Endless

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Endless

Post by Lonin on Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:40 am

woop post stuff. Very Happy
No one will read it this time, either. But Lonin don't care. Very Happy

Unfinished and not edited nanowrimo story.

The shadows stalked her.
She could hear screams, everyone was running, shouting, screaming. She just stood, staring as they floated closer, morbidly curious. A man knocked her flying as he ran past, he didn't even stop to see if she was alright. She wasn't sure he'd noticed.
As she picked herself up hands roughly grabbed her shoulders and propelled her through the crowd. She didn't know who the hands belonged to, didn't dare look, just let them direct her.
She wasn't as scared as she thought she'd be. She was quite calm, not screaming and shouting and crying like the people around her, desperately clinging to their families with tears streaking their cheeks. Most were hurriedly dressed, some weren't dressed at all and huddled beneath thin blankets.
The hands pushed her to a long building jammed with far more terrified people than the place had been designed for. They stood packed together in every available space. yet whoever the hands belonged to had power and authority as the scared people made room for them to pass comfortably. The hands never said anything, just pushed her ever onwards.
It was dark inside. A few had created lights, peacefully bobbing above them but they were barely brighter than a candle and only served to make the rooms look even stranger. Shadow people ran and screamed the same as regular people, but contorted into bizarre elongated shapes across the walls, the floor, the ceiling. All the tables had been pushed away to make room, possibly propped against doors to provide an extra barrier. Everything smelled of smoke and fear.
No one had been expecting this. No one was prepared.
They'd been sent messages about it, she'd heard her parents and the others having hushed conversations about the shadows, worried looks on their faces when they thought no one was listening. No one had expected them to arrive so quickly. No one had expected them to arrive at all.
She'd seen the maps, her father and brother had taught her to read one. Everything was a tiny dot all the way on the other side of Edge, as far away from the Marshes as possible. There were hundreds of towns and cities between them. Thousands of people and months of travel stood in the way, still the shadows had come. The shadows didn't care about their maps or distances or obstacles. She could see that now. The shadows didn't care about anything.
"You need to stay in here Emen, where it's safe," the hands told her. Their owner crouched in front of her, all fuzzy dark beard and wrinkled smile but there was more worry in his near black eyes than anyone else in Everything. No amount of smiles could hide it.
The hands left her standing in a corner. She watched his broad back disappear through the crowd, dark brown jerkin detailed with golden thread and a golden badge on the breast. Despite all the people she was alone, and felt the first flicker of fear in her heart and stomach. She sat down quickly and held her knees, burying her face and closing her eyes. Maybe if she was small enough the shadows wouldn't notice her, would leave her alone...
"Emen!" a woman shouted her in a voice from the far south, and she lifted her head but couldn't see her mother through all the people.
"Are you ok?" her father called, his deep voice carrying across the room with an accent much more suited to their northern town. Behind him, her brother came running and wrapped her arms around him. She knew it was wicked, but she was much happier to see Heran than her mother or father. She knew he'd keep her safe, he'd promised.
Screams erupted from the other side of the room and all the floating lights went out. Everyone crushed against her corner, pressing her and her brother closer to the wall as the shadows entered. Emen had a small window to see them through people's legs. They floated gracefully across the room, not seeming at all dangerous. Their skin, or clothes, or whatever it was, rippled like solid water and seemed to suck in all light.
One approached their corner, seeming to glide through anyone who stood in their way. Whoever they passed through dropped to the floor, she didn't know if they'd died and she didn't think she wanted to check. She just stayed in place, surrounded by her brother and her parents.
One stopped in front of them, a good head higher than her mother and lowered itself to the floor to stare directly at Emen. It's eyes were strangely beautiful, she thought. She still didn't think they were frightening, not on their own. They shimmered and seemed to change to a different shade of purple every few seconds. First a delicate lilac then the exact colour of the roses that grew in her garden, then a barely visible amethyst against its dark face.
From somewhere in its floating watery form it stretched out a clawed hand toward her face. She wasn't afraid but strangely calm.
There was a shout, a roar and a flash of light.

