Friday, November 20, 2015

NaNoWriMo Epic Fail

For a little fun, I decided to try the National November Writing Month challenge (again). This time I was not prepared with any sort of story idea or outline. I used some writing prompts and plot generators and created a basis of an idea. This was, by the way, a terrible idea.  However, I thought I would share with the world, my most epic fail at writing a story.

In the Elven city of Slvenia, a young alchemist is given the task of finding the fabled weapons that will end the war between elves and humans. Adrianna discovers she has a surprising trait that allows her to escape with her life while undergoing her quest.

Zach knocks on the door of the quaint bungalow, “Adrianna Snow, I have a missive for you of high importance.”
From behind the door she calls out, “Come in.”
Adrianna can’t help herself when Zach enters the room her pulse quickens and her cheeks flush. She hopes he doesn’t notice the latter.
“What is it? Who is it from?”

“Emperor Banghaldi, and here, read for yourself.”

Grasping the envelope, Adrianna notes the seal of the Emperor. Turning it over in her hands, she rips the end off and slides out the letter. Adrianna’s hands shake as she reads:

                You are hereby summoned for a quest of great importance. You must pack your things an army
                Detail will be accompanying you at 0800 tomorrow morning. Your quest is to find the 3
                Enchanted weapons stolen from our capital 600 years ago. As a skilled navigator of the wild, I
                Trust that you will have no problem traversing the terrain.

Adrianna can scarcely believe her eyes. The fabled enchanted weapons are prophesied to be found by someone of great power and ability.
Her brows furrowed together, “What do you know of this?”
“Nothing, I swear to you, what does it say?”
“I am to find the enchanted weapons of Slvenia….”
Zach snorts, “Oh, you’re serious!”
“Yes, please say you’ll come with me. Even though it says I will have an army detail for my mission, I need someone I can trust.”

“No, absolutely not and I don’t think you should go either. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!”

“Right I will just tell the emperor that I can’t go.”
He brushes and errant hair out of her face and looks at her sternly. She finds the subtle gesture sweet but she can tell by the creases on his face that he is determined to stay behind.
“No. No! You’re not going to do this to me. This is important. What if I never see --“ She cuts off before she can finish her sentence. She realized that she’d revealed too much of her feelings for him. Not that it was a secret but it made her feel vulnerable. What was she thinking? She crossed her arms over her chest determined to put on a brave front now.
“Then leave. I’ve got packing to do.” She could feel the tears threatening to spill over so she turned on her heel and went to her room to find her essentials. She rifled through her closet until she found her satchel, water bottle, compass and hiking boots. By the time she returned to the living room there was no sign of Zach. She dropped everything unceremoniously on the couch and went to the bathroom to stare at her now bloodshot eyes. She then ran her hands under the faucet and splashed water on her face, the spot where he had touched her skin seemed to linger like she could still feel his presence. At that thought she scrubbed her face as if to wash it away.

