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For those of you who wanted to know what happened to Celeste, this is for you. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this and whether you want another another chapter, and if you have any specific questions you want answered.
Here’s the story. Enjoy!


The tall blonde girl stood before an oak table laid out with dozens of wine glasses. She was expected to polish all of them until they gleamed blindingly in the light. It had been a week since her mother had been burned alive by the master of the house, and a week since she had spoken. Celeste’s mother had paid for her crime, which had really only been a misunderstanding between herself and the young mistress.
I should have been the one to pay with my life, she thought to herself. My mother played no part in it.
The door opened and Celeste turned to face the guests. Her eyes opened wide when she made eye contact with the master of the house and another young man. She quickly averted her eyes and curtsied.
“Oh, it’s you,” the master said. “I had hoped the other one, Wilhelmina was here.” Celeste did not reply. It was neither her place nor her right to speak unless given permission. And even then, she had been unable to. The doctor had put it down to stress and shock. Although Celeste should have been imprisoned for her crimes, if not executed, the young mistress, Daphne Lully, had seen fit to keep her around to gloat about her mother’s death.
“Oh, but she is quite a fair specimen,” the guest replied. His voice was soft and clear but his words cut her like a knife. I am a person, Celeste thought. But she kept her silence all the same. Then she realised that the voice was familiar. No, it can’t be. “Might I take a closer inspection?”
“Of course.”
Celeste kept her eyes downcast as was custom for slaves when close to a superior. The man walked closer to her and with every footstep, her heart thudded that much louder. When he was right in front of her, he lifted her chin slightly.
“Look at me,” he said, and she was helpless to deny him. His eyes were green this time but as he gazed at her, the colour darkened, replaced instead by the obsidian pair that she had first been greeted with.
He combed through her short blonde hair, placing loose strands behind her ear. Behind him, Celeste’s master coughed to get the guest’s attention.
“It would be ill-advised to take that one,” the master said. “She still needs to finish her obedience classes, which she won’t pass until she starts speaking again.”
“She is a mute?” Quinlan asked, brow raised a fraction. But his gaze didn’t waver from Celeste’s.
“Only for the past week. The doctor thinks she went through a traumatic experience.”
“Yes, I imagine losing your mother is rather traumatic,” the faery spat. The amused expression Celeste had seen the first time Quinlan had visited was absent as he whirled around to face Celeste’s master. “Wouldn’t you agree?”
“I… I’m not certain I know what you’re talking about,” Master Lully stated.
“Of course you do. But I haven’t time to mess around. You will give me this slave and I will give you exactly what you deserve for her. I want the paperwork as well, of course.”
“Two hundred drachmas then.”
“For the crimes which she stands accused of and her obvious behavioural problems, she cannot be worth more than fifty.”
Master Lully’s lips pressed together and his brow knitted in anger. “Now, see here! This is a talented slave. How many slaves that can play the flute as well as she can are few and far so I will not accept anything less than two hundred.”
Celeste couldn’t be certain that her master knew who he spoke to. Certainly no one would speak to the Unseelie King in such a manner. But here he was, face red with fury, defying one of the most powerful beings in all the realms. Just as Celeste had done, for all the good it had done her.
“I’ll amuse you for the time being and offer you your two hundred drachmas.” Quinlan said. “Shall we shake on it?” He offered out his hand and Master Lully looked at it apprehensively, eyes narrowed at it as if it may have been a trap. But then he nodded and he shook the faery king’s hand.
“Deal,” he said. “Would you like to come with me to draw out the paperwork?”
And just like that, Celeste’s fate was left in the hands of the Unseelie King.
“I’d ask that the slave come with us so I can search for anymore defects I might have missed,” Quinlan said.
“Whatever for? You already said that you would purchase her.”
“I would ask that you remove her tracker.”
“That is against the law,” Master Lully said, eyes narrowed. But Quinlan only smiled back.
“And so is killing a slave. There are procedures to be followed. Even slaves are permitted a trial.”
“Are you a Peacemaker come to arrest me, or a customer here to purchase my slave?”
“The slave will suffice,” Quinlan said. The two eyed one another for a drawn out moment. Master Lully appeared stiff, his back erect, as though he may have to strike at any moment. In contrast to him, Quinlan appeared the picture of calmness. What did a faery king have to fear from a mortal Spellman?
“Come with us,” Master Lully said, pointing at Camila.
Celeste followed Master Lully and the faery king to an office. It was sleek and modern but it had a cosy feeling to it thanks to the electronic fireplace. Master Lully went through several of his drawers and came out with a device.
“This will remove the device in her rear,” Master Lully stated. “Come here,” he told Celeste.
“Be certain that it does,” Quinlan said.
Celeste walked towards her master and allowed herself to look directly into Quinlan’s eyes. A light amusement appeared there as though her insolence did not bother her. A crack rang through the room and moments later, Celeste felt a stinging sensation on her cheek. Master Lully had slapped her.
“Do not gaze in the eyes of your superiors, slave.”
“Please refrain from harming the merchandise,” Quinlan said.
“Until you pay me and sign that contract, she is mine to do as I wish.” Celeste ground her teeth together to keep her from doing something she knew she would regret. “Bend over,” Master Lully ordered.
Fear seeped its way through her then but she barely hesitated as she did as instructed. Her master lifted her dress and shame overwhelmed. Shame. What a useless emotion when your own flesh belonged to another. Her underwear was next and at this display, true panic overwhelmed her.
“Be sure to remind this one who the master is. I’ve heard of young men like yourself who wish to keep these base-born slaves as lovers and paramours.” Celeste felt something cold cup her behind. Cold heart, cold touch. He slapped Celeste’s rear then and she cried out. She knew it was not the force of the slap but rather the sheer humiliation of the act itself. “Slaves are lower than dogs. They have no loyalty and they must be kept under control by whatever means necessary.”
Tears welled up in Celeste’s eyes but she forced down the sobs that threatened to erupt from her.
“Care to hurry this along?” Quinlan asked. “I am not so fond of mongrels, myself but be rest assured,”— there was a tug at Celeste’s hair and she was forced to peer into those dark orbs – “she will know who rules over her.”
The faery king released her and her head sagged and she was staring at the floor again. Something cold touched her rear and a sharp pan pierced her there.
“The tracker has been extracted. You may dress, slave,” Master Lully commanded.
Celeste was more than relieved to dress herself, but whatever sense of modesty she might have had had been peeled away. As she pulled down her tunic, she saw her master give the tracker to Quinlan. He sat behind his desk and took a piece of paper from the printer.
“This is the contract,” Master Lully said. “You will pay the agreed two hundred drachmas.”
“Indeed,” Quinlan said. Celeste watched him play with the tracker. It appeared to look like a small coin, flat and round. Celeste detested that such a thing had been inside her, marking her as the property of someone else.
“Remind me your name again, please? Quinlan was it?”
“Yes.”
“An old name, that one,” Master Lully said. “And what might your family name be?”
“My kind is not so keen on family names. You can make out the contract to King Quinlan of the Unseelie Court.”
Master Lully stared at the fey for a moment, and a nervous smile appeared on his face. A light chuckle followed. “You’re not serious?”
“The fey do not lie.” And then he let the Glamour drop. His hair and eyes darkened. The feature of his face sharpened, and a dark aura seemed to unfurl from him. “What are you waiting for?” Master Lully only stared at him, with his mouth hanging open. Quinlan stepped closer to the Spellman, causing him to reel back in fear. “Write it!”
“Of course, of course!” He reached for a pen and quickly scrawled out something on the paper. “If… if you could sign here, please?”
“Will you not be needing payment first?” Quinlan asked.
“No, no! Take her.”
“I wouldn’t wish to rob you. After all, we had an agreement.”
Quinlan raised his hand and a symbol shone over Master Lully. It might have been some ancient language. Celeste did not truly know. But that symbol held power in it and she could feel it deep within her.
Dozens of coins appeared from a void around the glowing symbol. Celeste watched as the drachmas pierced their Master Lully’s flesh.
                Master Lully’s growl should have scared Celeste. Inside, however, she felt a sense of joy. That is what scared her.
                More coins rained down on Master Lully, and blood poured from the wounds. His bright pleading eyes were seared onto Celeste’s memory but Quinlan showed no remorse.
                “One hundred and ninety five drachmas,” Quinlan said. “Now, I’m sure I’m missing something.” He tapped his cheek and then appeared to have a light bulb moment. “Five missing drachmas.”
                “Please…” Master Lully groaned.
                “I’m not certain you should have the right to live. Perhaps I will ask the girl.” The faery king turned to gaze at Celeste then. “Should he be permitted to live?”
                Celeste’s mouth was dry. She knew not what the right thing was in that moment. Everything seemed to blur into one. Her humiliation and anger. Her grief and malice. Count Lully would be her master no more.
                “No,” she said. Quinlan only nodded and a coin penetrated Count Lully’s heart.
                “Two hundred drachmas, in full,” Quinlan said. Then he took the contract and signed it. “I promised you that you would belong to me, and now at last, you do.”
                The faery king turned around to look at her, but instead of cowering to him, Celeste forced herself to raise her chin.
                “I will never belong to you.”
                “According to this contract, you already do, deary. And trust me when I say that I will make good use of you.”