The sun woke her gently. Emen sat up and stretched. She'd been having dreams for weeks, months, worrying about today.
She dressed quickly and headed downstairs towards the smell of breakfast. Her mother always cooked the most wonderful things today. Comfort food she called it, but her southern dishes were nothing but wildly exotic in Everything. No matter how often she cooked them they always tasted of sunny, faraway places that Emen could only dream of visiting.
Her mother, Elocaro, was forever promising to take them to her home city of Obryn, had been for as long as she could remember. Promising to show them the fountains of coloured water, expertly sculpted to look like certain animals so detailed travellers often thought they were real. The endless fruit orchards filled with olives, pomegranates, lemons. And the sea. Emen's favourite stories were of the sea. Not their cold northern sea filled with jagged rocks and sharp, treacherous drops, often too dangerous for even the most seasoned sailors and definitely not somewhere to swim. The southern seas were warm and calm and filled with bright fish bigger than she was, but tamer than any dog or cat. Her mother often told them of her pet fish who would come when she called it every morning, waiting to be fed by hand.
The journey was too dangerous, however, not with her younger sisters travelling with them too. So Emen kept on dreaming of the south to keep her warm at night.
Elocaro had her breakfast ready by the time she sat at the table. Her mother's long, soft, dark hair was held in place by flowers and gems that matched her delicate and flattering gown. Another thing she'd brought with her from the south over twenty years ago.
Unlike every other year, her mother was sitting silently staring at her bowl instead of comforting and assuring her. Maybe she'd given up hoping like Emen had. This year was her last chance. If she didn't get an Ender today she'd never see her family again.
"Are you excited little sister?" Heran burst in with a smile on his face. Her brother looked exactly like their mother, deceptively delicate with darker skin and the same soft curly hair and eyes. He easily towered over Emen, their mother and nearly everyone else. It wasn't surprising that nearly everybody quietly questioned if Elocaro was being honest about his father. Heran did not look anything like his father or his sisters, much to Emen's jealousy. The only thing she shared with her mother was her eyes.
"I am ecstatic Heran," Emen rolled her eyes but smiled slightly.
"Me too, after today I won't have to see you anymore."
"Heran sit down and shut up," her father called and pushed the boy into a chair beside Emen. "Your sister is not going anywhere. I got my Ender late, and your grandmother was nineteen too when she got hers. It'll happen today, it has to."
Risuro, her father promptly began to eat, his wiry hair falling into his face. He'd never been very good with words of comfort.
While Heran looked like their mother, Emen and her younger sisters were very much like their father. They shared the same pale skin and freckles, although Emen was slightly darker. The same hair, nothing at all like the soft dark curls of her mother.
Heran winked at Emen. She knew he wasn't serious and was probably more worried than their parents. He'd been looking after her and her sisters since she was born. Always there to comfort her when she was sad and play with her when she was bored.
"I have a gown for you to wear," Elocaro said suddenly.
"A gown?" Emen sighed. She didn't mind wearing one, but anything her mother picked out for her was sure to make her look terrible and be very uncomfortable. It'd probably be frilly too. She loved dressing Emen in frills. Thankfully since her sisters were born and old enough, their mother had been dressing them in frills instead and mostly left Emen alone.
"One of my old ones, it'll make you look beautiful."
Emen just nodded. She'd only have to wear it one day. Maybe her last day. She didn't care about wearing frilly gowns, she'd rather keep her mother happy. No one else would be paying her any attention anyway. During the Ender Festival everyone's attention was focused solely on their own family.
She finished her breakfast and headed outside. The Renders had already set up their camp just outside of the town. She walked slowly over to it, watching as men tended to horses, set up tents and huddled around fire pits.
Already people were going to see them. Mostly anxious parents with young children. The Ender Festival could be a very stressful time, especially for families who hadn't been through it before.
Emen perched on a fence and for a while did nothing but look out across the fields and paddocks at the edge of Everything, taking it all in. She never wanted to forget her birthplace, no matter what happened. In the distance she could see the sea, no more than a pale shape on the horizon. In front of it were rolling hills covered in wheat and barley, cows, sheep, pigs and horses.
Behind her a horse sighed. She turned and watched as a fat old man struggled up the small hill to the Render camp. A pretty black horse with white stripes across her face and legs followed him patiently. Several bags were strapped to her saddle filled with clothes, food and personal possessions. As she watched, the man tripped and fell. She jumped off the fence and went to help.
"You need to be careful Baard," she told him gently as she helped him back to his feet.
"Yes, yes, do this Baard, do that Baard, be careful Baard," he murmured into his big bushy beard. Emen had always liked Baard. He had been the town's Elder since she was a little girl until a few weeks ago when he stepped down and decided to move to Rend. Everyone in the town was sad to see him go, but when he got an idea he was implacable, and in his mind what had happened was unforgivable.
"If you're not careful I'll move to Rend and look after you myself," she joked but Baard didn't laugh or even smile. He sighed and took Emen's hand in his massive one.
"You're not going to Rend. You'll get your Ender tonight and live a long and happy life here," he told her quietly, staring at her with his dark eyes.
Emen shook her head. She wanted to believe him but she'd returned home empty-handed for the past eight years, she wasn't convinced tonight would be any different. Heran had received his Ender when he was fifteen, and her mother at thirteen. Here she was at nineteen at her last Ender Festival, her last chance. She'd already secretly packed her bags ready to leave with the Renders.
As Baard continued to shuffle up the hill Emen and the striped black and white horse followed. She left him safely with an old Render when the two started talking and began to walk around the camp.
Most of the Renders were busy preparing for the journey back but one young man was staring at Everything with a sad look in his eyes. Emen vaguely remembered the man, only a few years older than her he'd left for Rend after not getting an Ender. He cam every year, from what she knew anyone in Rend could volunteer to become a Render and travel around Edge gathering the unwanted to go and live in the city of Rend. Some Renders appeared every year, anything for a chance to see their family or hometown. She didn't remember his family, or anyone else being too upset over him leaving but he'd always been polite to her when they'd seen each other.
"Emen," he noticed her watching him and grinned, waving madly. "Still no Ender?"
Emen shrugged and shook her head.
"Well, good luck tonight. I hope I don't see you tomorrow."

