Tag Archive: Week 1


Week 1, Chapter 1

Chapter 1

I clutched the ragged sack in my fingers. The stone thrummed in my hand, sang contentedly in my head. The cobbles beneath my bare feet were hard and slick with rain. I ran as quickly as I dared; I wanted no one asking what a scruffy girl was doing out at this hour. Especially here, so near the Magician Square. Its wide expansive splendor was covered with sleeting walls of rain and surrounded by squalor. Father would be furious.

The sack was a lowly thing to carry a blood stone in; they were usually carried in jeweled silk bags and displayed in cages of gold. But I was a lowly apprentice myself, and if the blood stone couldn’t tolerate such treatment, it shouldn’t have called me! I was not a blood magician; their apprentices never lacked for money, to say nothing of the masters.

No, I was an entertainer; we tread the boards in every city in the country and quite a few larger towns, too. When I completed my apprenticeship, I would have a permanent position with the Royal Theater here. Every other entertainer would have needed to fight and claw for such a position, but I was also the King’s bastard daughter and so even if I was denied entrance to the Magician’s Guild no matter how I begged and pleaded, I could never be denied the theater.

I tossed my wet, bedraggled hair out of my eyes and glanced behind me. A few inspectors, some magicians in their long black robe and some people who looked like they had wealth to hire a magician or two. No one was paying me any mind; people never noticed beggars.

I slipped from the square into a side street and slowed, panting. Houses, here, that magicians lived in.  I shoved the sack inside my shirt, safe and out of sight. Most of the houses here belonged to magicians and all of them were surrounded by a sparkling ring, like a moat. Magical protections; I knew enough to pretend I did not see them.

I kept my head down, wet hair over my face and started to run again. Past the houses, past the market after, I turned into Beggars Lane. Beggars Lane was a narrow little street, little more than an ally.  Aunt Sebina’s shop was here. It was a spindly building, drafty in winter, hot in the summer. People said she was a witch, but I had never seen any sign of it. She was just a herbalist. I loved it here, the smell of fresh herbs and scented lotions. Aunt Sebina had closed up shop and gone north for a week to visit someone. She had left me the key, because she knew how much of a refuge the shop was for me.

It took only moments to get inside. I shut the door against the storm and just rested against it. I had never been more grateful to Aunt Sebina.

I breathed deeply and took the stone out of my bosom. It was hard inside and when I dumped it into my palm, it glowed a beautiful blue, as if someone had poured the sky inside. It was as large as my little finger, polished to a mirror finish and . . . was it pulsing? I stared at it, fascinated. It warmed in my fingers and a golden light pulsed inside, like a miniature sun. Its song grew louder in my head, gained the joy of a Noel morning recital.

“Well, hello there,” I whispered to it.

Magicians generally named their stones. What would I name mine?

“A bath first,” I told it. “I am wet and cold. Than we go back to the theater.”

The stone came into the bath with me and I nestled it among her collection of lotions and creams. It looked as out of place as a tomato in a bushel of onions. After, I dressed in my normal theater clothes – pink cotton sleeveless shirt, trousers and leather slippers. I didn’t wear skirts so much unless it was a costume. Aunt Sebina didn’t have a mirror so I was forced to braid my hair around my head by touch. It was hopelessly curly and there was no other way to deal with it. I dumped my beggar rags out back. I could always get more if I needed them.

I sat on Aunt Sebina’s bed, stone in my lap. “What do I do with you?” I asked it. It hadn’t stopped its humming since I’d taken it, but it didn’t answer me. Not that I thought it would. “We have to go back to the theater.” I tucked it back inside my shirt, slipped on the oiled leather poncho I had stored by the door and left.

I was soaked to my skin by the time I got back. All of the city’s theaters were in Theater Circle and the Royal Theater was its queen. The Royal Theater was a grand affair, all rosy marble and silvered glass, and domed like the king’s own bald pate. Delicate balconies ringed it; several restaurants were housed on the top floor and the theater’s own musicians provided entertainment. The façade was covered with carved reliefs with scenes from classical plays; the inside had paintings and tapestries of them.

I entered through the side. The main stage was just down the hall and tonight’s performance must have been coming to an end, because the audience erupted into applause. My room, sadly, was in the bottom level. Well, four of us apprentices slept in the same room. I slipped inside as quick as I could, before they could come streaming out.

Not so much as a candle was lit and I had to make my way to bed by touch. Luckily, I was on the bottom bunk, the on the left wall. The wall was smooth beneath my fingers and though I could not see it, I knew it was white washed. Directly above was the training stage; the instruments classroom, the voice classroom, and the library were up there too. Our small yard was right outside; we learned acrobatics there. There were rooms below the other classrooms, too. I was glad I wasn’t in any of them; music lessons tended to get loud. The window was along top of the wall, between the two bunks, tiny and shuttered against the rain. Our trunks rested under it. Their tops were flat so they doubled as tables. Grateful I managed to get my bunk without banging a leg against them, I felt for the sleeping robe I had left folded on my bed. The stone came into bed with me.

* * *

“Up! Lazy Apprentices!”

I awoke to Mistress Raine’s scarred face inches from mine. “Mistress. Morning.”

“Morning indeed, Ising,”she said. Mistress Raine had a posh accent and it went oddly with her face. “Up you get. A messenger has arrived to take you to your father, and as such you are excused from classes.”

My heart skipped a beat. Did my father know I had the stone? How could he know? “W-what?”

“A messenger. From your father,” she repeated.

“Oh lucky princess Isi,” called Rose from the bunk above me. “She will miss Master Elim screaming at her.”

“Lucky,” I muttered. “Where is the messenger?”

Mistress Raine favored me with an irritated look. “He is upstairs in the Nightsky Lounge.”