 


This is a short poem I wrote quite some time ago from the POV of character from my current novel, Weaving Moonlight. I’ll not state which character because this poem is sort of spoiler-y. Do enjoy 🙂
 
I see a little more,
See a little further,
See a little deeper.
Still it’s not enough.
Like a telescope I examine,
Like a scientist I discern,
But how am I to truly know
Who you were, who you became?
Gaps appear in my perception,
My long lost once impression.
Do I need a closer inspection?
Further dissection of distant memories.
Were you here I’d ring your neck,
As it is I’ll wipe my tears,
Light a candle
Snuff it out.

So it’s taken me quite some time but I have finally written a sequel to my short story “The Price for Honour”. I had dabbled a few ideas in my head, such as having the next part in Stefan’s POV in order to humanise him, because let’s face it, Kailì thinks Stefan is some sort of demon. In the end though, I thought we should stick to Kailì’s POV since we’re already emotionally invested in him. 

This surprisingly only took me one night to write but I was up until 2AM so I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Please read and review 😀

Here we go…
 

My knuckles were bone-white as I gripped the dagger. My hand gave off tremors of fear as I approached my father’s prone form. I had waited at the edges of darkness within his chambers. Prince Stefan’s Shadow Magick had been a big help but it had been a long while until the restless king had succumbed to sleep. It seemed fitting that his sheets were blood-red silks. Red and gold, colours of royalty.

