Monday, September 19, 2016
1st 5 Pages September Workshop - Perry Rev 2
The Outlands is a fantasy novel that tells the story of a nomadic people whose peaceful lives are thrown into chaos by a sudden invasion by an alien race. This catastrophic event scatters the survivors to the far reaches of their old homeland where, in ones and twos, they come together again in a small group of refugees who must chart new lives in a changed world.
In particular, the novel follows the course of one young man and one young lady who find their lives increasingly intertwined. Each of them is gifted in one particular way and it becomes their joined destiny to travel into the heart of the alien nation to find a solution to their people’s doom
The Outlands combines adventure and romance with a classic quest by two heroes who must get along with each other before they can join forces to fight their common enemy.
They found the Reavor’s trail on the final day of the graduation patrol.
“What do we do?” Bazz was young enough that the possibility of Reavors loose in the Outlands was interesting. Here was yet one more problem to solve for the head of the class.
“Damn.” Peir was older by a few hundred years. For the past few weeks he’d been seeing his family in sudden dreamy reveries, hearing their voice when he was on the verge of sleep. It’d been a year. “How far ahead?”
Bazz was only twenty but he possessed an acute sensitivity to the eaithar. He dropped from the saddle and looked south where the grass ran on and on forever to the sea. Tilting his head back just slightly, he looked beyond the Here and Now, into the code of the universe as it adjusted itself in constant infinite quantum calculations. “Not too far.” He turned and grinned. “Maybe an hour.”
“Damn, damn.” Reavors loose in the Outlands this late in the year? It didn’t make sense. He risked a look to the northwest where the mountains faded in an out of heavy cloud cover. He read it in the eiathar: the pass home would be buried .
Bazz was climbing back into the saddle. “What do we do?” Like it was nothing.
Peir leaned and spat and wiped his mouth with the back of his gauntlet. There was only one answer and the boy knew it. It had been like this all year. He pulled his horse around to address the other four scouts. “Okay, lads – this is it. Button up all your gear. We go fast but we go quiet.” He couldn’t miss how their faces struggled between dread and anticipation. Like Bazz, they were twenty years old and they gaped at each other with foolish smiles. Action at last!
Peir felt the weight of responsibility settle in his solar plexus like he’d swallowed a stone.
They rode south, their horses plowing the dense grass with their chests, the sun always on their right shoulder. In this way, hidden in the holocaust of sun glare, they rode up upon the flank of Reavors without being seen.
“Those are Reavors?” Peir and Bazz stood on the crest of a hill with the sun behind them. Peir drew the eiathar close about them like a cloak so they were not seen.
The aliens rode south, devouring distance with the same singular devotion to steady progress as wolves. They bristled with weapons and appeared neither rushed nor concerned about riding up on anyone. Even from this distance they could see their peculiar skin tone like old snow; their pale hair streamed from beneath their metal caps.
“We don’t have them in the south.” Bazz was of the Evening Star people. “Sometimes pirates raid the coast though.”
Peir gave the boy a hard look. “Pirates? Look at those Reavors, boy! Have you ever seen anything so strange and brutal? Half your height but twice as broad – they can snap you in two. Hands the size of plates, boy! See those axes they carry? Cut a man in half.” He turned to gesture at the shadow of the Great Dyrian Forest that hemmed in the northern horizon. “And there are millions of them up there, beneath that canopy. No one knows how many!”
“Okay,” Bazz said. That was the most irritating thing about him, he was always so agreeable.
“Pirates are nothing, boy! These Reavors come down into our homelands with one thing on their minds: murder and looting.” That was actually twothings and Peir knew it and it made him even more irascible. “Why do you think we’re even here?” He slapped one hand in the palm of the other to emphasize his point. “Do we spend every fifth year of our lives, away from our families, patrolling the southern coast for pirates?”
Bazz kept his eyes on the Reavors as they passed on beneath the leaden autumn sky. His expression was placid. “No sir.”
“Let me ask you: do we take all you twenty year olds away to the south for your warrior initiations? No, we do not, and here’s why: pirates can’t compare to Reavors for pure evil. That’s why I’m here with you and those other four instead of in my wife’s tent.”
“Yes sir.” He turned and looked around. “Don’t you think we should be going, sir? Report to the Warlord?”
Peir girt his sword belt a little tighter around his waist. “Reavors passing by just an arrow show away and he’s talking about pirates.” He took a breath and gathered his wits. “We need to give an accurate count to the Warlord. We can’t just go racing back with scary stories to tell.”
“I figured three hundred, sir.”
“Three hundred?” Peir shaded his eyes with his hand. “That’s two Reavor troops. Why so many?”
“I think we should go, sir.”
“Why are they headed south this late in the year? All of the northern tribes have moved to Winter Camp by now. There’s nothing to steal.”
Bazz tapped him on the shoulder. “I think we should go now, sir.”
Peir shrugged him off. He turned to speak his mind about propriety but saw that Bazz was looking off to the northeast. When Peir followed the boy’s gaze he saw a line wavering on the horizon like summer lightning. “What . . . is . . .that?”
Bazz was backing off the hill. “Riders, sir!”
Peir glanced at Bazz, then back to the horizon as the flickering figures resolved themselves into a vast body of mounted soldiers, stretched like a net from horizon to horizon. He was confused. The rest of the patrol? Why are they coming here?
Then he saw their code in the eiathar: these were not the patrol. These riders were not riding like an Isthilia patrol on long-legged steppe horses – these riders were mounted on heavy, thick horses and the great mass of them was encased in plates of armor that shifted the low light in fractals like river water. The ground began to rumble at their approach.
“Sir?” Bazz was halfway down the hill but reaching towards Peir as if he might stretch and grasp the older man’s hand and pull him along.
“Impossible,” Peir said. “Those can’t be Reavors! They can’t be.”
There were thousands and they were driving forward, harrying them into what now Peir could see was the advance party. “We’re pinned!” Then it dawned on him. He sprinted down the hill and grabbed Bazz as he passed him. “We’re pinned! We have to ride!”