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Re: Endless

Post by ChibiMaestro on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:20 am

Ohmai.
This is amazing <3

Love the description you've put in like 'a good head taller'. I would never have thought of using something like that... hmm, it shall help me with my English schoolwork Very Happy Thankies. I usually use a lot of adjectives and similes, but not really much of those.

So jealous of your skill XD

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Re: Endless

Post by Lonin on Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:29 am

Very Happy Yay thankyee.
XD Lonin was useful! We don't like using exact measurements, because they don't really mean anything to Lonin. :B

The gown wasn't too bad, Emen decided as she inspected herself. Her mother seemed to have tried hard to dress her in something that would suit her. It had no frills, which was all Emen cared about. She ran a hand across the black and red gown, at the patterns sewn into the sleeves and skirts with numerous buttons and gems. She even had a shawl to keep her warm. A simple silver necklace was waiting for her, laid out gently on her bed. She put it on, recognising it as belonging to her grandmother.
Elocaro was a talented seamstress, as well she had to be, she'd been wearing the same set of clothes for over twenty years. She refused to dress in the warm and practical style of the north, sticking to her summer silks and delicate pastel fabrics.
Suitably dressed, Emen headed out to the Point Statue where the Ender Festival would start. Already hundreds of other families were there with their children and Emen was relieved that she wasn't the only one that had been dressed up. Plenty of children fidgeted in uncomfortable outfits while parents clucked at them and wiped a spot of dust from clean clothes, as if an Ender would be granted to them base on how smartly they dressed.
The Point Statue marked the place where children received their Enders every year. It stood upon a tall and wide stage surrounded by candles and decorated with flowers, gems and drawings, built to fit hundreds of people at once. The statue stood in the centre at the back. She pressed her hand against it, smooth white marble veined with blue. It felt warm, lifelike, ever comforting. Each Point Statue was different. Each forever memorialised the first Ender to Fall in that town. Theirs was a lion Fallen hundreds of years ago, grand and proud with a deep blue mane and real sapphire eyes. Aliatano had been his name. He'd lived for many years protecting Everything and had died of old age during an Ender Festival.
She knew the nearest town Eytal to the west had a solid gold wolf for their statue. She'd been named Geidae, who died only days later. They sculpted a smaller statue recognising the other Ender who had Fallen with her. A lion named Cyloc, Ica and Decora who where both wolves and Lomeli the Dread, a dragon. Eytal was only a young town and small besides, Emen was sure that at least one of them still lived, the dragon who had Fallen over fifty years ago.
Emen had always admired the lions but in her heart she secretly longed for a dragon. None were big enough to ride, only horses were, but dragons had always seemed beautiful to her and she'd felt a pang of jealousy with each one she saw.
As she took her place beside the Point Statue she looked around, feeling lonely. There were no other nineteen year olds this year. The oldest aside from her was a girl only sixteen. It was rare for one to be as old as Emen without an Ender and not usually a good sign.
It took a long time for all the children to take their place on the stage and the sun was low in the sky by the time everyone was ready. The Festival didn't start properly until the sun set anyway, so there was little rush.
When all the other children had lined up ready the new Elder took to the stage. He wasn't very old, only a few years older than Emen with a face that made him look much younger, but he had earned his position by saving their town the previous winter. By fixing Baard's mistakes. Emen knew the man only vaguely as a wind mage. She didn't dislike him, but wished Baard hadn't felt the need to leave. If it wasn't for this man he'd remain in Everything. Baard had never been a bad Elder, his problem just left him slightly careless. Emen turned her attention to the new Elder as he took advantage of his magic to make his voice louder, carrying it across the town.
"Welcome to the Ender Festival!