            I couldn’t believe what was expected of me— what I was planning to do. Would regicide truly help the people?
            My father’s body turned towards me as though he could sense my presence. Fear spiked in my chest but he remained very much asleep.
            Most people looked calm and serene in sleep. My father did not. The war had taken its toll on him and his usual scowl was plastered on his face, a sheen of sweat pouring from his forehead.
            I raised the dagger and as I placed it above his throat I saw a flash of my own reflection—dark jade eyes stretched wide in bewilderment.
            I still had one other choice left. It was not ideal, but I doubted anyone would particularly miss me. I was the Wúlì prince, after all. I could still do the honourable thing and embrace death.
            My eyes flitted across the room. With the exception of the flickering candles by the bedside, the majority of it was bathed in shadows. For all I knew, Stefan might have been there watching me. Would he stop me before I took my own life?
            Images of half burned corpses rushed through my mind. Glass eyes and gaping mouths; charred skin and impaled limbs. I could not allow this city to burn, but I would not be a traitor to my country.
            I gasped as I plunged the dagger into my heart. I barely registered my father’s snort as a pain racked through my spine.
            A few more moments passed but death did not come. The pain only intensified and my body shook violently. A dry cough erupted from me and I collapsed to my knees.
            A loud clap echoed through the room, speeding in tempo as the sound neared. Then a roar burst through me as the dagger was forcibly removed from my chest.
            “I didn’t think you had it in you, Wúlì.” The cold voice sounded vaguely impressed. “What an inspiring performance that was.”
            “How… what?” I asked. I couldn’t understand why no blood stained my chest. Even as I traced the skin beneath my garments, I felt no wound. “Alive.”
            “That remains to be seen,” Stefan answered.
 As I rose my head I saw Stefan’s icy glare darken, his eyes blackening all over. When he blinked, the blackness disappeared but my fear did not. He had threatened to paint the walls with my blood once before. No one would be able to stop him from doing so now.
“Do you love your father?” he asked me.
“No,” I said. I rose to my feet and took a deep breath as I saw darkness encompassing nearly the entirety of my father’s bed. It taped over his mouth but his eyes saw the full horror of what occurred before him.
“But you would not kill him,” Stefan noted.
“Do you kill everyone you dislike?” I asked. It was unwise, but I was going to die anyway. What did I care for being careful now?
“You love your father. That makes you the ideal candidate to sacrifice him to my goddess.”
Ice formed in my veins. The prince wanted a blood sacrifice? He was truly more sickening than I had thought. A psychopath, or a warlord I could fathom— a religious zealot I could not.
“That dagger is not so plain as it seems, is it?” I asked.
“Of course not. I had feared you might wish to take matters into your own hands so I ensured that it would be capable of killing only one person— your king.”
My father attempted to break free of his bonds but he was nothing more than a helpless, writhing form. Consumed by Stefan’s darkness, even the king of a great nation was helpless to the demon prince.
“I won’t do it,” I said. “I may not be able to stop you from killing my father, but I won’t do it myself.” It might have made little difference to Stefan, but I would not taint my soul this way. Not for the first time, I wondered if he even had a soul.
“You truly have forced my hand,” he sighed. Then the darkness came for me.
The darkness crept up my feet and into my ears and eyes like acupuncturist needles. Why did the guards not hear my screams? My throat burned from it.
Stefan approached me when I stumbled to my knees, handing me the dagger once more. I took it without a second thought. In that moment I knew my will was not my own.
“The goddess does not require the sacrifice to be done willingly. The blood of a king will be purpose enough.”
“You… demon,” I said. But my voice was like broken glass.
Anger flashed across Stefan’s composed demeanour. Did the soulless care how others perceived them?
“This is the will of the goddess,” Stefan whispered. “This is the will of my queen.”
I was beside my father’s bed a minute later. I had tried to fight it but my willpower was quickly draining. So much darkness. So much pain. It engulfed me, and I radiated it.
The dagger was above my father’s throat once more and I gazed into his fearful dark eyes. I had seen so much emotion reflect from those eyes. Lust. Greed. Anger. I had never imagined such fear from such a man.
There was a time when hope emanated from them. There was a time when he thought I would be the next great king; one who would lead this nation to a Golden Era like none before. But that was before I was announced a Wúlì at my Interpretation Ceremony. I had spent nearly a whole year trying to get that hopeful gaze from him once more.
I would not let it end like this. I would not be immersed by the darkness.
A pressure built in my stomach and chest. I felt as though my heart would burst. Tears fell from my face as the dagger nipped my father’s throat.
A light breeze past through the room and a small relief came through my chest. But I continued struggling for my willpower. One clean swipe to the throat and my father would be gone forever. Another corpse to add to the many that had already perished to Yolanda’s madness.
A force tore through the room and I stumbled back and crashed to the floor. I threw the dagger away from me and it flew in an arc and swerved, miraculously hitting Stefan between the eyes. It was a shame that the dagger was cast to kill only one person.
He removed the dagger, a wince passing through his face.
“How?” he snapped. “How has a simpleton overcome my power?” Anger bled through into his words but he sounded more like a toddler having a tantrum than a demon.
A gust of wind brought me to my feet. Understanding came to me slowly but surely. The pressure in my chest had fully alleviated and with the windows shut firmly, it meant that this force could only have been brought on by one individual.
“I am many things, prince, but I am not a simpleton,” I spat. I raised my hands and hoped that the air around me would bend to my will. Wind tore through the darkness binding my father, ripping it like paper.
I turned to look at Stefan and he had visibly paled. No hint of a smile broke out on his face. It was two against one.
“The power of an Elemental Warrior, hidden within a Wúlì,” Stefan said. “The gods must be playing a new kind of game.”
“Your goddess does not favour you this day,” my father said. He was on his feet now, but Stefan paid no attention to him. His eyes scrutinised me with an intensity that still unnerved me. Just because the odds seemed to be in my favour did not mean he was powerless to stop us. Whatever these gifts were, I was still nothing more than a novice.
“This is nothing new,” Stefan intoned. “The goddess never favours me.”
The Terrahgonian prince unsheathed his sword and swung it towards us. Dark arcs of energy flew at us, hitting me straight in the chest. By the time I got to my feet, clutching to my chest, I saw my father fighting Stefan, sword on sword.
My father was sprite for his age, but the two seemed evenly matched. They parried and dodged each other well, as though it were a choreographed dance.
I allowed a gust of wind to blow into Stefan but he raised a wall of darkness that my winds were unable to penetrate. From this side I couldn’t see what was happening but it was not long before I heard my father grunt in pain and a heavy body collapse.
“Father!” I yelled.
The dark barrier came down and Stefan absorbed it into the sword. He was panting and his snow white hair was askew.
“I had hoped to avoid this,” he said. “But you have forced my hand.”
A silent scream wrenched through me. Darkness filled me but the pain did not subside. Surely my eyes would burst, or my heart would give out. I felt as though something was being torn from me.
“Do you feel that?” Stefan asked. “It’s the pain of your soul being undone. It is the agony of your very being becoming unmade.”
One final tug and I collapsed to my knees once more. Stefan chuckled.
“You belong on your knees now, Prince No More.”
I forced myself to raise my head and gasped in horror as I saw a being formed of shadows stood over me. It walked away and took the dagger Stefan offered it. I looked behind me and realised that my own shadow was indeed missing.
The shadow creature knelt beside my father’s slumped body.
“Away from me!” he yelled. It was futile, of course.
“In the name of Luna, the Triple goddess,” the shadow said. Its voice was my own, but somehow distorted. It seemed colder, deprived of any emotion. “I offer her this tribute as sacrifice.”
 I forced myself to watch as the dagger neared my father’s throat so I would not forget this moment if I ever survived. A guttural choke came from my father’s throat as blood seeped from it.
“The goddess has accepted the sacrifice,” the shadow announced.
“Like a lamb to the slaughter,” Stefan stated. “Now the only loose end is the Wúlì.
I had so little fight in me left that the word bore little offence. I was sapped of all strength and energy. What little hope I once had had now dwindled away.
“Kill me,” I whispered. My head fell to face the floor as though my neck could no longer hold its weight.
Footsteps approached me and I sensed Stefan kneel in front of me. A hand clasped my chin and raised it. I looked at Stefan straight in the eyes for but a moment before my gaze past through it.
“Yes, I can give you that. Would you like that?” He stroked my cheek with his thumb. “But death would be a comfort to you. I’m not certain you deserve it.”
“Please,” I cried out, grasping his cloak in my fist. “Mercy.”
“Yes, the goddess is known occasionally for her small mercies.” A thread of hope hung over me for a moment. “But my power comes from a crueller god. And with your power, you may yet prove of some use after all. You will live, my dear Wúlì, and you will live knowing the true extent of your failures. The death of your father. The massacre of this city. And the assassinations of all the noblemen and noblewomen of Kratul.” My body wracked into sobs before I was able to supress it. But I was a prince no more. What need for princely pride? “You have a life ahead of you filled with sweet pain. That is my mercy to you.”
Then he inhaled into my open mouth and darkness submerged me. 
           

