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NaNoWriMo Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Bright sun bathed the clearing, highlighting the buildings of a small village surrounded by trees. There was a quiet tension in the people, a feeling of unknown dread. The previous day had been interrupted by a man from the neighbouring tribe coming and trying to intimidate them into... something. The man was less than clear, ranting and then cast a spell trying to harm one of the tribe' hunters. their wise man had stepped in then and defeated the man, driving him from their area. Unease lingered though, lowering voices to a tense whisper

A detonation of light and sound smashed into the clearing, the screams of the people here faint over the roar of shifting water. Damek stared up seeing in the gaps between the trees the sky afire with coloured light. The sound faded and lights in the sky dimmed but did not disappear. The tribe was in chaos, several people had fainted and one of the elders had died, the shaman said his heart had stopped.

Though naked panic soon faded fear reigned, as the tribe milled around in confusion and fear. None of the normal activities of the tribe were being done, except for a young man on the edge of the tree line.

“Damek do you know what is going on?” An older man spoke to him, a family resemblance between them clear. Damek looked at his father for a long moment, then turned back to his work.

“Why do you think I would have a better idea than anyone else,” he said in a quiet voice.

“I hoped...” Damek knew what is father had hoped. The shaman did not like Damek's father, so much so when as a boy he had shown signs of power the shaman had said there was nothing there. That he had lied was evident to Damek's family, but they couldn't contradict the shaman on this, so they did what they could to help Damek control and hide his abilities. So maybe his father had a point in asking him. Damek closed his eyes and tried to feel outwards with his power. He could feel a heaviness in the air and a faint trembling in the ground. He had felt an earth tremor once and it felt a bit like that, but the air was thick with something, Damek did not know what but he felt afraid.

“The ground is shaking,” he said to his father, “I feel something, but I do not know what.”

This did not really seem to satisfy his father, but he nodded and left Damek with the plants.

The day passed very slowly and by the time the sun had begun to drop low in the sky, much of the fear had faded, at least somewhat. Damek stayed with his plants, not wanting to speak with others in the tribe, but he jerked his head up and around when shouts broke out on the edge of village clearing. The man that had bothered them before was back and there was something strange about him. He was still dressed in ragged clothes with an equally ragged haircut, but his formerly dark eyes shimmered with a silvery light. The shaman quickly came to the front of the people

“I have already told you that you are not welcome here,” the shaman said, glaring at the man, who snarled, raising his hand. Bright light gathered between his clawed fingers, burning into the shamans head. The old man did not even have time to cry out as fire took hold of his head and then there was an explosion. There was not a sound from the people as what was left of the body dropped to the ground, the stench of burned flesh and blood quickly spreading. Damek rose from the crouch he had been in, where he had been tending the plants and herbs grown for the tribe. There was a scream from a child quickly cut off by parents covering their mouth, the rest of the tribe remained silent in shock as the blood spread into a large pool.

“That is the consequence of disobeying a god!” The glowing pulse of power still showed in the eyes of the gaunt man and as he swept his burning eyes across the tribe people recoiled in fear.

Kneel,” he said with a sneer,” or you will share the same fate.”

The the tribe, one by one, fell to their knees, Damek one of the last to follow, his mind whirling. The power emanating from the man was immense, power he had not had the day before. What was going on? The questions stayed in his mind, the new god lit by magical power and the bright lights in the sky.

***

The sun reflected across the great River, shining on the scales of the fish small boats were bringing in for the day. One vessel was at one of the town's docks, but it began to drift as the newest member of the crew missed the thrown rope that would be used to secure it to the shore. As they began to drift from the dock, as recriminations flowed to the boy on the shore, one of the men on the boat focused, blue eyes intent on the water. The boat stopped drifting, bumping the dock and the young man looked around with a faint grimace, seeing the faint combination of awe and fear in the eyes of the people around him. It had been almost 3 years since he had come here, but he suspected he would never truly be a part of the people around him, but he could not return to the home of his birth. The repetitive nature of the work to finish up fishing for the day let his mind wander.

The sun beat down on the small group of children. The five children had wandered from their tribe when playing, and were lost in the hot desert they lived in. At least two hours had passed, but they could not find their way back to the main group.

“We're lost and we're going to die!” The child started crying before the largest child smacked them.

“You will if you keep crying. Stop wasting water.”

“Don't worry, Juhi, there is water not far from here,” one of the children said, blue eyes intent on a point the others could not see.

“What are you talking about, Salil? You still going on with this sensing fantasy?” The large boy sneered, but there was a hint of fear in their eyes. Salil ignored him and, grabbing the tearful child by the hand, walked off towards a small mound of rocks. In the meagre shade the blue-eyed boy went to his knees and began to dig. Several minutes passed, digging in the soft sandy soil difficult.

“I knew you were lying,” there was a shrill edge to the triumphant words that came forth, but the blue eyed boy ignored the other child as he continued to dig, compressing the walls for stability. It only took a few more handfuls of sand before dampness began to seep up, pooling in the cavity and Salil carefully filled his hand with the water and drank. Even hot and with sand iin it, it was the best water he had drunk.

The adults found them there the next day, the children tired and hungry but alive. Shouts and tears from parents and children, but one person, the tribe wise woman, walked over to the small pool of water. Many questions followed and Salil answered what he could. The next day Salil had been moved to the wise woman's tent, her youngest apprentice. However that didn't last long, when Salil became a teen the wise woman admitted she could no longer teach him, his magic outstripping hers as well as focused in a different direction. She sent him north, to the lands of the temples, to a friend of hers that could teach him more.