The next morning, the sound of heavy footsteps on her porch woke her before the rapping of the knocker on the door. She looked at her alarm clock in disgust, why hadn’t it gone off? She quickly got ready and answered the door with her satchel already thrown over her shoulder.
“Ma’am, I am Colonel Brigant and this is Sargent Levy.” He said gesturing with his thumb to the stern looking young man next to him. Behind the two military officers was a woman with straggly brown hair speckled with flecks of gray. She wore pointy shoes and was carrying a wand. Next to her stood two pixies.
Noticing her gaze, Colonel Smith cleared his throat, “The Emperor wanted to make sure you were well protected, along with Miss Sharanel here there will be two more witches that we need to pick up. As for the pixies, we have Glimmer and Hope.”
Adrianna nodded her head in acknowledgement of the brief introduction.
“Well, gentlemen shall we be on our way then?” Adrianna said as she stepped out of her doorway, locking it closed with the swipe of her hand on the sensor.
“So, not that I mind, but why did the emperor send a letter, why not call or email it to me?”
“The Emperor did not want anything to jeopardize this mission and these days you can’t be too careful with computers. Who would think to look for a hand-written letter delivered by a simple apprentice? At any rate the Donda sisters are to the north of Slvenia’s borders.”
Adrianna’s boots crackled on the small pebbles on the ground as they walked the rest of the way in silence. She was deep in though when they approached the Donda sisters’ house. The red house stood in stark contrast to those around the area. The colonel reached up to knock on the door just as he did the door swung wide. Inside stood two portly women with ruddy cheeks and frazzled brown hair. They were snickering to one another about some inside joke. “Come in, come in.” The women gestured with their hands waving, Adrianna took a step towards them but the colonel held her back. “We don’t have time for this, are you coming or not?” Their smiles disappeared from their faces and even Adrianna had to wince at the harshness of his words. “Very well, Wilhelmina grab the book.” The sister scurried off to grab the book from the depths of the house beyond Adrianna’s vision. “I’m Gertrude,” the woman smiled her crooked grin and stuck out a chunky hand towards Adrianna which she accepted with a firm shake. Adrianna wiped her hand on her on leather pants afterwards to get rid of the moisture that had been transferred by the woman’s clammy hand. Gertrude did not appear to take notice. Within minutes Wilhelmina had returned with a leather bound book. Pages protruded in all different directions and there were several tabs sticking out of the top evidently marking the more important spells. The front had a snake that seemed to eat its own tail on the cover and for a moment Adrianna could’ve sworn that she saw it move. With a huff, the Colonel asked, “Are we ready now?” The twins stepped out from the doorway and closed it behind them. The colonel then turned to address Adrianna, “I assume you know where we’re going?” Adrianna shifted from one foot to the other feeling unsure of herself, she considered her words, “The thing is very few people know where the enchanted weapons actually are. It is rumored to be kept in the dragon stronghold. Since few people are brave enough to even attempt breaching Ungard and live to tell the tale, even the location of the stronghold is not well known.” The Colonel opened his mouth to speak but Adrianna held up her hands, “I happen to know a dwarf by the name of Elderich who might be willing to part with a map with the location of the Dragon Stronghold and even possibly details of layout of the stronghold itself. Which means we must first travel to the West of the Volumard mountains where the cave-dwelling dwarves reside. This is an area that I am quite familiar with, but” Adrianna steadied herself for what she had to say next, “we are going to need something to barter with to get them to part with that map.” The colonel had a look of disgust on his face, elves were not known for exchanging pleasantries with dwarves. However, the expression was fleeting as he realized the necessity of the exchange if their quest had any hopes of succeeding. “What did you have in mind?” Adrianna like this even less, but she knew there was only one thing that dwarves held in high regard and that was honor. This is not a commodity that one can trade obviously but Adrianna did have something in mind that she figured would have to make do and she knew the colonel would not approve. “There is a dwarf held in custody by the Emperor for crimes against our land. He is not due for release for nearly another ten years. However, if we bring him to Raqqa with us, Elderich would be duty-bound to grant us a favor.” The Colonel was clenching his jaw and Adrianna could see that his patience, what little he had to begin with, was wearing very thin. “You want me to get the Emperor to release Gonrath the thief?” Adrianna nodded her head, “I have never believed that he was ever guilty myself, but yes I feel that would be the safest bet if we are to get what we need from Elderich.” The Colonel made noise that showed his distaste for this business, “I am liking this quest less and less. Very well, we shall present your idea to the Emperor and see if he will release the mongrel. Is there anything else you’ll require?” he sneered. Adrianna chose to ignore his attitude, “Will we be riding horses? Although for the terrain we’ll be traversing we might do better with mules.” The Colonel made no attempt to hide his disapproval as he made an exaggerated eye roll at her. “Yes, yes of course. The stable boy was supposed to meet us at the edge of Maldar with our mounts. However, I’m sure that we can get him to fetch us some mules instead.” The Colonel turned to the Sergeant, “You should take care of that while we are dealing with the Emperor.” The Sergeant didn’t even bother to reply but immediately began heading off to the other side of town where the stables were located. The remainder of the crew headed towards the palace.