 


So, I’m a little behind on my blogging. This degree seems to be getting on top of me, rather than the other way around. Not to mention this on-off headache I’ve had for a fortnight. 
This is a poem I wrote in the perspective of one of my character’s in my novel in progress, Weaving Moonlight. In case it’s not clear, there will be LGBT characters in this novel. Anyway, here it is:
I know you hurt,
I know you ache,
I know you yearn,
I know you shake
You’ve learned to hide all along.
You are a mirror;
Know more than a reflection
Of other’s wants.
But let me in,
Let me in.
Your secrets have secrets,
Your lies, hidden truths.
Your masks have masks,
You’re a Russian doll,
Layer upon layer
Upon Layer Upon Layer.
You seek affection
You wish for perfection
But don’t you see how beautiful you really are?
You hide behind shadows
But seek the light,
Your anger boils inside
But you keep it down.
For once don’t “be a man”,
For once just cry on my shoulder,
For once just let in,
For once, I’ll be your prince.
I know you hurt,
I know you ache,
I know you yearn.
I know you shake.
But painted dolls chip away,
Glass is easily shattered.
Just this once, be yourself,
Just this once, I’ll be your prince.

I’ve been feeling unwell since Thursday so please bear with me. I actually wasn’t going to post anything but I found this lying around and thought I’d might as well post it. It’s probably the shortest piece I’ve ever written and I’m not certain that I’m truly pleased with it. It was more of an experimental piece. I have another longer story quite similar to it that will be coming out in an anthology book my university is publishing though. I’ll tell you the details later. 

Anyway, here is the short short story. Please leave a comment 🙂 —


You look at me with eyes glazed like glass. Though your bag is packed, you shall never pass. I gave you all, my trust and love. My love for you was my downfall. Yet here you stand within my thrall. You’ll be my puppet for the night. Your eyes so bright, they’re quite the sight. It almost hides the spite within.
                I broke the rules to be with you, my love. I watched my immortal string cut short. My fellow fey thought me quite foolish. “When you’ve found love, you’ll understand”— at least that’s what I would once retort.
                I take your hand, pull you towards me. You too are strong, you try to flee. But can’t you see, I won’t let you go? It’s quite the blow for me to know you yearn for one that is not me.
                How could I think to control you? It was your wildness that did once excite me. The fight within that did incite me.
                You scream profanities in my face. Dimly I feel the trace of my remaining heart that beats hard like thunder; that once did beat steadily before you tore our love asunder.
Verily I say unto you, stop screaming. Surely I must have been dreaming to think you would ever obey.
                All hope is lost, I feel I must say goodbye. I search my pocket and drink a clear vial. As it burns in my mouth I pull you forward for our last kiss. I force the vile content past your luscious lips. Surely you have all manners of objections but you bite them back.
                In a manner of minutes, all will be over. The rooms spins around and I am on my knees mumbling apologies. None touch your leaden heart, we’ve grown too far apart. You won’t take my hand even as my life fades away, despite your promises to always stay. It matters not for none shall have you if not I. But I am fey and you are not. Our love was doomed. All hope is lost. 

And on that happy note, please leave a comment to let me know what kind of story you want me to write next. I’m open to all sorts of suggestions provided that they have some sort of fantasy element. Others of you might be more specific and ask me for a sequel to another of my previous short stories. By all means, let me know!

So I’ve been having quite some fun writing short stories to build up my character’s back stories before the events of what I hope to be the first novel in the series. This short story introduces a completley new character I’ve only recently thought up of. It is also the first story I found necesarry to write in first person. Please let me know what you think and tell me if you want to see this character at some point in my novel. At the moment I’m planning to keep him for a sequel rather than the first but I’m open to suggestions.