Salil shook his head to clear the memories, then his eyes widened in shock as the water surged and rose up and something like mental blast of light searing his senses. Shouts and screams of surprise burst from the people around, the water continuing to churn. As he raised his head to look at the sky, Salil's vision cleared leaving the flowing colour against the late afternoon sky clear to his streaming eyes.

That is was magic was obvious, but the wild fluctuations of it made his stomach churn. Like the others Salil scrambled off the boat, fighting the swirling water pull the vessels ashore, lest they sink in the raging river. After that he turned trying to rush into the buildings of the town before being roughly grasped by the arm.

What is going on?” The reddened face of one of the other townspeople glared at him.

I don't know, I am trying to get to so I can help them find out,” Salil said yanking his sore arm from the harsh grip and continued his journey.

Hey!” he heard the man shout, “I wasn't ...” the voice faded into the hubbub of the rest of the townspeople as Salil moved away. He got to his home soon after, pausing to catch his breath before entering the building.

***

The cold, barren lands of the tundra stretched ahead of a pair of figures, a bundled figure of a human and a massive white furred bear. The sky to the south was alight with the colours of the aurora, but unlike the gentle flow of those, these streamed in waves and vortexes across the sky, even sometimes visible during the increasingly brief days.

The heavily clothed figure sighed, sweeping the fur lined hood off her head revealing a head of short dark hair.

“It's not changed at all, Ila. Silaluk won't be pleased and I can't see what we can do” the girl, Anyu, said to her companion, her milky grey eyes going distant as an image of a bear sitting on the , Silaluk was sent to her.

“Now, Ila none of that,” Anyu said with a faint smile that quickly faded into a frown as she turned back to the sky, before turning away. The light had appeared a few days ago along with a massive rush of magic, that had caused their shaman to collapse. Anyu and her fellow apprentice Silaluk had managed to help her, but the old woman was still weak. She soon got back to the collection of huts that was her village. Almost as Anyu walked into the boundaries of the buildings a young man stepped out of one of the huts, but Anyu just shook her head at him and went inside, telling Ila to wait outside.

That bear of yours is going to cause problems at some point, people are scared of” the older boy said, returning to an old complaint.

She hasn't yet, Silaluk and focusing on that isn't going to change our circumstances.”

Silaluk scowled, crouching by the small fire in the centre of the room, but stayed silent for a long moment.

“We have to find out what is causing this,” he said in a quiet voice. Anyu sat by the fire as well, focusing on the flames for a long moment.

“Our duty is to our master and the town. Whatever this is it is far away. I can feel it.”

“Then maybe we have to go find it,” he said looking at her. Anyu remained silent listening to the winds outside, feeling a tug on her mind, she did not think her magic was going to allow any other path.

***

Bright snow blanketed the buildings of a town nestled into the side of a mountain. There was much activity as people went about their days, but on the clearing leading to the path down the mountain a group of people had gathered. Today a group of the clan's young warriors were leaving, travelling to the warm-lands to gain experience and seasoning. Jhotun preferred the cold areas of the world but in this mountainous area peace had mostly reigned for several generations, requiring their young to travel to places less suited for Jhotun inhabitance.

An offshoot of their clan lived in the cold mountains of the eastern land mass where this clan would send their warriors to the area to be blooded, but they had delayed when the flames in the sky appeared and now almost 3 years later were finally sending their green warriors back to the eastern lands. Their kinsman had been reporting more conflict with the humans there, raids on people travelling between villages, a perfect opportunity for the much larger group to get some seasoning.

Of the people gathering one stood out, the only red haired person in the entire group. Perched on a rock near the path down, she was braiding leather around a small carved stone. So focused on the task, she jumped when a tall young man spoke to her.

“Bridget! Are you just going to sit up there and not say goodbye?” He said tilting his head up to talk to her. Bridget ignored him for a moment, tying off the braided leather before jumping down and dusting herself off before turning to the shorter male. Jhotun were often called giants by the those of the warm-lands and the red-head proved that her over 8 feet of hight tall even for her kin. Still the young man in front of her, the eldest son of the Clan Chief, was still young and she suspected he would top her when fully grown. She tied the necklace around his neck.

“People who are getting gifts should be more patient,” she said.

“Trying to magic me?” he said with a combination of amusement and suspicion, as he looked at the rune then frowned as he read it. “Health?

“Yes, it would be ashamed if the great warrior Langer was felled by illness.”

Bridget shook her head at the teen, but before she could reply a blond woman interrupted.

“Don't worry about these pups, me and Geir will keep them from tripping over their own feet and impaling themselves on their weapons. As much of a trial that is going to be.”

Oh come on, Linnae we know how to use our blades,” and it was Linnae's turn to roll her eyes as Bridget laughed. The other woman was shorter and had a more solid build than the red-head, with golden blonde hair and grey eyes.

“There is more to sword work then not sticking yourself with the pointy bit,” she said ,” go talk to your parents, you are going to be gone a while.”

The young Jhotun sighed, then nodded and left. Once Langer had gone to talk to his father Linnae looked at Bridget with a more serious look on her face.

“I will keep an eye on him,” she said putter her hand on the taller woman's shoulder.

“I know,” Bridget said with a sigh, “ still that light bothers me.”

“It makes my skin crawl,” Linnae agreed, “but we can't stop living because of it, if something happens we will deal with it then.”

“Hmm, I suppose I just hope it's that easy.”

Bridget, along with several families watched the group of young warriors depart and she wondered if they felt the same feeling of trepidation.