Monday, May 20, 2013
1st 5 Pages May Workshop - Roy Rev 2
Name: Soumi Roy
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Title: Shattering Vengeance
Prologue: 4 years ago
THE time had arrived, the onset of darkness.
And somehow he felt it.
The illumination of a striking thunderstorm enriched the feel of a dead end in the earth, or a new beginning. Whichever it was, his feared the worst.
Standing on the first landing of the staircase, Nathaniel Clayworth watched the raindrops sliding down the windowpanes. Outside the window the eerie night seemed darker than ever, enshrouded in cold gloominess, like the dirge of a dead soul. Raging torrents of rain struck down with lightning bolts, piercing through the turbulent night sky down to the desiccated earth. And the macabre view simply frightened him more.
He silently shifted closer to the banister, leaning a bit over it, so he could clearly see his parents sitting at the dining table, but careful not to make himself visible.
Something seems very wrong, he thought to himself. He just didn’t know what.
“Are you sure you will be going to the Council? I don’t think we can trust anyone anymore.” His mother’s voice broke the silent ambiance that previously hovered over their dining table, as she watched her husband Victor tap his fork on his plate. He had convened a secret core committee meeting for the following day at the Keepers Council, the assembly that was engaged in ruling the city of Neo Predris with an iron fist.
Victor sighed, and dropped the fork on his plate. “Catherine, darling,” he replied in a grave voice, as if preparing for the chance of a storm whose direction was still unknown, “we still have some trusted friends left who are willing to help.”
“The League? I don’t trust them either,” Catherine said dryly.
The League. Nate heard the name before, and out of curiosity he had asked his father once. However, his father refused to answer by saying he was not mature enough to know such things. It irritated him, very much, being treated like a child.
“Yet, we must give our best to protect our last hope of survival.”
“That may indeed be the city’s future. But…” Catherine paused and shivered a little, “think about Nate, and his future. What if we endanger our son’s life?”
At the mentioned of his name Nate bit his lips and tensed.
“Nothing will happen to him. We will send him back to the institute tomorrow morning. He will be alright,” Victor tried to reassure his wife with a deep breath, the anxiety written over her beautiful face, and softly squeezed her hand. Unconvinced, Catherine looked away.
Victor pushed aside his plate and walked toward the staircase. Nate edged backwards, hoping his father wouldn’t catch him eavesdropping. “Nathaniel, come here,” he called for his son, who should supposedly be taking a nap in his bedroom upstairs. “I know you are feeling sick, but a little food will make you feel better, son.”
“I’m going to see how he’s feeling,” Catherine hushed her husband. She gathered her long dress and headed upstairs. Nate quietly hurried back to his room, threw himself on the bed and pulled the blanket over his head.
Nathaniel was the only heir to the house of Clayworth, and had taken a holiday at home from Predris Institute of Young Apprentices, the royal academy where young boys were sent to be trained as future Keepers, protectors of Neo Predris.A mild headache and low fever had weakened him enough to take leave from the Institute.
He heard his mother’s footsteps before she knocked on his open door. She swiftly passed into the room and sat beside Nate. “Did you take your medicine?” Catherine gently said to her son. “Have some food, dear, else you’ll be weaker.”
“Oh, I took my medicine, Mom. And no food,” Nate answered in a husky voice, poking his head out of the blanket. “I’m not feeling well.”
His mother gently stroked his hair as he rested his head on her lap, and her affectionate eyes gazed upon his sun kissed face, which was the most handsome in her eyes. She had often told him that his raven black hair and stormy blue eyes with a slender build would shame any other human beauty. He had inherited both his mother’s elegance and grace, and his father’s intelligence and dexterity, to become a maven of weaponry at his very young age of fifteen.
Then there was the sound of an explosion, which tore their attention away. The noisy rapping over the main entrance intruded into the room. His mother jerked upright and gripped Nate’s hand with fear, her palm sweating in his hand.
“Nate, I must go. Do not come downstairs, okay?” she said, kissing his forehead, “Goodnight, baby.” She stormed out of the door, closing the door and leaving her son stunned behind her.
Closing his eyes, Nate curled inside his blanket, but was unable to sleep, anxious and worried over the suddenness of his mother’s changed behaviour. The uneasiness in her voice really scared him.
Then he heard rasping voices, harsh words, as if someone was arguing with his father furiously. The argument was slowly heating up. His father was a man of dignity and he would never allow someone to talk to him in such an unpleasant way without reason. Nate sat up on his bed, trying hard to better hear every word from downstairs.
A sharp scream pierced the walls of the house. Someone thumped on the ground, falling heavily. Nate clearly heard his heart storming against his chest, felt it ready to jump out of his throat. Quickly guessing what could have happened, he jumped down from his bed and instinctively picked up his dagger from the nightstand drawer.
Suddenly, the door burst open with his mother’s intrusion. Horrified and drenched in blood, her face had taken on the color of crimson red. Her whole body was trembling in unutterable terror and her sobbing started to echo through Nate’s ears. She immediately locked the door behind her and before Nate could ask anything, she held his face in her shivering palms and uttered haltingly, “They…they…killed your father. They are coming up for me, but I…I…won’t let them touch you.” Though she stuttered, a fierce protectiveness rose in her voice. “They don’t even know you are home. Just hide under your bed and whatever happens and don’t come out.”
They murdered my father? He couldn’t believe his own two ears, the ground slipping away beneath his feet and he stood frightened, too shocked to even cry.
Someone banged on the bedroom door with full force, again and again.
“I don’t have much time left, Nate…” She gripped his shoulder. “Just remember, protect the Last Mage and don’t trust anyone. Do you understand?” She turned her face to the door, her blue eyes wide with terror.
The long lost name was just a scribbled word of ancient Predris mythology. Nate only nodded in response, though he didn’t understand why his mother was talking about such an absurd topic now, at this very moment when both of their lives were at stake.
Nate wanted to ask what was happening, who were these people? But his mother pushed him under the bed and hushed, “Promise me you won’t come out.”
Terror ran down through his body, paralyzing his thoughts and movements. The door exploded violently and he heard footsteps, loud as they invaded the room. The group seemed bigger than he anticipated. His eyes squinted and his gaze darted in the direction of where his mother stood. He could only see the hem of her nightgown, once white and now swamped in blood.
“You think killing us will pave your way?” Nate heard his mother’s nervous laughter, rather unnatural in fear. “I doubt if you even know who or what the Last Mage is, yet you are stretching your dirty hands into the darkness in search of a myth that doesn’t even exist!”
One of them cut her off with his hoarse voice. “You think you are so smart Catherine, and we are a bunch of fools?” The voice was known, much known but Nate was too afraid to think clearly. “You Clayworths have distracted us much in this matter and now we have enough reasons for support. Your lies won’t work anymore.”
“What a shame,” Catherine said in a nervous voice, struggling to keep it firm. “Keepers, protectors of innocents, hailed as heroes. Where’s your honor now?”
“Pity,” replied the same voice that was speaking before, “we are not heroes to those who betray the Council. Your husband should have thought about that before he decided to go against us.”
“My husband only did what was right. He was holding onto his Keeper’s honor, unlike you,” Catherine spit the words at them.
“Enough,” another man roared. “Enough of your games. We know the truth of the blood running through your dark veins. Clayworths’ bloodline should end now with the last Mage.”