Monday, 2 November 2015

Red Feather Adventures: The Bloodied Robe, Chapter 1

So, there's this thing called NaNoWriMo and I promised myself that I would do it. So, each day throughout November I will post one 'Chapter' of this story, set in a High Fantasy world involving Orcs, Dwarfs etc.
bear in mind that this is a very early, rough draft of the story. I will attempt to edit once the whole thing has been finished.

"All aboard for Teaport!"
With a hefty grunt Sally heaved her luggage onto the train just in time. As she struggled to drag her case down the carriage the train started moving, almost throwing her to the floor from the jolting. Grumbling to herself she pushed her long brown hair out of her face and opened the door to the very first compartment she could reach. Despite struggling to maintain her balance she made it inside. Leaning her luggage against the wall she turned and discovered that there were already two people seated in front of her.
"This compartment is taken." Muttered the one on the left, who appeared to be a Dwarf girl.
"Oh don't be so rude Callie, let the poor girl sit down." Replied the other, an Elf woman wearing strange armour.
"Fine. As long as she doesn't disturb my reading." The Dwarf buried her face back inside her book. Sally peered closer and read the title.
Thaumic Relations: An Essay On The Link Between The Divine And The Arcane, by Bartimaeus Starcatcher. Oh hey, I’ve got that one.”
“Excuse me? What would you know about magic?” Callie lowered her book and carefully placed a pair of glasses on the bridge of her nose. Unlike most Dwarfs her features were rather feminine, with brown eyes and mousy brown hair.
“I know quite a lot actually. My name’s Sally and I’m a Red Mage.” Sally proudly puffed out her chest and ran her fingers along the brim of her large red hat, which was the traditional attire of her order.
“Red Mage? I believe the correct term is ‘Amateur’.” Callie lowered her glasses and turned back to her book.
Before Sally could offer a rebuttal the train screeched to a halt, throwing Sally on top of the Elf.
“Sorry. Normally I get someone’s name before molesting them.” Sally said as she delicately extricated herself from her lap.
Don’t worry about it. My name’s Yolanda. I apologise for Callie’s rudeness.”
Callie ignored the glare she was getting from Yolanda and stood up. “Whatever. I’m going to the food carriage.” Without waiting for a reply she left.
“Your friend’s not very, well, friendly.”
“She just takes some time to warm up to people, especially mages from other orders. Apparently it’s rather common among Black Mages to look down on the rest.” Yolanda brushed her blue hair out of her eyes and offered Sally her hand to shake.
Taking the hand Sally smiled a mirthless smile, “Oh you don’t need to tell me. That’s what it’s like being on the bottom rung of magic. You have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good.”
“Don’t put your order down like that, it’s not everyone who can learn multiple types of spells. Come on, I’ll treat you to a meal by way of apology.” Yolanda straightened her chestpiece and left the compartment. Sally followed her and they made their way to the food carriage.
Once they got there Sally ordered herself a chocolate muffin and they sat down as far from Callie as they could.
After twenty minutes of small talk they began to become fidgety and bored.
“Did the conductor announce why exactly the train had stopped?” Sally asked.
“Huh. Now that you mention it, it is rather unusual for a train to be stopped in the countryside for this long without explanation.” Yolanda stood, walked to the window and looked out. When she turned back to Sally her eyes were wide, “Is the engine supposed to be on fire like that?”
With an audible sigh Callie looked up from her book and yelled, “Yes, that’s how they work.”
“I am well aware of how trains work, but isn’t the fire supposed to be on the inside of the engine?”
“Under normal circumstances yes.”
“Oh ok. I only asked because the fire appears to be getting larger. Also, it’s purple.”
“Oh now that’s highly unusual.” Callie shrugged her shoulders and turned back to her book.
Sally looked from one to the other, “Shouldn’t we be a little more worried about the situation?”
“Oh I’m sure the train company have people trained to deal with this kind of thing.” Callie calmly turned the next page.
And that’s when everyone heard the explosion. And the screams.
“Ok, now it’s time for us to be worried.” Callie sighed again. She inserted a bookmark and gently placed her book inside her backpack. “Come on Yolanda, grab your sword and let’s go find out what’s happened.”
As the two girls left Sally checked her rapier and followed. Yolanda smiled reassuringly at her but Callie just rolled her eyes and muttered something about getting in the way. As they got near the front they found a security guard who had been knocked unconscious. Callie leaned down and pulled a small vial out of a pouch attached to her belt. Popping the cap off she waved it under the guard’s nose.
“Smelling salts?”
“Nope, bat guano. I use it in some potions but I’ve found it works quite well for reviving the unconscious.” Callie gave Yolanda a meaningful look.
For her part Yolanda gave a shrug, “What? Who hasn’t had a few too much to drink during their college days?”
“Anyone who actually took their studies seriously. Now be quiet, he’s waking up.” Callie steadied the guard’s head as his eyes opened. He groaned and mumbled something about pastry waffles but Callie slapped him into focus. “Oit, moron! Stop napping and tell me what happened.”