Adrianna sighed at the sight of the palace, tall spires seemed to touch the sky and its curvy architecture was reminiscent of builders of the golden era. The Colonel addressed the sentries placed before the draw bridge, “Colonel Brigant and company, we need to speak with the Emperor about an urgent matter of state.” The sentry to the left did not bother to respond but merely signaled to the guard atop the wall to lower the bridge. Within seconds the bridge was creaking as it was lowered to the ground. The Colonel led the way in. Once inside the Colonel directed them to the throne room. Here the Emperor sat at his station as if he had nothing better to do than to wait on patrons. Colonel briefly explained the situation to Emperor Banghaldi. The Emperor’s face was unreadable as he absorbed the information. “Adrianna, do you realize what you are asking of me?” he didn’t wait for a response as he continued, “This dwarf” he practically spat the word out as if it were a foul piece of meat, “made a mockery of our court, and denied all allegations despite having been caught red-handed! He is to complete his sentence in the dungeon with all the other vermin who dare to defy our laws.” Adrianna took that to mean that her only bargaining chip with the dwarves was gone, but the Emperor surprised everyone, “Very well, I’ll release him but he is to be banished from Slvenia henceforth never to return, and I shall find you liable if he does.” Adrianna gulped, not liking the sound of the terms but knew they were a necessity if the Emperor was to maintain his dignity. The Emperor waved a hand at one of the guards stationed along the wall who had until this point been so still Adrianna had thought it perhaps just a suit of armor. The soldier turned on his heel and headed down the hallway his armor clanging with each step. Once he was out of sight, the Emperor continued, “Now, tell me more about this plan of yours. How sure are you that you can get this map? How do you know it to be in existence?” Adrianna did not expect this line of questioning and was taken aback. She was unsure how to go about explaining her relationship with the dwarves being friendlier than any other elf in the city. She began to explain her tale beginning 3 winters ago. She had been out looking for herbs for her alchemy when she encountered a band of dwarves camping at the base of the Mountains. Within moments of her being spotted by the dwarves she was surrounded. They claimed that the territory she was harvesting from belonged to the cave-dwelling dwarves and that if she knew what was good for her she would leave, promptly. Not to be dissuaded from her task she struck a deal with the dwarves. It had not escaped her attention that a member of their group was mortally wounded and she happened to have with her the ingredients of a powerful healing potion. The injured dwarf was none other than the young Elderich who she planned to strike up the bargain with. She summed up her tale by stating, “I saved him from losing a limb and since that day we have been friends.” The Emperor looked as through squinted eyes at her as if he expected there to be more to this story, giving the animosity held between the races. However, he did not question her further as the guard had returned with a manacled Gonrath in tow. The dwarf was haggard looking with his beard matted and his clothing tattered, he looked as if he had not bathed in years (and smelled it too.) Brigant clapped his hands together as he felt that the matter was finally settled. He walked over to the guard holding Gonrath’s chains and took them off his hands. Adrianna looked rather sheepish as she blurted out, “Aren’t you going to un-cuff him?” Everyone stilled and gawked at Adrianna. The silence was deafening until the Emperor began to laugh, “Oh but of course! Aren’t you afraid that he will turn tail and run and then you will be left with no bargaining chip for this map?” Adrianna stared down at her feet trying to think of a way to get them to release the dwarf and ensure that he would not take off the first chance he got. She realized the unfortunate necessity of it all, “As usual you’re quite right, it was foolish of me to think otherwise.” The Emperor was still chuckling at her naiveté, once he regained his composure he gestured for their party to leave with a wave of his hand. They travelled in silence the rest of the way out of the palace and over the drawbridge once again. Once they reached the edge of the forest, they were greeted by the sergeant and the stable boy. As per her request there were mules for everyone except the dwarf. Again Adrianna thought to speak up on his behalf but bit her lip instead. Once they were all mounted, Adrianna took the lead heading towards the mountain pass. There journey would not be easy as the terrain got more difficult the farther they went. They road in eerie silence for the most part with the Colonel barking out orders from time to time. They stopped at a stream and Adrianna filled up her canteen. The others in the group followed suit. The journey would not be made in one day, so as the sun crept lower into the horizon the Colonel called for them to stop and set up camp. He tethered the dwarf to a post and made everyone promise that come their watch they would keep an eye on him so that he didn’t try to escape. The downtrodden look on Gonrath’s face was heart wrenching for Adrianna. She had never heard a dwarf be so quiet, they are by nature a boisterous race.
