« on: 09 Jan 2009, 03:59 »
Okay, I had a fit of inspiration today and have roughly drafted the first chapter of my novel Tundra. I'm never really sure how long a "chapter" should be, but this seemed to be a fairly decent length. As always, comments, criticism, death threats, marriage proposals and anything else you feel like saying are welcome.
Tundra: Chapter 1
Imagine if you will a world much like your own, where there are people who look just like you. There is plant and animal life on this world more or less the same as that to which you are accustomed, and the people eat pretty much the same things as you. Unless you were to really dig under the surface, you might not notice any difference between this world and yours at all.
One difference that you might notice when digging under the surface (as is human nature to do) is that the concept of religion doesn't exist in this world. Oh, there are of course theories of how the world came to be - two in fact - but the believers and practitioners of these two theories live in perfect harmony with each other and both acknowledge the possibility that the other one might be right after all.
The first theory, generally known throughout the civilised world as Zodiac, stipulates that 12 beings of immense power created the world and that each of them placed a part of their essence into its core to shape it. They were Aquarius, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries and Pisces.
The second, known as Serpentalis, stipulates that the world is the shed skin of a giant serpent - one of many such worlds, though nobody has ever produced proof that more exist - who watches over the people and ensures that there is balance in all things.
They both have their places in the world, and are united in the fact that neither of them are true. But I digress.
Now that you've imagined this world (which is called Gaia, by the way), imagine that upon its mass lie four continents. All have names, but the only one on which we need currently focus is called Danero.
Imagine that somewhere on this continent is a small, dense forest. Imagine that in the middle of this forest is a wooden hut, with plumes of smoke rising from its chimney. Imagine a large wild boar roasting on a spit next to the door.
Imagine two men outside this hut engaged in heated swordplay.
It is here that our story will begin.
Metal clanged on metal. Swords danced in a fluid display of skill, as did the men wielding them. To the trained eye the elder of the two combatants held a slight upper hand, but the younger was more than holding his own and indeed to the untrained eye they would have appeared equals. They parted briefly, each appraising the other, warily circling with blades at the ready in case of a sudden attack.
"You're improving more every day, boy. Keep this up and you might even best me someday!" the older man chuckled, the laughter in his eyes belying the cautious fighting stance he remained in.
"And on that day, sir, there will be a banquet in my honour!" laughed the youth, relaxing.
In a flash of movement quicker than the boy could register, he was on the ground with the tip of his opponent's sword kissing his throat and a long slash in his plain white tunic.
"Tell me, boy," the old man began as he offered his fallen adversary a hand, "what has just happened here."
"You knocked me down while I was distracted."
"Oh, is that the way of it? Yes, of course that is what occurred here. You were distracted and I, a simple old fool, played a dirty trick upon you." the man's demeanour suddenly changed and his eyes flashed momentary anger as he clipped the boy on the ear. "I thought I had taught you better than that, Giya Vantana, but evidently I was mistaken. What happened, my boy, is that you got cocky in the heat of battle and your dishonourable foe gave you a red smile."
"But you said-"
"NEVER let your guard down! Not for a well-intentioned word, not for the promise of riches or food, not for an instant! Do you understand me? Never."
"I'm sorry sir, it won't happen again." said Giya, wiping a brunette lock of hair out of his eyes.
The time that the boy had spent training with this man had done nothing to dampen the awe he evidently felt at the man's skill with a blade in his hand. After all, he wasn't much to look at: grizzled, unkempt features; tattered brown robes; dirty bare feet. Many were the lithe young men who fancied him an easy target for a few extra gold coins and ended up less an ear for their trouble. Tyrias Magamei was not a man to be taken lightly.
And Tyrias Magamei it was who met his young apprentice once more in a clash of steel - the impact jarring his old bones more than he would ever have admitted - and the training continued.
Wait, perhaps I was getting too far ahead of myself. To truly tell this tale we will have to head back seven years or so, to when Giya Vantana was but a child...and the planet wasn't on the verge of turning to ice.