Well work today was exceptionally long. I had an eleven hour shift where I was nearly left alone to run a concessions stand for hundreds of people who were all hungry. That may not seem like a lot to people who don’t understand where I work, but I have been in the food industry for quite some time, and I haven’t had many days that were equal in work load.
That being said I am still going to update my blog with something more substantial than a rant about my work, as I said I was going to update it every day. So to show my commitment I am going to supply you with chapter 1 of my new story, which shall be written right now and the first draft presented to you. I hope you enjoy.
Shadhaven Chapter 1
The glowpit shone with a light that barely illuminated the small group of people huddled around it. Each of them felt like little more than refugees, having been thrust into a new role against their choice. Admittedly, each knew that they were there from the results of their own actions, but they nevertheless felt they had somehow been slighted by the powers they deemed to have influence over their lives.
For some of these, it was the gods they worshiped. An older man, dressed in the traditional garb of the Nujai monks, the ancient order of martial artists that lived high in the mountains of T’kar, habitually moved his hands through the traditional prayer forms as he silently begged to be released from his fate. His meditation had lost its ability to grant him focus what seemed ages ago, and now he simply wanted the nightmare to end.
For others, it seemed more that it was the fault of their neighbors, such as the middle-aged woman who continued to narrow her stare at anyone who even glanced her way. Though her dress was now stained by travel and persecution, it bore the cut and manner of a noblewoman, straight from the court of the Grand Empress herself. Her shoulders seemed possessed of a nervous twitch as she stared down those she considered beneath her, the rabble that had led her to this predicament.
There was however, a third group. Those that believed that there were only two people to blame, themselves and the Valaeyn, the enemy that had destroyed their lives and brought them here. Dakidrae Alsinnon was one of these, and he spent most of his time looking between the monk and the noblewoman, a knowing smirk on his sixteen-year-old face.
Neither of them are going to last long, he thought to himself, and then returned to fidgeting with the small dagger he had managed to smuggle with him. He knew the look of a survivor, and though the noblewoman was used to having others follow her orders, he knew that she had little chance of getting the same results here. The old monk may even be an expert at his martial arts, and though he stood a better chance of surviving than the woman did, Dak could read the hopelessness in the man’s posture and movements. The man had given up long ago.
“I am laying claim on his outfit when the old man croaks,” said a youthful voice to Dak’s left side. Dak turned his braided blonde-haired head toward his best friend, a youth less than a year his junior, who was grinning mischievously at the monk, his green eyes twinkling in the glow of the heated red crystals from the pit. He placed his hand on Dak’s shoulder and nodded toward the woman as he continued, “And you can have her dress.”
Dak shrugged the hand off his shoulder abruptly and cuffed Innidrek Cobrath on the back of his black-haired head. In just laughed it off and pulled his own dagger from his belt and began cleaning the dirt from his fingernails. In had always been more conscious of his hygiene than most of the street urchins they knew. Of course, Dak wasn’t bad himself, but they shared something in common that most street urchins didn’t. Both Dakidrae and Innidrek were of noble birth, but during the revolution that had occurred in their childhood, both the Alsinnon and Cobrath families had been all but wiped out. All but Dak and In that was.
They had shortened their first names to match the general populace, and had abandoned their family names in order to survive. They had learned the hard way what survival really was, first they learned to beg, then when that didn’t work at all, they learned to steal. They were now much better at it than any of the other street boys they knew, but there was a reason for that. No one else worked as a partnership. No one else had teamwork down to a science.
“So, do you think it’s going to be as bad as everyone claims? Or do you think they just make it up to scare the kids?” Dak asked his friend as he nodded toward the two they had been talking about. The monk was now not even making the hand motions he had been making before, and was instead almost curled up in the fetal position as well as he could be while maintaining his seat.
“I think we’re going to experience a little bit of both. I anticipate that we are going to find that some things are better, and some are worse. That tends to be the way things work in life from my experience,” In replied with a slight nod of his head that hardly seemed to move the knotted and wild mass of his black hair. It was normally a lot cleaner, but they hadn’t been near enough water to wash in several weeks.
“The smell is certainly worse than I expected, but I don’t think we are going to face much in the way of competition for survival. Then again, we are only evaluating a small group of people. There must be hundreds of them here. Perhaps we should consider expanding our partnership to include some of the more capable ones.”
In nodded slowly and then started to reply, but was interrupted when a loud voice echoed through the giant room.
“Welcome guests, to your new home, unless you wish to venture out into the great unknown. This is Shadhaven, the first of many havens within the complex. Now that you have arrived, you have only two choices; play the game, or don’t. You are by no means obligated to continue forward and attempt to reach the next haven. If you choose to stay however, you will be treated like nothing better than the miserable humans you are. You will be fed nothing but slop, you will be given enough water to drink, but not to wash. You will be left in darkness save the light you see before you now. This is the alternative to moving forward. Stagnant, rotten death. You may now make your choice.”
“That’s the Valaeyn for you,” Dak muttered with a strong note of disgust in his voice, “Straight to the point as usual. Now comes the part where we have to make our choice right?”
A blinding white light suddenly began to pierce the darkness, as a giant set of doors opened up not far behind them, and though with the blindness the light caused Dak could not see his friend nod, he knew him well enough to anticipate the action as In said, “I suppose that’s your answer. Shall we then?”
Without even bothering to answer with words, he let his actions speak instead, and Dak began a full sprint for the door, his laughter leading the way.
In came close on his heels as they headed into the light, knowing full well they were probably headed toward their deaths.
At least they wouldn’t be rotting.