Sunday, June 18, 2017
1st 5 Pages June Workshop- Jachetti Rev 2
Name: Elisha Jachetti
Genre: YA Fantasy
Concordia is the land of peace, or so Quinn Reeve thought. When an intruder with piercing blue eyes infiltrates the castle, everything Quinn has grown up believing comes crashing down.
This incident sets off a series of strange events, including the King’s order to send Quinn’s sister, McKenna, on an expedition into the mountains, a mission equivalent to a death sentence. To save her sister, Quinn starts digging into the King’s motivations and enlists the help of the other person who knows the truth behind Concordia’s dark history, the intruder. She soon learns that the safe, anti-technology, non-magical world around her is merely an illusion, and the depths of deceit extend much farther than she ever could have imagined. With time running out, if Quinn does not act fact, her world and everyone she loves could be lost forever.
2nd Revision – 1st 5 Pages:
“Do you think you could ever kill someone?” My best friend Harper Hadley asks me, lounging back in the deep green grass that matches her emerald eyes. It’s become tradition to visit the gardens during our breaks.
“Why? Are you mad at Josef?” I tease. Josef’s the first boy she’s dated for more than a month. She says she loves him, but then again, she always says that.
“I mean for work, Quinn. Could you kill someone if it meant protecting the King?”
I shoot her a sideways glance. Though I’m used to her odd questions and incessant curiosity, I’ve never appreciated the trouble that tends to follow. My first taste of it was when we were seven, and she got us sent to an all-girls school because she thought it was funny to pee in the boy’s bathroom. I was the lookout, but after we were repeatedly caught, it was clear I wasn’t very good at it.
“It’s Concordia,” I shrug. “And it’s not like we carry weapons.” Harper rolls her eyes and launches into a lecture about being unprepared. When she finishes, she peers back at the castle, her auburn hair falling in pieces over her shoulders. I follow her gaze. The teal domes and spires pierce the sky, dripping gold over the extravagant balconies and arcades. The castle somehow gets more beautiful every time I look at it, especially when the sun is setting.
I wonder if people had castles back then in 2103, right before the Dividing War and the natural disasters that changed everything. I know they were technologically advanced societies, but supposedly that was part of the problem. Perhaps, they forgot how happy exquisite architecture could make a person, or more likely, maybe they just forgot to look.
As I am admiring the castle, the butterflies and bees floating around me seem to pause in anticipation, as if they have been alerted of a shift in the air. All of a sudden, the warning drums come hard and fast, their unusual presence startling me.
Harper raises one eyebrow. “I guess we’re finally doing that practice drill.” She mumbles as we both get up, brushing grass off our uniforms.
“First time Josef was right about something.” I laugh, amazed at the prospect. He gave us secret intel last week that the higher-ups wanted to test out emergency protocol. I never thought it’d actually happen.
We take our time walking down to the central hallway, but from the distance, I can hear the shout of someone giving orders. It takes me a few seconds to realize the voice belongs to Sergeant Greyson. Though I can’t make out much of what he is saying, there is one phrase he keeps repeating. “Find the intruder.”
As we get closer, Josef and other Sentry guards come barreling down the hallway. It’s so odd to see people running that I stop in place and gawk.
“Earth to Quinn.” Harper waves her hand in front of my face, forcing my pupils to refocus. Josef’s standing next to her now, but the other guards have disappeared around the corner. I blink, while she stares at me impatiently, strong and confident. “Did you hear anything Josef just said?”
I shake my head, causing Harper to relay the story so fast, her words blur together. “Someone broke in, and the only guards who maybe saw his face are unconscious at the front door.”
“That’s the drill narrative?” I ask, but before they can answer, a big crash from the end of the hallway causes me to jump. Two clumsy Sentry guards have attacked each other, probably thinking the other was the fugitive. When they start rolling around on the ground, still unaware of who they actually tackled, Harper curses.
“Let’s go,” she whispers to both of us.
The once low din raises in volume until we’re right in the roaring thick of it. Maids and servants are rushing towards the guest corridors, carrying random odds and ends that together serve no purpose. Sentry members are organizing. Or attempting to. Even the head chef has made a rare appearance, wielding a baguette as both a shield and a poking device, a look of determination etched in his face. I have never seen so much chaos.
I’m considering what to do, when a brilliant idea occurs to me. I drag Harper and Josef through the crowd and to the back staircase. Not many people know about this hidden gem. Harper and I found it one day when we were exploring the castle. She thought the only way we could truly protect the Royal Family from any problems would be if we became navigational experts of this place. I made fun of her.
I reach up and tug on the familiar knot in the wall, moving the panel slightly to the side. The three of us slither through to the stairs, a secret passageway that can take us directly to any floor of the castle. I gulp in air as all has suddenly gone still around us. It’s quite the contrast to the swirling pool of people right outside.
“The King is on the third floor, which is where most of the Sentry went.” Josef shares.
“There’s a lot of them on the first floor too.” I manage to croak out. My throat is sticky as if I’ve just swallowed a mouthful of silver sap. While the rational part of my brain knows this is a drill, the other part isn’t convinced.
“Quinn and I can cover the top floors.” Harper declares. “Josef, you can take the basement.” He nods, and in less time than it takes to lose a salamander, he disappears to the lower levels.
Harper and I begin climbing the stairs, two at a time. “You want the fourth floor or the roof?” She asks me.
“We’re splitting up?” I question, my surprise causing me to momentarily slow my pace. Harper and I do everything together.
“Yeah. That way one of us will get him.”
I nod deliberately. Makes sense, I guess. “I’ll take the roof.” I decide. The roof is dangerous on its own, and though Harper won’t admit it, she’s afraid of heights.
Irrational thoughts that this could be real come sneaking in, but why on Earth would somebody break the peace now? And for what purpose? I think of my training from when I first joined the Sentry. It was brief and left much to be desired. I guess I never minded until today.
Harper starts to chuckle. “Woah, you need to relax. Your face is as red as the Crest.” She shakes her head, opening up the wall on the fourth floor. “I’ll see you when we’ve got him,” Harper winks, and with that, she’s gone.
When I reach my exit, I step through the passageway to the only enclosed space on the roof. My muscles tense in expectation of finding the “intruder” on the other side. In the daytime, this room is not a great place for hiding as the walls are made entirely of glass. Had it been though, I would be standing in complete darkness.
There’s no one here, except for a few clunky pieces of mahogany furniture. A desk is jutted up against the wall with a red velvet chair tucked underneath, a matching sofa sits directly across from it with a short, bookstand to the right, and a tall, imposing, wardrobe in the back. The light falling through the windows illuminates the glossy sheen of the woodwork.
The King visits this room by himself sometimes. I know, because occasionally his guards are stationed outside of it. I guess the King likes mahogany. Or perhaps hates it, since he sent all this furniture up here where no one can see it.
I approach the wardrobe first, bracing myself as I fling the doors open.