“Wow Callie, with that bedside manner it’s a wonder you never moved into medicine.” Sally could practically hear Yolanda rolling her eyes.
Callie just ignored Yolanda and slapped the guard again.
The guard curled up in a ball as he stuttered a response, “I don’t know! Some nutjobs just attacked the train for no bloody reason! Now will you please stop slapping me?”
“What a brave soldier, truly you are a credit to your entire gender.” Callie shoved the guy away and gathered her robes, “Come on, this idiot’s not going to be much use.”
As the three reached the front they recoiled from the heat of the burning engine. using her sword as leverage Yolanda opened one of the doors and jumped off of the train. Before she could react she got taken out by a small form flying through the air. Poking their heads out Callie and Sally could see Yolanda buried beneath an armoured Gnome woman.
The Gnome clambered to her feet and extended a hand to help Yolanda up, “My apologies fair swordmaiden. I was engaged in glorious battle with some villainous types and I was unable to prevent myself being thrown. If thou art a warrior true then you may join me for this conflict.” The Gnome grinned a wide grin as she retrieved her weapon, a sword that was bigger than she was. With a wink she charged back towards the front of the train. With a confused look the three girls drew their weapons and ran after her.
As they reached the engine itself they found three figures desperately trying to put out the fire. One was most likely human, but he was wearing a black outfit, including a mask that obscured his features. One of the others was a Wolfkin with grey fur. The remaining figure was Gnome-sized but had a pair of large fairy-like wings growing from his back which he was using to hover relatively close to the fire. The Gnome was standing in front of them.
“Come base villains! Let us once again partake in the joys of combat! Thou mayest hath beaten me in the first engagement but thouest hath not truly defeaten me!”
“Listen lady I already told you, we don’t want to fight you! We just wanted to rob the bloody train and be on our way!” The man in black shouted.
“Yeah! If you’d just leave us alone we could put the fire out and be on our bloody way!” The flying one chimed in.
“And it’s your fault this thing’s on fire anyway!” The Wolfkin yelled.
“Falsehoods! T’was thou who started this conflagration!”
“Yeah, but it’s your fault it got this bad! We were about to put it out again when you attacked us!” The man in black spotted the newcomers, “You there, could you lend us a hand? Thanks to this idiot Gnome the fire’s gotten out of control.”
“Ha! Thou truly art touched if you thinketh that these fine fellows would lend aide to a criminal such as you!”
“Oh for crying out loud!” Callie yelled with anger and stepped forward. Her hand glowed with blue light for a moment as she pointed just above the fire. The light spiralled around her hand and shot out from her finger. Just as it reached the spot Callie had pointed to it exploded into a large ball of water which seemed to hang in the air for a moment before dropping onto the train, extinguishing the fire.
Everyone stared dumbfounded at the engine before turning to face Callie.
“If you want something done right, get a mage to do it. Now, are we going to fight or what?” Callie glared at the three men for a moment as her hand began to glow again, this time with an orange light. With a similar gesture as before she flung a fireball at the man in black, but the Wolfkin intercepted it, somehow managing to deflect it with his bare claw.
He growled and leapt forwards, directly at Callie. This time Yolanda intercepted, smacking her triangular shield into his side. He recovered easily, seemingly spinning in midair and regaining his footing. He spun on the spot multiple times, kicking at Yolanda repeatedly.
While they fought the Gnome charged at the man in black but he easily somersaulted over her. Drawing his rapier he sprinted towards Sally and once he was within range he lunged. Sally easily sidestepped the attack only to catch his fist in her stomach. As she collapsed the man spun around and deflected an attack by the Gnome with almost contemptuous ease.
“I would just like you to know that I’m incredibly sorry about all of this, but I have a job to finish and once I’ve made a promise I can’t allow anyone to interfere.”
He caught the Gnome’s swing with one hand and kicked her square in the stomach, sending her flying into the side of the train. He then placed his fingers inside his mouth and whistled.
“Ok team, let’s finish this and get going, we’ve wasted enough time already.”
The Wolfkin’s ears perked up at the sound of the whistling. As Yolanda swung towards him he moved forward and grabbed her around the neck. Using his weight to his advantage he slammed her into the ground and stamped on her chest.
“Leave my friend alone!” Callie yelled. This time both of her hands were glowing with white light. As she made some complicated gestures through the air the light started to crackle like electricity but before she could discharge her spell the remaining foe popped up behind her and whacked her solidly around the head with a cudgel.
As Sally attempted to stand the man in black grabbed her by the shoulder and with a wry smile said, “Once again, I’m very sorry about this.” Before knocking her out with a punch to the face.