports the unlikely group to the capital city of Kouraki to take care of official business. During this time, Eira is expected to take her official exams to qualify as a League apprentice, since her records are missing from the main archives as a graduate of basic training.

When the warp opened up, the foursome stepped out into a bustling city central. The streets were paved with purple shastar and various people hurried about their business, while vendors lined the street sides.

“Welcome to Kouraki.” The Dark Phoenix turned, forced smile on his face. “Deene? This lovely young…lady, is from these parts. I am assuming she had a message to deliver here, as her signature traces back, please accompany her to the final destination, when you are finished, you may report to me.”

Deene grinned. “Waltzing about the city with a pretty face…I think I can managed…Uleah?” He held out his arm. “Shall we?”

The messenger girl hesitated. “How did you know…I mean, why did you…”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 39) [Friday Fiction]

Hello dear readers, writers and bloggers! I have the wonderful privilege of hosting Friday Fiction this week! Yay! All you have to do is enter your name and link to your blog post in the McLinky widget below. Don't forget to read and comment--every writer treasures the feedback!



Author's Ramblings: I'm cutting it pretty close here in terms of wrapping up this serial. This week has been another hectic passage of time, with all the "krazy-ness" going on at my end. I've decided that to wrap up this particular serial, I'll probably have some "half-installments" posted on Wednesdays, to keep from cutting the story short--and to keep it on schedule, so if you turn up next week and find yourself confused--you've probably missed the Wednesday post. ^_^ Clear as mud? I hope not--lolz. I have decided on an idea for the next serial, so hopefully, it won't take too long to get the DP and Eira's episodes all wrapped up. I've continued a bit in the first person POV for Eira--picking up directly from where I left off last week and scene jumping again through to Day 4 as they leave Pietrasaan. Thank you to everyone who has kept up--and even those who haven't--ROFL--but have taken the time to comment and let me know what you think. 39 weeks of Dark Phoenix will be drawing to a close soon--and I'm happy to have shared it with you! Have a great weekend and happy reading!


RECAP: Last week, Eira managed to get into a street brawl spanning two city blocks in Pietrasaan with Nimbus's unruly blacksmith apprentice. On top of that, She rescued the Lyrith Rory, from the Rangana Queen's prison tower and engaged in a battle of power and wills with a rogue storm child-Aois, resulting in the death of the storm child. Due to her actions and attitude, the DP is reluctantly summoned from his watery bliss beneath the city to reprimand her. The punishment prescribed is an interrogation where she absolutely cannot lie. 

It did hurt. Far worse than I’d ever imagined it.

It felt like he’d turned me inside out and tortured what was left—slowly enough to cause the most painful result. He made me tell him everything. Everything that he wanted to know. I couldn’t lie. I couldn’t even skip questions.

He asked everything. Things about my family. Things about my past. Things about memories I thought I’d forgotten. The answers I gave were so mechanical after awhile, it all blurred together, I couldn’t even tell whether I was speaking coherently or not.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hunt For The Dark Phoenix (part 38) [Friday Fiction]

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the wonderful Vonnie Blake over @ her blog, My Back Door. Click here to read and share more great fiction!


Author's Ramblings: Yay! I've finished! At nearly 3AM...lolz. My apologies! It's been another crazy week and I didn't get to start working on this until the afternoon...i.e. 8 in the afternoon between a half-million other things. I've tried to keep the installment short (and the timeline moving along) so you'll find this week's bit to be scene jumping and choc-full of dialogue. Thank you for the wonderful comments last week--I'm glad everyone is enjoying the story. Because of that, I've decided to give Eira a shot at a first person POV, so let me know what you think. I haven't had a chance to change the poll yet, so no hints towards the new series yet. Let's wrap this one up first, k? I've given Eira a few chances to grow up and also thrown in a bit of darkness, which leans towards the redemption theme I've been hoping for since the start of this story. Anyway, I don't want to bore you with my ramblings, so please read and comment. I love hearing feedback. Happy reading and have a great weekend!

RECAP: Eira and the DP are spending their 3rd day in Pietrasaan, where the Rangana Queen Basanti is occupied with her Lyrith prisoner, Rory. and the elemental Casper Nimbus is crafting a new weapons arsenal for the DP. Eira's powers have been determined, she is categorized as a summoner. 

“A package? Mine?” Eira pounced on the black cloth bundle in the middle of the eating table. “When did it come? Is Master Phoenix back? Did he bring everything? Is this the only one?”

Nimbus chuckled from his corner over the workbench. “Which one of those do you want me to answer?”

“Hmmm? All of them.” Eira murmured, absently, folding the cloth duffel and beginning to arrange her shopping bounty along the edge of the table. “He got everything!”

“…indeed.” Nimbus came to stand beside her, wiping his hands on the heavy blacksmith’s apron. “and even a few you didn’t request I see.”