Adrianna was exhausted, her legs felt like lead and her body ached. They had been walking alongside their mules so as to not over burden them before their trek up the mountainside. While, it was true that Adrianna had made this walk before it wasn’t something that she did on a regular basis and she’d never before pushed herself to go so far without a break. Taking off her hiking boots felt wonderful. She stretched and laid out her sleeping mat. Even with it though she could feel the cold ground beneath her. After eating some bread, cheese, and jerky she laid down. She would be on the late night watch. She closed her eyes and mulled over the events of the day. She was still irritated by her conversation with Zach from the day before and she found that Gonrath weighed heavily on her mind as well. Despite her exhaustion it took quite some time before sleep finally came to her. She woke with a start as the Colonel tapped her on her shoulder. She felt as if she had just closed her eyes. Once she got her bearings again she sat up to take her place at the watch. She walked over to the tree where the Colonel had stood over Gonrath. The dwarf was not asleep but sitting upright staring into the forest. Once it was obvious that the Colonel had fallen asleep, his loud snores drifting through the air, Gonrath began to ask her questions. “So when will I be a free dwarf, eh?” Adrianna winced, she wanted to tell him that he was free now but looked at the chains around his wrists and thought better of it. Dirt and grime still covered the dwarf and she offered him her canteen to clean himself up some. “Do expect me to do that with these on?” He pulled tight his chains expanding his hands for effect. With a sigh Adrianna looked around at the group all seemed deep in sleep. “Listen, if I unchain you, you have to promise you won’t go anywhere ok?” The dwarf eyed her suspiciously, “Wouldn’t dream of it darlin’” She looked at the Colonel still snoring away, and the keys hung on his sword stuck into the ground beside him. Moving as stealthily as possible, Adrianna tip-toed her way through the campsite. Without realizing it she began holding her breath so as not to make more noise as she got closer. She carefully extracted the keys and then hurriedly returned to Gonrath. She hesitated just a moment and looked at his face again seeing there the resignation in his eyes. She unlocked his shackles and he flexed his wrists, rubbing them gingerly. Adrianna noticed how raw they really were as he began using the canteen to poor water over them.
“So, Darlin’, why are you so eager to help me?”
Adrianna mulled this over for a minute, unsure of what to say. “It’s just common decency for another living being.”
“I see,” he said his voice trailing off as if he meant to say more.
“I’m not like most elves I guess, I don’t hold any animosity towards your race. I don’t understand it frankly.” Adrianna felt like she needed to apologize for her entire race.
What happened next completely took her by surprise. He knocked her alongside her head with the canteen, she fell over stunned. He was immediately on top of her striking her again and again on the head until darkness overcame her.
“Damn it! Wake up!!” The Colonels angry words seemed far away.
“Oh dear,” one of the Donda twins.
Adrianna felt someone touching her hair, their fingers coming back sticky.
“Blood,” sergeant said simply.
Water was dumped on her face. Finally Adrianna found some strength to open her eyes. Still everything looked bleary. She blinked repeatedly trying to bring things into focus.
“A spell?” Sharanel asked.
The Colonel huffed. “Just do it already!”
Pulling a wand from her sleeve, Sharanel began to weave it to and fro while chanting in some foreign language. When She finished she pointed the tip towards Adrianna’s head a light green wisp floated towards her and she felt a warmness spread from her head to her toes. Things were finally coming into focus for Adrianna, she sat up but still had a wicked headache and wanted desperately to go back to sleep again.
“What happened?” Adrianna began.
The Colonel was exasperated, “You tell us!”
“I… the.. Gonrath…?” she stammered.
“You idiot!” Colonel exclaimed too frustrated for many words.
“It would appear that Gonrath over-powered you and made an escape,” Wilhelmina offered.
“And the keys?” Colonel pointed to the keys which lay in the dirt close to Adrianna’s feet.
“I just thought…” Adrianna began again.
“No, you didn’t think, that’s the problem.” The Colonel’s fury not losing any momentum. “What are we supposed to do now? He was our bargaining chip, you had better have another way of getting ahold of that map!”
Adrianna looked down at her hands unwilling to meet his gaze. “We… I can try just asking them for it. I mean, maybe they’ll be nice and just give it to us.”
“And what happens when we get there, and they deny us the map? Have you got another plan?”
Adrianna was silent, she didn’t have any idea what they would do. She was still trying to wrap her brain around the fact that Gonrath had betrayed her trust. Absent-mindedly she put her hand to her head where he had hit her, the pain was gone now but it was still wet and matted with blood. She looked to Sharanel wanting to express her gratitude for the healing spell but the Colonel was still ranting.
“…Didn’t understand what the Emperor saw in you in the first place!”
“I could compel them.” Gertrude said simply.
“How?” the Colonel and Adrianna said in unison.
“Compel. It’s a spell that compels people to do what they’re told to do. It’s short-acting but powerful.”
Adrianna had to snicker at the simplicity of it. The Colonel, of course, was skeptical but at least they had a plan now.