Without further a due, please Enjoy this short story…
By night I watched the flames rise high, tearing all that I knew and loved apart. Never before had I seen such desolation. No child should have had to go through such a thing, but as the night wore on and I saw life snuffed out all around me, I knew that I was a child no longer. My innocence was gone with all the innocent that suffered. And it was my fault. It was all my fault. But I knew that I could put things right. I had to.
            Later that night, when the enemy forces were gone, I went to my father’s chambers. The grand doors to his rooms were guarded by two sentries. The bearded men blocked my path as I approached.
            “Who goes there?” the one at the left demanded. I removed my hood and his hardened expression faltered. “Prince Kailì, what are you doing here alone?”
            “I’m here to see my father,” I said. They looked at each other wearily.
            “You father has asked not to be disturbed,” the other guard said.
            Whilst normally I would not disobey my father’s wishes, this would be an exception.
            “You will open this door at once,” I snapped.
            “We are under direct instruction to,”— the words died on his tongue as the door behind him began to open.
            “Your Highness, we were just telling the prince that you do not wish to be disturbed,” the first guard explained.
            “It’s quite alright. Come in, my son.”
            I walked in with my father and he went to sit on his bed. I kneeled before him in supplicance.
            “Father,” I began.
            “I know why you are here,” he said. I looked up to see his saddened, fatigued face. This was not my father. He was usually so upbeat and cheerful, and yet here he looked haggard. I suppose it made sense. We had lost so many good mean in the previous battle against Yolanda. If only he had listened to me. “You want me to surrender to that witch, Yolanda.” My eyes widened. Calling another person a witch was an insult not taken lightly. It was what the mortals had called our kind that once dwelt in their world, back in the times of the witch hunts when our lives ended at the stakes.
            “It is the wise thing to do,” I said.
            “Kratul is rich and plentiful, we may still gain allies from Kazarai,” he replied. “Our fate is not yet sealed.”
            “But at what cost? Kazarai has little love for our nation and Alasiya will not intervene. Please father, we cannot win this war.”
            “Enough!” he yelled. He rose from his bed and went to his mirror cabinet. “Do you know what surrendering would mean for this country? For this family?
            “I will be prince no more, and you will no longer be a king. I understand this, and I know that Yolanda may still slay us. But you swore as king that you would do all that you could to protect this country and right now what is best for it is surrendering before any more innocent lives perish. Please father.”
            “You will get out this instant! I need not the council of a useless Wúlì filled with nothing but cowardice.”
            Then he turned away from me and I knew that this discussion was over.
That night I could not sleep. In my dreams I was visited by the spirits of the dead. They screamed as they burned alive or choked in the gas that the enemies had dropped on them. I had been given a mask and was taken to a safe underground bunker but I had seen enough for the memory to be permanently ingrained into my mind.
            As I sat on my bed, I saw the shadows begin to swirl around me. Either the dead spirits were giving me a personal visit, or an enemy was about to attack.
            I grabbed the sword I kept by my bedside and stood to prepare for an attack. The shadows began to dissipate and I saw a face emerge from the shadows. The boy pulled back his hood and pale blue eyes stared back at me. But it was his stark white hair that caused me to scream out.
            Shadows extended from the boy and entwined their way around my mouth and I was silenced. The boy scowled at me and looked at the door, but no one came for me.
 Determined not to be the coward my father thought me to be, I swung my sword at the shadow tentacle. My sword went through the shadows as though they were made of mist. Unable to speak, I could only look on it terror as the white-haired boy used another tentacle weaved of shadows as a whip to grab my sword. He threw it to a distance and it clattered to the ground.
             “I understand that it is your desire to surrender to my mother, the queen,” he said.
            “You are Prince Stefan?” I asked. Yolanda had no other son, and the prince was infamous for the power he wielded over the darkness. In my land, the mortal slaves called him a demon in the guise of a boy.
            “My mother will be happy to call a cease fire should you convince your father to surrender. If not,”— he tilted his head and a glint of menace filled his eyes— “she will burn this city to the ground and have all the members of your nobility slain. What say you?”
He withdrew the shadows wrapped firmly over my mouth and I couldn’t help but glance at my sword for a moment. Too far away to grab. I locked eyes with the prince and he raised his brows at me as though to challenge me.
            “I know that,” I replied. “But I can’t convince him. He won’t abide by it. He thinks it’s cowardly.”
            “And you?”
            “I think it is the right thing to do for our people. But my father only seems to care about his image.”
            “I have an idea,” he stated. “Come with me as my prisoner and I will bring you forth to my queen. Once your father hears of you capture, I am sure he will cooperate.”
            “I can’t be certain that he will.”
            “Why is that?”
            “My father does not love me as a father should… not since my Interpretation Ceremony. I am what my people call a Wúlì— a Powerless. I am not gifted with magic.”
            “That is a pity,” he stated. Nothing about his tone implied a trace of sympathy and though I certainly did not need it from him, the way he pursed his lips made me uneasy.
I could almost feel the options he was calculating through in his mind. With his power, he could take me away or murder me here as a warning to my father.
“You are his only son, correct?” the Dark Prince asked of me.
“I am his only legitimate son,” I corrected. Perhaps the clarification was not necessary but it was difficult to forget the number of bastards he had sired, given their large count. I still could not forget that my father had stated that the only good that had come from this war was sending his bastards out to the Front Lines.
“You said that he does not love you as a father should. Is there one that he cherishes more than you?” Truth be told, it was more like a string of women.
“The only things my father loves are his crown, his cock, and his wealth,” I remarked. “In that order.”
I sealed my lips together. What was I saying? True, it was no secret that the king loved bountiful breasts and rouged lips, but it was not my place to speak out against it, yet alone to the Crown Prince of Terrahgonia. I was to be bargaining with him; finding some way of saving my country.
“And does that not simply rile you up?” the prince asked.
“Yes!” I cried out.
“Your king would see every last soldier dead before he gave up his crown willingly,” he stated. “Now what kind of a king is that?”
“A selfish one.”
“Indeed. And I would not see this great city burnt to the ground because of an arrogant pig playing at being a king. But there is little I can do here to circumvent the inevitable. Kratul is your hands, prince.”
I looked down at my hands as though they might provide the answers I sought. Kratul was in my plump, clammy hands.
The anger within me churned like a cauldron. I was immersed in it; a tidal wave of repressed loathing, laced with a bitter sadness and a spark of rage. And a hunger. A deep hunger for revenge on the one who had hurt me all these years.
“What must I do to save this kingdom?” I asked.
A small smile appeared on his thin lips. His hands reached to shift his cloak, revealing a sword, and daggers strapped to his belts. My father would have longed for a son who could truly wield a sword. It was a weapon designed for the valiant, he had always said. The fiercest and bravest. Though I owned a sword I was not gifted in this. Perhaps my father might have loved me if I were.
Prince Stefan removed a dagger— a simple thing with no embellishments or decorations of any kind.
“Before dawn,” he began, “you will enter your father’s chambers and you will slaughter him in his sleep. When they crown you, your first act as king will be to surrender to Terrahgonia.”
 He tried to pass me the dagger, but I only stared at it in wide-eyed mortification. The fire of hatred for my father died a little, its embers fading as dread coursed through my bones.
“I…”
“Think very carefully before you answer me, prince.” His tone was even. There was no anger in it, no hatred or inflection that could suggest arrogance. Even his facial expression appeared bored and blank. Perhaps what the slaves said was true; he might very well have been a demon in the guise of a boy.
“I can’t…” I began to say.
“Kratul will fall with or without you,” he snapped. A shadowy vine grabbed the dagger from his hand and launched it towards me. I stumbled back and collapsed to the ground. The cold digger kissed my neck and I felt a small but sharp prick as the weapon pointed at my throat.
The prince kneeled beside me and I saw a darkness swirl in his pale eyes. Other than that, it was not anger that greeted me, but a cold indifference. I think I would have preferred the anger.
“You have the chance to save countless others,” he told me. “All that is required is the spilt blood of a stubborn old man. You would be a hero.”
“I would be a traitor,” I snapped.
“They need never know. My word on that.” I ground my teeth together but gave no answer. “Since you seem to want to cling on to your honour, I could let you die with it. If you do not swear to kill the king, I will spill your blood right here, right now, and use it to paint the walls as a warning.”
My blood roared in my ears and my eyes stung with emotion I sought to keep in check. I was the prince of this realm and I was sworn to keep it safe no matter the consequences.
“I will give you but ten seconds to make your mind,” he warned.
To save the realm, a hard choice was to be made. A life was to be given. My father’s life. Or my own.

