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: 1,645
Total Wordcount: 41,618 (includes Title, Chapter Headers, etc.)
Day 25, Part III – At Last We Come to the Beginning of the End
“Okay, so this is the last weekend day that you’re going to get,” the Writer said to herself as she settled down at the writing desk to work, “better make it count.”
The faux-living room was empty at the moment and other than the background hiss of the churning story mists and the tiny snores of the plot bunnies, it was silent. It didn’t look like there would be any help from the fictives today…
There was a pause as she stared down at the blank pages.
“You’d think this would get easier after a month of trying,” she said with a sigh and started up a Word Sprint.
“You won’t slow it much,” Jashn said. “You know that, right?” He didn’t tell her she was going to die, because she knew. She’d known since they started this journey and it hadn’t seemed to bother her then.
“But it will be more than nothing.” Khany stood firm and waited.
“I don’t want to do this,” the town dragon said, but they had no choice and he knew it. Those few hours of delay might be enough to save the town.
“Being a dragon is never easy,” Jashn laughed, brittle but not broken. “Now show me how this thing works and we can get on our way.”
“No,” broke in the city dragon. “You can’t leave, I need you here.” She stomped a foot, somewhat shakily. “You must think of the city.”
“This fight only affected us,” Jashn pointed out. “Other than the people in this room, nothing has changed. I won’t be missed and you know that. It will only be a day or two, stop worrying.”
She hissed at him, but made no move to stop them.
“We need to go,” said Khany.
The two dragons turned back to the tube.
“So how do we convince it to send something as large as a person?” asked Jashn. “The rip it made before was much too small.”
“Lots of magic and a little science,” said the town dargon and fiddled with some settings. It took a few nerve wracking moments, but he seemed quite pleased when he was finished. “Here, toast it for me would you?” He held it out and Jashn rolled his eyes, but burned off the oil and residue with a careful blast of flame.
“You ready for this?” Jashn asked as they turned to Khany.
She nodded and the two of them began funneling magic into the tube. Once it reached critical mass a rift began to open up in the air.
Kahny reached into the rift and tugged it open, feeling the magic dance along her fingers. This was different magic than the type in the pools, it felt more active, more electric and she almost laughed before she remembered where she was. And what they were doing.
As soon as the rift was large enough she climbed in, not looking back as it closed behind her.
“Sooo… right.” The Writer frowned down at her notes. “How does a letter even get from one side to the other? It can’t be an instantaneous transfer because the letter didn’t vanish as soon as it touched the portal. There has to be something in between…”
A void plot bunny twitched an ear in its sleep.
“Maybe there’s just a hole and it falls out the other side like in Portal. Or maybe it’s just gravity and it falls out? Then again this is a person and not a letter, so maybe it works differently if you’re alive to pay attention.”
The void bunny yawned and did that awesome bunny stretch where there is suddenly like four feet of bunny. Then it hopped up on the writing desk and started nibbling.
Inside of the rift was a near-endless blackness, lightless but not dark in a way that made her mind itch with contradictions. The void was filled with the soft noise of background radiation of space. The quiet hiss of the stars, just faint enough to hear.
Khany could see the other end of the tear in the distance and began to sprint towards it. Running was effortless and the distance seemed to close independently of her efforts. She couldn’t tell if she was moving or the door was. After a moment she stopped running and still flew onwards.
The closer she got the louder the static became until it was a thundering waterfall of noise. She stepped out into an empty town and silence, unnervingly terrified at the contrast.
There was no one in the town, so the evacuation must have happened already. There was no fire and no sign of the shadow monster. But she didn’t have to see tracks to know where it was going.
She pulled a bit of the local magics to her and started running for the caves.
“That was… odd.” The Writer looked down at the plot bunny who looked quite pleased with itself. “I’m going to leave it in because NaNo and word count and reasons, but this breaks things a bit.”
The plot bunny was confused.
“Look, if we’ve got a survivable void between points, why isn’t the shadow dragon hiding there?” the Writer asked. “How do the letters get from one point to another if they can’t move? Why hasn’t anyone tried this before if they all know the teleporting mail trick?” She frowned. “I mean, it’s cool and all, but I need a lot more worldbuilding to figure out how it meshes into what I have already.”
The plot bunny sniffed and hopped back off the table with a dismissive twitch of its tail.
“I said it was cool!” the Writer objected, but the bunny was already curling back up for a nap. “Oh well, back to the fighting.”
“We’re not going to make it on time,” Jashn said as the two dragons tore through the sky in flattened arcs, motionless save for their forward momentum.
The town dragon said nothing, but kept his gaze intent on the horizon. He could see the mountains in the distance that rose up after the black hills. They were less than a day away, if they didn’t stop, but they were burning through magic faster than they could gather it from the countryside. When they landed they’d need the pools to recharge from before the battle.
Assuming the pools were still there.
He could see the town burning in his memories and they sped on.
“Yeah there is zero way they are going to get back in time,” the Writer frowned down at her notes. “I need to work out some sort of rules about the shapeshifting. Otherwise why can’ they just shrink down to Khany’s size and go through the portal too?”
“They’ve made noises about being too big to fit into human forms well, maybe their magical size isn’t the same as their physical size and that’s the problem.” She doodled in the margins a bit. “But if they can turn into anything why can’t they turn into a form that they could fly really really fast in? I’m not sure the whole ‘can’t gather magic fast enough’ is going to work as a valid reason… Maybe they were going slow the first time because they didn’t want to hurt Kahny? Although I think there was a note about the magic protecting her from the speed. Arg”
She looked down at the plot bunnies hopefully, but other than the twitch of a pay from a science fiction bunny who was lost in dreams of warp drives, there was no response.
“Oh well.” The Writer sorted through the papers. “I needed to fill in the backstory for the tube anyways, so I guess I’ll run with that.”
“What are you doing?” asked Kahny as the town dragon fiddled with an odd metal tube.
“This is an invention of mine,” he said, cautiously as if he expected her to be offended. “It allows someone without magic to send messages the way Jashn did. I was going to give it you, so you could warn the town. If things went badly.”
She nodded, because she couldn’t really see how things wouldn’t go badly, but if they fought the monster at the City by the Sea the town should be safe.
The dragon pushed a button on the side of the tube and a small tear appeared in the air in front of it. “You just open it up and slide the letter in. The spell will transport it to a specific location in town. It’s the place I use to send my own correspondence in emergencies, so they’ll know it’s important.” He let go of the button and the tear vanished.
“If they’ve already evacuated town, will anyone be there to see it?” Khany took the tube from the dragon, turning it over in her hands curiously. The tube was made from a smooth silvery metal inlaid with a pattern of quartz.
“We’re still a few days out from evacuation. Most of the town will have left already, but someone should be there up until the last day.” The town dragon looked out across the valley. “There’s a good chance that we won’t use this, either because we win or because they will already have left and the warning wouldn’t do any good.”
The Writer looked over the mess of a story that was piled on the workbench trying to find something that would trigger a plot bunny’s interest. But there wasn’t a lot left to work with. The main story, the DVD extras, the travelogue that went nowhere… there was still the end to the fight, but she couldn’t figure out how on earth she was going to manage to find 10k more story.
But that was a problem for tomorrow.