“Alright folks, let’s move!” The Colonel barked the command and everyone became busy cleaning up the campsite, gathering their things. Adrianna was still bothered by Gonrath’s actions and she wondered if she would encounter him again at the dwarves’ stronghold. She felt that if they were to have any success at all they had to beat Gonrath to the punch. They couldn’t allow him to start spreading tales about the poor treatment that he had received at the hands of elves. She had started to build a rapport with them and she didn’t want to see that ruined. Soon they would begin their trek up the mountain-side and for that they would need to use the mules, the terrain was too treacherous. Even though Elves are notoriously sure footed. Her musings took a dark turn when she retrieved her now blood-stained canteen from the ground. The canteen had been given to her by her father and it was made of a sturdy composite metal that kept the water as cool as it was in the stream. Now she worried that instead of being reminded of that fond moment with her father it would instead be of the treachery at the hands of Gonrath. For the second time in two days she felt tears threatening to spill. She did a sharp intake of breath to try and steady herself. Before she packed her mat up she ate some more of her cheese and bread, breakfast of champions she thought to herself. As she stuffed her mat into her satchel she could see that everyone else was pretty much ready to go as well. Most seemed to be waiting on her, she was after all, the navigator.
“Once we’re clear of the edge of the forest, we’ll start noticing the change in terrain. The mountain sloping upwards on our right. We’re not going all the way up the mountain but we still need to travel around it to get to the dwelling of the dwarves. Their on the Northeastern face of the mountainside. I would suggest we use the mules for this portion of our journey, it will be easier.”
At that they all began to prepare the mules for mounting and get on them. Once that was over they headed towards the mountains. Riding the mules was almost as grueling as walking. Their thighs burning from the stress of holding on and swaying back and forth. No one spoke much except the pixies but they kept to themselves. By the time the sun had crept up towards the middle of the sky, the Colonel had seemed to finally calm down. No longer casting angry glances back at Adrianna. Perhaps he had simply given up seeing that it was doing him no good.  Soon after that Adrianna felt the pull of sleep calling her, she had only rested a short period of time the night before and most of it had been from when she had a concussion. Just as the thought had crossed her mind, the others were pulling to a stop behind her. She circled back around to where the others had begun to make a temporary camp site. They gathered rocks around some tinder and placed a spit over top of that. She wondered at what they had planned to put on the spit, when one of the Donda twins pulled out a dead squirrel from her pack. Adrianna thought better of that and decided that she would rather have more of her jerky. Taking her time to chew it thoroughly, once she had finished her belly full, she felt even more like falling asleep. She propped herself up against her satchel and took a short nap. Soon after she was woken by the call of a vulture who mistook the group for dead. Adrianna took a pebble from beside her and tossed it at the bird which promptly took flight. For some reason it surprised her that the rest of the group had allowed her to sleep but then she quickly realized why, they were all deep in slumber as well. Adrianna then became very worried as she tried to wake her fellow group members up and they remained unfazed. Alarm prickled her senses now, and she began to dart her eyes to her surroundings trying to make sense of what was going on. She wondered why she was the only one unaffected. Then she realized that she was the only one who had not eaten the squirrel stew that was made. Someone had poisoned them. She placed her hand in front of their mouths, but they were still breathing. Someone had wanted them to sleep but didn’t want to kill them? She was thoroughly confused as to how this came to be, when Gonrath appeared from behind the edge of nearest corner. Her brows furrowed as she tried to make sense of it all. Just as she was thinking this a sharp pinch in her neck took her by surprise and the last thing she saw was Gonrath holding up a pipe tube his mouth, he had hit her with a poisonous dart of some sort. Then darkness.
Time was meaningless. The sun was now fully in the sky but Adrianna couldn’t help but wonder what day it was. She now had a massive headache and was nauseated. Whatever ingredient Gonrath had used to knock her out had left some ill side effects. Gonrath was standing over her. She couldn’t have been more surprised. He held a single finger to his mouth shushing her. He squatted down to meet her gaze and whispered in her ear.
“Don’t say a word.”
Worried of what he had planned she obeyed despite her burning desire to ask questions.

“I had to be certain that you weren’t going to fight me back.” He said by way of explanation. As if this were some ordinary circumstance. “There’s something that I need that I left here without the other day, and you’re going to give it to me, or else.”  Adrianna was having a great deal of trouble concentrating with whatever drugs still apparently in her system but she nodded all the same. “My pardon, from the emperor, where is it?” Now things were becoming clear, in order for Gonrath to return to his people he would need to show proof of his innocence or that he had served his time, for his honor to be restored. Otherwise the dwarves might not accept him back within their ranks. However, Adrianna was certain that they were already aware that his capture had been under false pretenses. She presumed that Gonrath was unaware of this fact though or he wouldn’t be asking for the papers. With her head spinning she sat up and motioned for the dwarf to move to the side. He did as she bade, and she went to the Colonels mule where his packs hung. She rummaged through until she found what he was looking for, the Emperors decree that he should be made free. “You should come with us.” She stated in a matter of fact. He gestured with his knife that made it clear he wanted no part in that and she decided that it would be in her best interest to letter the matter drop and hope that Gonrath would just let them go on their merry way.