I am writing an urban fantasy novel which I started during the 2013 NaNo comp. It is currently being called PROJECT GALATEA. Here is an original poem of mine that I wrote in the perspective of one of my characters:


She loves the girl,
He does not care,
This is a tug of war at best.
Is her will mine?
Is my will his?
Are the three of us not one?
Can it be there is a fourth?
Blurring lines give way once more.
Lines I swore never to cross
Are smeared away in my mind, like chalk.
She is me and I am her
And he is me and I am him
But how can that be?
Intertwining threads—
One whole of a marred tapestry,
Grotesque in its beauty:
Half divine, halve mundane.
You ask me who I am.
I am that I am, that I am that I am.
Perhaps twice more—
Perhaps less.
Like a delicate delectable flower
You devour my willpower in earnest,
As a puppet-master you assert your power.
What will I do when my will wilts?
I sleep in a cocoon of tranquillity,
Helpless as can be.
I watch him raise the gun,
I watch her lower it.
Mind over matter or to follow the heart?
He clicks the trigger.
Or perhaps it is she.
Grimly I see that it was me.
I’m a starburst fully ignited.
What is it that you have incited?
Piece by piece I’m chipped away.
Open the door. What do you see?
Four doors and a fifth still forming.
Each door leads to its own labyrinth,
A Guardian Minotaur at every turn.
Who dares brave such a path
To find the true honest Me?
Who am I, you ask?
I might as well be a mirror.
I’ll reflect what you want to see.
Until one day you see no more.

 

What’s Love Got to Do With it?

So today is Valentine’s Day. Spring is near– though with all these obscene rain, it’s practically impossible to believe, and until it snows, I can’t move on from winter. And love is in the air. And it sickens me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love love, but if you’re one of the many people feeling left out, you’re likely to give into cynicism. That’s why I’ll be at my Creative Writing Society meeting, where we can get all creative with our cynicism. And that’s what you should be doing too!

Beauty Is Pain

Now I’m not asking you to fill your writing with pissed off characters who try to wreck love for other couples, but I am talking about writing out your pain. Every character you write will have a trace of your own personality, or your repressed feelings and worries, or your beliefs. Each character is a part of you, and so one of the best ways to make them life-like is to draw out your own emotions into them.

We Feed on the Weak

Now the one fear with writing from your soul is criticism. You have to be aware that no matter how sincere you try to make your writing, there will always be critics and you have to be ready for that, whether it be to prepare to ignore them, or take the criticism like a champ and try harder next time. Writing from your pain can open up a doorway to a hurt you thought long ago closed. I know the feeling. I’ve tried writing what I hoped to be “deep” poems, originating from trials of my own. Though the heart wrenching ache was not quite as bad, it was still there– this ghostly numbness. It can be distressing and sometimes it can be too distressing for your readers too.

Conceal It. Don’t Feel It. Don’t Let Them Know. 

Yes, I did get the above line from Disney’s Frozen, and like Elsa, the princess and would-be-queen, as a writer, we all have to wear our own thin veneer to keep the readers just a little bit distanced from the true reality of our soul. That’s why we have our characters. There is a thin line between using your emotions to build a character to life-like proportions, and letting your emotions overpower the novel. Your characters shouldn’t be exactly like you, or else it wouldn’t be completley original. And come on, could you imagine writing a novel with a character who’s past boyfriends or girlfriends and conquests had the same details as those of your own? We don’t need to read your diary– we want to read your novel. Or poem, or script, whatever format it may be.

