The only thing she knows is true anymore is that the dragon needs to die.
This is the daily(ish) posting of my 2017 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) fantasy novel. [YANS] is short for Yet Another New Story, so it’s new worlds and new civilization ahead! Since last year worked out well, this year’s attempt will also be a combination of MuseFic and proper rough draft. The story will be completed at the end of November… even if the story isn’t really complete. 😉
Read at your own risk/amusement: There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing.
Daily Wordcount: 1184
Total Wordcount: 1294 (includes Title, Chapter Headers, etc.)
Ready, Set, Go!
“Alright, let’s rock this joint!” The Writer bounced in from the story mists, laptop in hand and more enthusiasm than was probably warranted. Then again, it was the first day of NaNoWriMo and she hadn’t burnt through any of the fog of naive optimism yet.
“Yeah, right, you go do that.” The fictive that was not-Daniel Jackson had apparently claimed the comfy chair left over from last NaNo’s villain as his own. He had a notebook in hand and was busy scribbling. “I’ll just be over here plotting actual plots and working on the backstory you didn’t bother to give me October.”
The faux-living room was otherwise empty. The long whiteboard was still covered with story sketching from Words Before Worlds and the couch was disturbingly vacant of the Muse. The massive (if shrunken) Dragon and his beanbag dog bed was also absent and other than the snoring of plot bunnies and Daniel’s scribbling… it was eerily quiet.
With a sigh the Writer scrubbed away a little of the optimism and headed over to her desk to get to work.
“So I got a little overwhelmed, so sue me.” The Writer plopped down at her writing desk, carefully stepping over the napping plot bunnies. “So is anyone else coming today or am I starting this thing off cold?”
“I’m still not sure I like my name,” groused Khany from her hiding place under the couch, only a little gleeful at making her Writer jump. The couch had helpful raised just far enough off the ground for the dog to hide under comfortably. It was a very considerate piece of furniture, all things considered.
“You can pick a new one tomorrow,” coaxed the Writer, trying to get her heart rate back to normal. “Just let me get the first scene on paper.” Pause. “Or two.”
“Those don’t exist in your universe!” The Writer objected. “And sure. As many free name-changes as you like. That’s what rough drafts are for, right?”
“Wouldn’t know,” said Khany as she wiggled out from under the sofa and trotted over to the desk. “Give me a mark and let me at him!”
The dragon lives in the hills at the edge of town where the stark black rocks jut up from the loam. There are caverns there, spiderwebbed with quartz and a rich vein of fool’s gold that shimmers in the sunsets. The massive beast has watched over the village for centuries, guarding them, keeping them safe as far back as their history could remember.
Dark and powerful magics pooled in those caves and the dragon fed upon them, building layers upon layers of wards and barriers to protect the village. There were tales of him standing up to winds strong enough to level forests and fires that turned the land around them to ash and embers.
The village was safe. It had always been safe and would always be safe.
And then the flood waters came… and the only thing she knows is true anymore is that the dragon needs to die.
Khany paused at the edge of the meadow where the lush green grass finally gave way to rock, hovering on the cusp of turning back.
It wouldn’t be unusual for the dragon to have visitors. The villagers regularly made trips to ask for favors, offer tribute, or beg for an answer from the scrying pools. She could easily pass as yet another pilgrim with a knapsack full of mutton and a headful of dreams.
She could, but she wasn’t sure she would.
Khany had been to the caves before, once long ago as a child when she was presented to the dragon for his approval. He had chosen not to eat her, as he did with almost all of the babes, but he had paused a very very long time. She swore she could still feel the weight of those golden eyes, even if her mother insisted she’d been too young to remember.
She’d spent her whole life wondering what evil the dragon had seen in her then and now that she knew… Khany wasn’t sure what it meant that he had let her live.
But if he’d seen her coming to the cave with poisoned flood-bloated mutton, then he’d seen the flood that sent her. He’d seen the wall of water, the mangled houses and bodies, the fetid swamp of corpses that was all that remained of their farms. Her farm. Her family.
Her hands tightened on the knapsack straps and she took the first steps up to the caves with the dragon’s death on her back.
“I take back everything bad I ever thought about you,” said not-Daniel in awe, backstory forgotten. “Marry me.”
“This is not a romance!” objected the Writer, but she was quickly losing control of the plot. “But that was significantly more badass than I had expected.”
Khany just looked smug.
“I would like to point out that technically I called dibs when she was a toddler.” said Dragon as he ambled into the room, dragging his beanbag bed like a jaguar with an impala.
Oddly a mouthful of bad didn’t seem to hamper his speech and the Writer peered at him suspiciously.
“That’s because I’m telepathic.” Dragon gave her a wary look as he settled into his normal place beside the couch. “Please tell me you didn’t really think I could form human speech with a mouth like this.”
“It honestly hadn’t occurred to me. Wait, so is that how Dog can talk as well?”
“I have a name!” Objected Khany, who was indeed telepathic in a manner now blatantly obvious.
“You said you wanted to change it.”
“I reserved the right to change it, and I still might.” Khany sniffed. “Can we get back to the dragon slaying now?”
“I don’t care how awesome you think you are,” Dragon sighed, “you still aren’t killing me.”
“Why not?” Challenged Khany, a murderous plot bunny now perched triumphantly on her back. It wiggled its nose menacingly at Dragon.
“Because that would get rid of what little plot we have,” the Writer scooped up the plot bunny and scowled at it.
The bunny scowled right back.
“I said no. Now get back in there and try and play by the rules.” The Writer shooed Khany back into the story as she went to tuck the plot bunny back under the desk.
“Guardian of the Ebony Hills, Keeper of the Spring Water flocks, listen and hear me.” Khany lay the mutton in the shallow depression of the offering bowl and lit the three petitioners candles. She may never have come before herself, but the rituals were done by reflex honed through years of lessons as children.
The scented candles mixed nauseatingly with the tainted meat and Khany could feel sweat bead on her forehead as she waited for the dragons reply.
After a long wait, when the candles were just stubs in pools of wax, the dragon emerged from the darkness behind the bowl. It’s head was massive, easily large enough to swallow a man whole, and connected to a sinewy neck more akin to a heron than a snake. The body was still hidden in the shadows, but she knew it was the same well-muscled lankness.
“What? Wait you can’t just stop in the middle!” Objected Khany as the Writer packed things up for the night.
“Actually it’s one of the recommended techniques,” said the Writer as she finished clearing the desk. “That way we already have an idea of what’s going to happen when we pick up again and we can jump right in.”
The dog gave her a skeptical look.
“Just trust me– see you tomorrow!”
And they did.