You know, it was only a few years ago that I stood where you are now, waiting anxiously for my Ender. But as I received mine so shall you all find yours. It has been four years since our last Sundered, let's make it five! May the stars and the spirits grant you luck," he glanced briefly at Emen as he spoke before turning to the sea of parents, families and friends.
"Here we stand where Aliatano and his fellow Enders Fell, over four hundred years ago tonight. A gift from the skies and the gods to protect us from the ever lurking shadows. As you all know, every year on this very night our protectors, our Bonded, our friends Fall before the next generation of this fair town to ensure Everything's protection far into the future."
Emen stopped paying attention to his empty words. Enders were not a choice, no one chose to be Sundered and banished from their homes. She didn't know anyone who would choose a life like that. The man spoke for what felt like hours before finally falling silent.
The Festival officially started with a tribute to the town's first Ender, Aliatano. Several lion Enders painted black and blue took to the stage and acted out several key moments in his life. Once they were done the town fell silent for a full minute in remembrance for all who had died protecting them since Everything was formed.
The sun dipped slowly below the horizon and thousands of lights and candles burst into life around them. Every eye turned to the darkening sky, waiting for the first Fall.
Emen had watched this many times before, desperate, pleading with the gods to grant her this gift. For the past seven years her eyes had been glued to the sky long after every Ender had Fallen, waiting and praying for one of her own and for the past seven years she had left disappointed. Today, tonight, it was her last chance. She didn't know anyone who had been older than nineteen when they received their Ender. No one younger than twelve had either, that is why those ages had been chosen for the Festival, even though it was extraordinarily rare for a child of twelve to leave their first Festival with an Ender.
For several minutes they stared at the sky, barely daring to breathe before they saw the first light. It looked like a shooting star, streaking across the sky but heading towards them and moving very fast. Shortly after several more blinked into life and shot down towards them in all sorts of different colours. Deep reds, pale blues and bright greens, yellows and silvers and whites, each colour representing one element, each colour showing the magic their Bonded child would have. Emen shivered, wondering if one of the lights belonged to her.
The first light, a near total white, Fell before a young girl barely more than thirteen and for a second no one could see. When the light faded a fully grown white wolf stood in front of the girl. It nudged her with its nose and sniffed at her gently. The girl had one of the widest smiles Emen had ever seen. Getting an Ender so young was great luck. They began to converse, the wolf telling the girl it's name but Emen couldn't hear over the cheering.
"We have our first Ender! Congratulations to Elasse," the Elder shouted above the noise. Fireworks filled the sky as they did for each Ender, but no one was paying them any attention. Emen could also hear music coming from somewhere towards the back of the crowd.
As Everything watched, several more Enders Fell from the skies, each bursting into life in a flash of light. She saw another wolf, grey with orange markings, a black dragon with equally dark markings just visible as a shade of blue. She saw a white and blue horse Fall for a young boy and the sixteen year old girl in front of her had a large black bird that looked very much like a crow with bright red eyes, and blotches the same shade on its wings, perched on her arm. Wolves, horses, dragons, lions and birds, dozens landed in front of elated children. Every Ender took one of those forms as its own. No one knew why or how, but each one did. Their markings and colourings were nearly unique, each Ender had subtle differences whether it was simply the size and position of their markings, or horns, claws, manes or tails. No two were exactly alike.
"Please..." she whispered. Please let one land in front of her.
The lights stopped. Emen looked up at the sky searching for more but there was nothing. Her stomach fell and she felt light-headed. It was over, no more Enders would Fall tonight and she was without one. Again. She'd be sent away. Sent to live in Rend alone for the rest of her life while her brother would be here and in a few years her sisters would get their Enders and stay here too. Away from her.