How to Write it Out

An English teacher of mine gave us this useful advice during the stressful times of A-levels, back at sixth form. She advised us to keep a diary, and of course to write regualarly. Obvious, right? But it was the method that intrigued me. She told us to write continuously for about 10-15 minutes, and interestingly enough, NOT to have prepared anything beforehand.
What came out was this rush of words, in a voice that sounded so naturaly becuase I was literally writing as I was thinking. And it was strange how my mind flitted across to so many subjects and people in a short space of time– much more than if I had prepared my topic in advance.
Another piece of advice she gave us was to write in the 3rd person, to distance yourself from, well, yourself! Other interesting ways would be to change tenses.
For me, personally, I had a very emotional first week at university, getting to grips with living on my own. So one strange night I woke up at maybe 2AM in the morning and wrote out this really long, really angry poem. And you know what? It was cathartic. And that’s the beauty of writing– it’s therapeutic. 

Heya! Remember those short stories I promised? Yeah, well, here is one I wrote quite some time ago. It is actally a sort of Origins Story for my one of the characters in my novel in progress, Weaving Moonlight. You won’t know which one right away though, becauase I’ve changed her name to avoid spoilers. Anyway, here we go:


She woke up at the crack of dawn—same as any other day. Sweep the floors, scrub the floors, and then help out in the kitchen. Avoid irritating the mistress. Take a few gropes and pinches from the master. This was her life.
                Celeste was becoming a woman and the master of the house was noticing. He’d had an eye on her for a while now but he’d yet to corner her in private. Thankfully the mistress was keeping an eye on her too, and she’d not allow him to dishonour her with a good-for-nothing mortal slave girl. There was little Celeste’s mother could do about it either. If the master wanted Celeste for himself, there was little anyone save the mistress could do. That’s just how it was when you weren’t a person. You were property.
                One of Celeste’s few moments of solace was playing her music. She had a natural affinity for playing the flute and this made her valuable indeed. Most slaves didn’t have such a specialty but the Lully’s had made an exception for Celeste in order to encourage their own daughter to take up the instrument. Celeste had been a playmate of sorts, and was now the girl’s handmaid.
                “Slave!” The short, sharp shriek came as a shock to Celeste. Daphne was not to be in the East wing. It was the slave’s quarters.
                “You’d better go and attend to the little mistress,” Nancy, the cook said. Celeste nodded and headed out the door to find Daphne. She bumped right into the young mistress, who gasped in surprise.
                “You are so clumsy!” she yelled.
                “My apologies, mistress,” Celeste said, lowering her gaze.
                “As you should be. Where were you? I awoke and had to run my own bath.”
                “I had to work in the kitchens this morning. It’s understaffed and I—”
                “I haven’t the time for your pathetic excuses. I’ll make sure you are flogged for this.” Celeste winced. She still hadn’t fully recovered from the last flogging. Protesting would only make it worse, of course. “I still need you to do my hair. I can’t clip it right and the cousins will be here in a few hours.”
                “Of course. After you, mistress.” Daphne turned away, flicking her bright coppery hair in Celeste’s face.
                When they arrived in Daphne’s extravagant room— with its polished floor, queen sized bed and balcony overlooking the back garden— the young mistress insisted on having each strand of her hair brushed three times. Today was a special day for her. Today she would find out her special power. Some Spellmans were able to find out at birth but this was rare and so most had to wait until their thirteenth birthday.
                “I hope it’s nothing stupid like being an Empath. My aunt Layla was an Empath and it drove her insane you know. Though of course father says it’s because she lost her baby and being an Empath she felt it more acutely— the disappointment from uncle Michel and grandmother. I want to be something special— maybe an Oracle or a Technopath. Some Technopaths end up rich creating state-of-the-art technology, you know.”
                “I’m sure you will be special no matter what your power ends up being,” Celeste said. Special needs, of course, you little brat! She thought. But Celeste’s mother insisted that everyone was special in their own way, and had encouraged her not to hate her young mistress. They were the same age, Daphne and Celeste. Unfortunately Daphne treated her younger, often being patronising and rude.
                “Well of course I’m special— father always says so— but I don’t just want to be any special person. I want to be the special person. I want to do something worthwhile, like marry the prince.”
                “Of course,” Celeste answered. After brushing the last strand, she looked at Daphne through the mirror, envying the way her hair curled so wonderfully. Her own blonde hair was thin and flat. With the exception of a few silvery strands, it was completely unremarkable.
                “If you were not mortal, what kind of power would you want?” Daphne asked. Celeste found the question disarming. The young mistress rarely asked for her opinion, and when she answered, she was often ignored anyway.
                “I’m not sure. I haven’t thought about it.”
                Liar.She had thought of it often. She had thought of being an illusionist once so that she could trick the Lully’s into freeing all the slaves and getting revenge on them for all the horrid deeds they had committed, like getting rid of her father.
                “Well of course you have!” Daphne insisted. “All of you mortals envy us because we are gifted and you are not. That’s why we own you.” Celeste gritted her teeth. “That’s what father says. Surely you must have some idea of what you would want to be able to do.”
                “No.”
                Daphne snorted. “Well, I knew you weren’t gifted, but I didn’t think you had no imagination.” Celeste ignored the comment and continued on to clip Daphne’s hair up the way she knew she would want. She wanted to look sophisticated today to show that she was growing up. “Maybe you’d like mind control so you could convince my mother not to sell your mother.”
                Celeste dug the clip into Daphne’s scalp by accident and the other girl screeched.
                “Oh my gods, I’m so sorry!” Celeste yelled.
                Daphne rose from her seat, clutching her head in one hand. “You did that on purpose! You attacked me.” She pointed at Celeste with her other hand, her pale grey eyes sparkling with hate. “I’ll have you flogged within an inch of your life!”
                “Please, I didn’t mean it. You surprised me. I didn’t know my mother was being sold, and I flinched accident.”
