Happy Thanksgiving to you guys, and as you can tell by the banner I managed to get over the 1200 words to “finish” the novel last night and win NaNoWriMo. It has been a wild ride and at this point I am a mixture of happy and exhausted. I got used to writing every single day with my blog experiment, but there is just something different about changing from writing freeform blog style posts to trying to write prose. I am mostly just drained at this point. While I am “done” with the contest goals I still have one more chapter to write. Probably after the festivities of Thanksgiving I will sit down and knock it out. There are still a few more chapters to post on the blog so stay tuned over the coming days for the official end.
If you are wanting to catch up, here is the rundown of the chapters so far. Nothing at all has been edited.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
- The Lady
- Cambridge Beneath
- Prisoner of War
- Parting the Veil
- People of the Earth
- The Pack
- Brittagus Escape
- The Lightskimmer
- The Nightlords
- Best Laid Plans
- The Siege
27 – Rising Light
Bemel knocked an arrow drawing back his hand and aiming his bow carefully. He let loose a battle cry as the arrow flew from his hand rushing off over his bow and flying across the battlefield striking the Ort general beneath the chin. This sent the head of the arrow crushing up through his jaw and borrowing into his skull. The great oaf stumbled a bit as though he could not comprehend what had just happened. In the hundreds of years since the Winter War, the Orts had forgotten the precision of the elfen archers. As the struck general tried helplessly to claw free the arrow, the finality of the act finally caught up with him and he toppled over like a great tree crashing down upon the ground.
At the sight of their fallen leader the Orts began to route, fear getting the better of them. They charged off in all manner of directions, but the Valkore were quick on their tail hunting them down. They had taken the battlefield but not at an insignificant cost. Bemel looked to either side and there lay a few sasquatch and valkore who had felt the sting of death. But where lie a relative few, there lay hundreds upon hundreds of Orts. The enemy was unprepared for the resistance they posed, and their defenses crumbled under the three prong strike.
Looking across the field he saw that Morrow and Josah were advancing on the fort, and he decided to join them. The Valkore and Sasquatch could get their revenge and track down the straggling backbreakers. Bemel thought that it was time for them to rescue their queen. Prepared for a fight they rushed the open porculus only to find the halls of the keep relatively quiet. “This does not seem right. There should be Ort here as well protecting Baigan.” Bemel said looking over at Josah. The other nodded “I don’t like the feeling of this.”
Morrow held her hammer out in front of her slightly, as if ready to swing at a moments notice. She had a score to settle with Baigan and would not be denied her justice. She lead the pack as they wound through the hallways that echoed with the sounds of battle still raging outside. However oddly she heard no sounds emanating from within. The trio wound down the main corridor leading to the audience chamber, where they assumed Baigan would have set up his makeshift throne room. As they entered the chamber they heard the echo of footsteps coming down a hallway to the west of the chamber.
They paused preparing for battle, as a group of figures came into sight. She could not hardly believe her eyes as the group came into view. She screamed in joy “Merowyn! You’re alive!!” as she saw her sister. The big woman threw down her hammer and ran screaming across the room tackling her sister and wrapping her big arms around her. “Jace, Kale.. you guys are alive too?” She said when she noticed the rest of the group. “I was afraid you two did not make it out safely, that Baigan had maybe finished you off.” She let go of her sister letting her down to the ground.
Merowyn caught her breath panting slightly as she responded. “We are fine, it is good to see you too sis.” Jace ran over to Morrow giving her a big hug, and then noticed behind her standing with Josah as Bemel. Where was Benj, was he not with them? “It is good to see you guys too, where is Benj? Is he with you?” Jace said eagerly. Morrow shook her head slowly “We don’t know where he is, we were seperated at the farmhouse” From behind Jace there came a loud scream. It took them for a moment to realize it was Kale. She had her hands to her sides staring up at the throne, screaming madly.
