Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Study of Six (Friday Fiction)

Hi everyone! I've the pleasure of hosting Friday Fiction this week. Feel free to jump in and join the fun. Just add your link to the gadget below. You don't have to have your own blog, as long as you have a story to share and a comment section, join us by linking up below!

Author's Ramblings: This week's assigned writing exercise was to describe six characters through dialogue or to at least craft six different personalities in under 1000 words. This is my attempt to do so, I tried to smooth the ending a touch so it would read more like a story. It covers six friends on the same journey for different reasons and that's about as far as I got with it. I think it has some potential, perhaps for this year's NaNo? Enjoy the read and thanks for stopping by!

“I don’t know, there’s something off about her.” Ken shrugged, twirling his broadsword experimentally. “There’s only so much madness the human mind can take.” 

“She isn’t entirely human.” Charles reminded him. “She’s half that and half something else. Her pain tolerance is on another level.”

“I don’t think that’s anything to brag about.” Iola chewed one plump pink lip, worrying it slightly between her oversized teeth. “I mean, she’s awfully small.”

“Size’s got nothing to do with it.” Terran sighed. “Can we please talk about something else?”

“Why? Afraid she’s stronger than you?” Ken teased. “The great King’s Champion is afraid of a living Ko’ial artifact?”

I found this lovely shot through Google Images. Thought it fit.
“She’s the most powerful artifact in existence, the fact that she’s in a half-human form only adds to it. I would be a foolish Knight, if I did not consider myself to be-”

“Oh good grief, make him shut up, Charles!” Iola pouted. “He’s talking all formal again. It took me, like, forever, to get him to stop blathering on in his whole typical medieval-esque type-”

“It isn’t like your speech is any better.” Charles sighed. “This quest is all wrong.”

“It could be worse.” Ken grinned, offering a hearty slap to the back. “Think about it, we made it out of that pit unscathed.”

“Speak for yourself.” Marielle growled, the first words the empath had dared to speak since they’d left the cursed city behind them. “exactly what could be worse?” She winced, gripping her head. “Never mind, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

“Mari?” Iola leaned backwards, almost stumbling into the armored knight. “Ow! Terran, don’t just, ow, that hurt.”

“Iola?” Marielle frowned. “I thought you said you were fine.”

“It’s just a scratch.” The bubbly blonde rolled her eyes. “A teensy scratch. Everyone else had way bigger injuries than me, they were more important.”

“You’re all important!” Marielle roared. “Sit down right there. Terran! Charles!”

The rag-tag troupe froze.

A wave of darkened, raw energy rippled up the hill as the empath stomped over to tend to the surprised girl. “That was a cursed city.” Marielle spoke through her teeth, her dark eyes flashing. “Everything down there was cursed, you have no idea what could’ve happened to you with even the slightest of-”

“But the artifact got a nosebleed and no one paid any-”

“That was her own doing.” Marielle retorted. “Terran, hold her still. Good heavens, child, can’t you stay still?”

“You’re not that much older than me and I can too!” Iola huffed. “Ow. Terran!”

“Terran’s barely touching you.” Ken observed, standing over the trio. “Charles?”

“Her name’s Suley, she’s not just an artifact. She has feelings.”

“Right, right.” Iola pouted. “Suley the artifact has feelings. I get it already!”

“I highly doubt that.” Marielle muttered, beginning to bandage a large bruise on the girl’s shoulder, having used her healing energy to negate the effects of any possible curses. “You’ll have to drink antidotes when we camp tonight.” She said, at last, tying off the bandage.

“What? But how come none of the others-?”

“The others were tended to immediately. I was able to handle it. Your wound—it had time for something to sink into your system. I can’t be sure that I’ve got everything.”

“Can’t be sure? What kind of empath are you?”

“A very talented one.” Suley’s soft voice caught their ears as the petite girl finally came into view. “I almost lost you all.” Her smile was heartbreaking. “I’m so glad you stopped for a rest. I’m exhausted.”

“We didn’t stop for a rest.” Terran frowned. “In fact-”

“Iola forgot she hurt her shoulder.” Ken flashed a grin. “We stopped so Marielle could help her. You okay, kid?”

The curly head of pale lilac hair bobbed quickly in answer. “Yup-yup.” She clapped her hands together. “I got it.”

“She really acts like a kid.” Iola swallowed. “That’s so weird.”

“She can hear you.” Charles snapped. “Would it kill you be nice?”

“Maybe!” Iola stuck her tongue out. Terran released her, hauling her up to her feet with one strong hand. “Ow. Thanks.” She pushed him away, standing unsteadily for a moment. “Whoa—what’d you do to me, Mari?”

“What’s the matter with, Iola?” Charles appeared over her shoulder, his worry showing on his face. “Marielle?”

“I didn’t do anything to her.” The empath frowned. “Surely there wasn’t something that could incubate so quickly and-”

“Incubate?” Ken’s eyes grew round.

Terran growled low in his throat. “What kind of thing are we talking about?”

“Something very bad.” Suley’s sweet voice cut in. “Something very, very bad.” Her thin body jerked and twisted, convulsing before it flopped face-first to the ground.

“Suley?” Charles started towards her as Iola began to move, suddenly clawing at her throat. “Iola!”

“Ahhh, get it off me! Get it away from me!” Iola shrieked, throwing her head back for one long, loud, bloodcurdling scream. Her blue eyes searched wildly, catching the eye of their unofficial leader. She tried to speak, gasping, reaching. “Mamaneh!” She choked out. “Mamaneh!”  

Charles felt the blood in his body turn to ice, the first touch of his gift drawing him back to the present. “Alzeki Blizzard!” He screamed out the attack, throwing a thick, deliberate coating of ice over his entire team.

“Mamaneh?” Suley’s whisper reached his ears.

He crumpled to his knees beside her, hands stretching tentatively towards the prone boedy. “Suley-!”

“Told you.” She whispered. “Told you they would find me.”

“M-maybe.” He settled for holding her hand. Her hand was colder than his ice. “Maybe they did find us, but that doesn’t mean we have to give in. I promised I’d protect you. I promised I’d protect this world, that I’d help everyone. I’m not going to give up.”

“Mamaneh’s—curse.” Suley breathed. “It’s a bad one.”

“Bad one?” Charles bit his lip, turning back to his frozen comrades. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d had to freeze them and he had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last, but there was something just wrong about it this time. Something was wrong enough that it screamed at his very soul as he placed a careful hand over Suley’s face.

So trusting. Too trusting.

Three middle fingers rested on her forehead, his thumb on her right cheekbone, his pinky on her left. He pressed, gently, applying the ice in a thin sheet, watching as her eyes lost the light and her body succumbed to the ice.

The silence filled his ears until Charles couldn’t take it anymore. “I failed alright!” He shouted, jerking to his feet, hands fisted at his sides. “Are you happy now? You were right! I couldn’t save them all and right now, I can’t even save them!”

A pale golden light slowly formed, taking on a feminine shape. The shining figure breathed a warm sigh into the chilled air. “Charles.” She intoned. “Dear, dear, Charles, I did warn you.”

“I couldn’t just let them die!”

“You can’t save everyone.”

“No, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try!”

© Sara Harricharan


Yvonne Blake said...

Interesting! Yes, that would make a good NaNo story. (I need to get thinking of what I want to do this year.)