"No. Please no," she whispered and sank to her knees. Tears fell from her eyes. No one saw her, at the back of the stage as she was. All anyone saw were the happy children forever safe with an Ender of their own. She took a deep breath and wiped her cheeks. It wouldn't be long before the next part of the Festival, where every new Nixling - a child who had just found their Ender - had to show some magic. She stood tall, trying not to start crying again as everyone began to leave the stage either returning to joy from their families or consolation with promises that next year will be the year.
"Congratulations to all our new Nixlings! Don't worry children, your Ender will be waiting for you next year I'm sure," the Elder called. He hadn't noticed her, no one had. "May you Bond well and have a long and happy life together."
At that, the end of that portion of the Festival, Emen began the slow walk back to her parents and her brother and sisters when someone shouted, pointed and then everything fell quiet. All eyes returned to the skies and as Emen's joined them for a second she was confused. Then she spotted it. Another light. Another Ender.
There was complete silence as thousands of eyes traced its journey through the skies. Even the Elder was quiet.
This light was different from the others. While they were bright and strong this was dark, weak, only noticeable because it was moving; and where others Fell in one direction this one kept changing, weaving through the air like it was deciding between two towns, two people. Emen barely dared breathe.
It eventually seemed to pick a direction as it stopped zigzagging erratically and Fell smooth and true like an arrow to land at Emen's feet. Instead of a flash of light she just saw a lion crumpled in front of her. It stood shakily and shook itself before stretching, yawning and staring at Emen. It was nearly as tall as she was; it's head reaching just below her shoulder, with black fur the colour of the sky it had just Fallen from. It's mane was a strange, dull shade of yellow and the same colours marked its face, nose, legs and tail with several thick stripes. There was another uneven blotch of yellow across its back, it reminded Emen of the markings on a cow and the thought caused her to start giggling uncontrollably.
"Hello, what's funny?" the lion said and tilted his head slightly.
Emen just stared for a few seconds. It must be a dream, she decided. Enders Fell at the same time, none were ever late. "Are you for me?" she blurted.
"I think so. If you're Emen Delaass then I am for you. I'm Lario," he said, looking very confused. "Do you not want me?"
"Of course I want you Lario," Emen wasn't sure what to say or what to do. The whole situation was bizarre. Now she had an Ender she'd be allowed to stay in Everything. She turned her attention back to Lario. She wasn't entirely sure how Enders...worked. No one had ever explained anything to her. Somehow, they knew how to speak from the moment they Fell. They were fully grown, they knew the names of their Bonded and understood how their life worked. They seemed to know just about everything.
The lion stood and looked at her cautiously for a few seconds. He didn't seem very sure about her and she couldn't blame him. Hers probably wasn't the reaction he'd expected. If he'd expected anything, she wasn't sure. She reached out a hand and ran her fingers through his thick golden mane.
Thankfully the Elder stepped in, preventing her from having to think up something to say. "It seems this one slept a little bit too long," he smiled as a laugh rose from the crowd. "I think that's the last one."
He gently placed a hand on her back and guided her down the stairs so the stage could be prepared for the next part of the Festival. Lario padded softly behind them, he seemed very uncomfortable and with everyone staring at the pair she didn't blame him.
They stood to the side of the stage feeling slightly dazed. It wasn't long before the Elder started talking again. She wasn't safe yet, to be allowed to stay in Everything each new Nixling had to display some sort of magical ability. When an Ender Fell for a child, most gained magical abilities. There were a small few, very rare, who couldn't perform any magic, those without any sort of magic were considered Halcyn and almost as hated as Sundered. They were sent to live in Rend too. Anyone without magic was all but useless.
Fear engulfed Emen once again. Her trial wasn't over.

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