Nightsky, named for the sheer number of theater stars that relaxed there, was the best lounge in the whole theater and this messenger must have impressed someone a lot to be allowed up there.

“You will dress and go up to receive up him,” she went on, studying each of my roommates in turn. “The rest of you have class shortly.”

“Yes, Mistress,” they all said.

Here I only had one set of clothes my father would approve and it had been sitting at the bottom of my trunk for months. I dug it out and sat staring at its wrinkles while the others dressed around me. I ignored them; I had gotten used to the sight half-naked girls around me.

“Aww, poor Isi’s dress has a crinkle in it. Maybe – ”

“Shut up, Asa.”

“Oh, you, well, princess -”

“Leave her alone, Asa.”

I shot a grateful look at Bark. She was a magician’s daughter and my best friend. She smiled at me. “I will fix your hair.”

Well, no help for it. Father would just have to accept it and put it on. The dress was a couple seasons out of date, puffed sleeves instead of the cap sleeves that everyone wore today and pale pink instead of the brighter colors that had become popular in last few months. Bark did something to my hair, weaving ribbons into it, and winding it about my head like it was a circlet.

The messenger was really my step-brother. Father’s wife’s son by a previous marriage and a duke’s heir as well. He wore his Captain’s uniform and since he never came to the capital, probably Mistress Raine had not recognized him. She would have said if she had. Ising, a prince has come to see you. I’d never had much to do with him; he didn’t approve of me and I didn’t really care if he did. But he was handsome enough and the girls were probably all in a tizzy over him. God knew they had him so surrounded.

I cleared my throat. “Ladies. My Lord.”

He looked up, away from Tira. She tossed her glorious black hair and said, “Isi! How nice to see you. I am told your classes for today are canceled. Surely and this -”

“We need to go. It’s not a good idea to keep my father waiting.”

She paled. “Your – his majesty asked . . .”

“Yes.” I smiled sweetly, enjoying her discomfort.

Kam extracted himself from her arms. “Yes, he did. I am afraid we must go. Come, Ising.” He held out his arm to me, like we were going out.

I eyed him. But I decided to be polite and take his arm.  The silk of his uniform was warm under my fingers. “I have a carriage waiting.”

“Of course you do.” I turned, following him out.

There really was carriage, and right outside the front gates, too. An official carriage, complete with matched horses and the King’s sigil in black and purple, used only by people on the King’s business.

I am on schedule! 267 words today! Luckily, it even seems like a good place to end a chapter.

This week’s total word count comes out to 1745. My weekly goal was around 1,400 so I am ahead. Yah for me! 🙂 Only 68000 words to go. That’s a large number and a little depressing. I am not thinking about it. I will not think about it. I will not think about it. I will not think about it.

I chose Ising for the girl’s name. Isi for short. Isi sounds vaguely Egyptian to me, which is not what I intended. But I like the name, so I am sticking with it. Ising is a combo of Lisimba and Delling. Isi from Lisimba and ing from Delling. But Isi since it does sound vaguely Egyptian to me, I suspect I will take Egypt’s landscape and modify it for my purposes. That is, to make the land fit the plot (what there is of it so far). But I don’t think I will use Egyptian culture, mostly because I know nothing of it and at present I can up make up whatever I feel will suit best. Because it is the still the beginning I am not really locked into any particular type or style of mythology. I will figure that out as I go along. I might use some modified form of Egypt’s ancient myths, though.

Week 1, Day 6: 360 words

360 words today! Yah! I think I made up for my wordless weekend. 🙂 I needed about 70 more and 360 – 70 is 290 so I am still good.

But I find now I need a name for my girl’s best friend.  Or the girl she thinks is her best friend anyway; I have a sneaking feeling she has a secret agenda. There is going to be a betrayal at some point, yes, I feel it coming. But why are names so difficult to come up with? 😦

Week 1, Day 5: 331 words

Well, after 2 days of no writing, I finally sat myself down and wrote. 331 words today. I would happy with that, except it doesn’t quite make up for the last 2 days. Need about 70 more words before I do that. But I wrote extra the first couple days so maybe . . . Anyway, I still need a good name for the stone. Names for other people, too, who I expect will show up shortly. The mother, drama master, court musician . . .

Sunday and again, no words written. I hate weekends. I need to learn to get rid of distractions for a couple hours and just write. But, on the other hand, I did get a new wii today.

Week 1, Day 3: 0 words

No words written at all yesterday. It was day 3 of week 1 and also a Saturday. The whole saturdayness of the day wrecked my writing plan. Gonna have to make up the word count in the next few days so my very first weekly word count is not destroyed.

Week 1, Day 2: 378 pages

378 pages today, which exceeds my daily goal. Yah for me!

Still haven’t decided on a name for the girl, but I am leaning toward Lisimba or Della or Delling. Lisimba is a Tanzanian girl name that means lion. Della is an English girl name meaning of the nobility. Delling is a unisex Scandinavian name that means fascinating.Maybe a Lismba and Delling combo. Lisdell. Lisiell. Dellsim. Something like that anyway. I did discover today that she – whatever her name eventfully is! – has wavy waist-length black hair.

Also, I need a name for a stone. Who knew stones could have names?

Week 1, Day 1: 400 pages

400 pages today. I met and exceeded my 200 words a day goal. 🙂 Yah! I am off to a good start.

My protagonist just obtained something she shouldn’t have. How, I have no idea. I should probably figure that out soon, otherwise it will undoubtedly come back and bit me on the ass. She is running and it’s raining heavily.

Not bad for today, even if I don’t have a name for her yet. Not sure what kind of name would suit her. Something not that girly, I don’t think, but probably a little dramatic.  Maybe I could name her for a weed, a pretty one that’s imposable to get rid off. Possibly a carnivorous plant. Hmm. I like the carnivorous plant idea.