The entire room turned to look at the throne as well and a few other shrieks happened. There in the throne slumped over to one side, was the headless corpse of a man. Josah dared to walk up to the chair and examine him, and upon further inspection it appears to be Baigan. The body looked drained, as though the life was sapped from it. Josah looked around on the ground and behind the throne, but there was no sign of the mans head. It was missing, but curiously his staff was just laying there topled to the floor.
“I am not sure what the meaning of this is. He attacked us outside and then escaped. We were pursuing him when we ran into you.” Merowyn said with a shocked look upon her face. “Who could have beheaded him in those few moments?” She looked around the chamber expecting to see the attacker still there, but there was nothing. The chamber was empty other than the group that had assembled at the same time. She picked up the staff noticing the orange crystal still intact and shimmering brightly. She carefully twisted the crystal and it slid out of the staff mooring easily. “I believe this is why you all came here?” Mero said holding the crystal carefully in her hands.
“In order to break the bond we need four” She said looking at Morrow, Josah and Bemel. “Lets free her before any more time has wasted.” She held the crystal out in front of her, and slowly the others moved to array themselves with the four cardinal directions. They each reached out holding onto the crystal. “Now concentrate.” She said as she reached out with her mind letting it flow through her body and out through her fingertips and into the crystal. She pictured Queen Bethilda in all her glory, standing there in front of them. Bethilda had a smile upon her face, like she was happy to see her.
Beth and her had always been friends, but she was afraid the other would judge her and her decision to leave the court of Avalon. Instead all she felt from Bethilda was warmthy and happiness. In her mind Bethilda ran over to Merowyn, wrapping her arms around her giving her a bright and warm hug. It was as if the sheer power of summer was radiating from her hug, warming every inch of Merowyn. As she opened her eyes she watched as the crystal pulsed violently. The warmth radiating from it was almost painful as she withdrew her hand.
The crystal hovered there in the air as the others backed away from it. It began to spin around on its axis. It twirled there like a top, as it began to enlarge in size slowly. They stepped back again as the heat coming off of it was almost too much to bear. As they moved away it began to expand rapidly quickly taking the size of a human twirling there on the stone floor. In a flash of light, the crystal cracked along its facets sending a rain of shards down. There in the center of this explosion stood Queen Bethilda with a warm smile upon her face.
“Mom!” cried Jace as he ran across the room wrapping his arms around the queen and squeezing her tight. She returned his embrace collapsing against him. She was weakened but he helped support her body keeping her upright. She said in a weak voice “I’ve waited your entire life for you to call me that” She closed her eyes for a moment, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks. “I only tried to protect you from harm, I always loved you from a far.” Jace found himself crying as well. “I know, its okay, we are back together now”. He squeezed her tighter, and within moments they were joined by Josah, Bemel and Morrow in one giant embrace. It hurt not to have Benj here, but he had most of his family back. Things really were going to be okay.
“We have to get you to safety my Queen.” Josah finally said as they broke away from the embrace. “We have taken the field, but it is not safe here for you. We are on the far side of the Sunwall. There is time for us to catch up once you are safe in Avalon.” He said motioning to Bemel to begin preparing to leave the castle. He turned to Merowyn “Please come with us, you don’t have to stay… but please let us know you are safe.” Merowyn looked at Josah and then again at Morrow “I… I will come with you. But I am needed by my people” she said motioning to the sprites arrayed around her. “They can of course come too, we can talk about what happens next after the queen is safe.” She nodded exchanging glances with Dobin and the rest of the sprites.
The fort would need to be searched, and information gathered. But that would all wait for another day. The Valkore were owed this justice, after being driven from their homelands by the Trogjan. Fort Kraken had been a Valkore outpost, a remnant of the final battles of the Winter War. They should be the ones with the honor of securing the keep Josah thought as he made his way to the sunwall. He had summoned a Hearthship, a much larger versions of hte skimmers designed for transporting a large number of troops. He watched as Morrow and Jace helped Queen Belthilda on board. They had managed to take the field, but he feared this was the opening volley in a new Winter War. He would instead revel in the fact that he had both his sister and his wife back safe, and that would be good enough for today.