                Daphne refused to listen, already backing away to the door. “I’ll not believe another word you say.” She opened the door to leave, but Celeste ran towards her to shut the door before she could move another step. “If you touch me, I swear by the gods—”
                “Please,” Celeste insisted. “Don’t tell the master or the mistress. It was a mistake. Please.”
                Daphne looked at her— genuinely looked at her for once without distaste or loathing. She gave Celeste a small but uncertain smile and nodded. “Alright. I believe you.”
                Celeste sighed in relief and let out a tear. “Thank you.” She stepped aside from the door. “Would you like me to—” Daphne ran out the door before she finished her sentence.
                “Father! Mother!” she cried out. “The slave tried to kill me.”
                Celeste collapsed on her knees then, her body wracking out sobs of fear and despair.
                They’re selling my mother. I may never see her again, just like I’ll never see father. She wished that a black hole would suck her in right then. She wished she wasn’t such a helpless slave, her life at the mercy of a wicked master. Oh, to be free…
The flogging that was inflicted on her that night was much worse than the last. Celeste had tried so hard, wailing and cursing that the master had stuffed her mouth with something dirty in order to muffle out her cries. She lay there, topless, tied to a post in the dark. She was in the barn with the horses, waiting for the master to take pity on her and allow her inside. If she remained like this, her back could become infected. And then maybe I’ll fade into oblivion at last, and join father. She had witnessed the brutality of the flogging that had been the death of her father years ago. He had tried to way the master from hurting Mother. It had all been for nought. Celeste now knew what he had wanted with her mother, and knew that he had had his way with her.
                And one day he’ll have his way with me— if I don’t die here first.
Celeste awoke to feel a smooth hand caress her cheek.
                “Celeste, wake up.” The voice was low and sombre— gentle but authoritative.
When Celeste opened her eyes, she found herself face to face with a vision of ethereal beauty.  His dark eyes lit up a little when he realised she was awake. His close proximity startled Celeste, and she tried to back away, forgetting that she was still tied to the post.
“Oh, you poor thing,” the man said to her. “It is simply terrible that they have resorted to treating you like a beast. What crime have you been alleged to have committed?” The man tilted his head at a peculiar angle, stroking her face all the while.
“I… The master’s daughter thinks I tried to kill her.”
“Ouch. Now that is a serious accusation.” His tone was disapproving, but his lips gave way to a cold smile.
“I didn’t though. I didn’t try to kill her.”
The dark haired man narrowed his eyes, keeping his eyes fixed with hers. She felt exposed like this, reminded that she was still topless.
“I believe you,” he answered at last. “But I suppose it doesn’t matter what I believe. What will your master do with you, I wonder?”
Celeste was reminded of that monstrous glare, and that vicious smile as her master continued to whip her. She’d been whipped harder for cursing.
“I don’t know,” Celeste said. She looked at the floor, noticing the man’s nice leather shoes. He must be wealthy to have shoes like that.
The stranger lifted her chin so that Celeste’s eyes met his once more. “A torturer will be sent,” he answered. “They will do unspeakable things to you and I am here to make a deal with you— a faery bargain.”
He’s a faery! Celeste thought. That explains his otherworldly beauty— his sharp features and musical voice.
“I might be regarded a simpleton, but I know that faery deals are dangerous.”
“That they are, deary.” At least he was admitting it. Faeries couldn’t lie, after all. “You have a choice now. Die at the behest of the Lully’s, or come and live with me.”
“As what?” Celeste screamed. “Your pet? Your whore?”
The faery gave her an unamused glare. “Forgive me if I offend but you’re a little bit underdeveloped—” he pointed towards her chest “for my tastes.” Celeste blushed scarlet and looked away. “But I do mean for you to be mine. You have something very special in you that I need.”
“What might that be?” she asked.
“Your music, of course. I have heard you play and it calls out to me from my home and it is a lovely sound I will not have silenced by your death.”
“That’s it?” she asked.
“You obviously do not understand just how talented you are,” the faery said. Celeste only shrugged. “You haven’t much time to decide, young mortal.”
“If I agree, will you take my mum too?”
“I couldn’t…” he looked away from her as if to think about it. “No, I simply couldn’t.”
“Please! I can’t be separated from her. Not after my father—”
“Died?”
“Yes!”
“Celeste, you will know loss—it is the way of the world. Mortals are fragile and not all belong where I come from. You would do your mother a disservice by bringing her with you.”
“Why? What would happen?”
“Where I am taking you, you will live forever. In my experience, forever is too long a time for a mortal. Their minds cannot take the pressure of such a thing.”
“Then why me?” she asked.
“Because you are special. You are destined to do great things.”
Celeste snorted. “I’m a mortal. There’s nothing special about me.”
“A wise faery once told me “We don’t let prophecies align for us in the stars; stars wait for us to prophecy what will be.”
“Who told you that?”
“My father— a long time ago.”
Celeste stood then, looking at the faery full on, despite her state of undress. “Then I prophecy this: If you want me, you will have to take my mother too, because I am not leaving her.”
“You are testing my patience, deary.”
“And you are testing mine.” Celeste fully expected to be slapped for her insolence, and she saw the faery grit his teeth in anger, but he did not raise a hand against her.
“Fine. Have it your way, but you must swear to be faithful to me.”
“And you must swear to uphold you end of the bargain.” The faery smiled at her then— wicked and deadly. “You know my name, but I don’t know yours.” The faery came closer and ripped the ropes holding her prisoner.
“Yes,” he replied simply. Celeste waited a moment as the faery removed his top and gave it to her to wear. The scent of it was of nature— pine needles and grass.
“What is your name?” she finally asked.
“I am Quinlan, King of the Unseelie court.”
Celeste’s eyes opened wide in shock. A faery king was interested in her music. She knew then that it didn’t really matter what she said to him. If he wanted her to play for him, she would do so, faery bargain or not. The Unseelie king was infamous for his cruelty and his wit. He would have her.
“Ah, it appears my reputation precedes me.”
“Considering it’s about several centuries old, I reckon it does.”
“You think me so young? I’m not certain if I should be flattered or insulted.” Celeste had no answer for that. “Come on. Let us be off.”
“I… I’m not coming with you.” The words tumbled out before she could stop them. Quinlan snapped his head to face her again, his eyes steeled in anger.
“And why is that?”
“Because I don’t trust you.”
“My dear child, who said anything about trust? You will come with me of your own volition, or you will regret your mistake dearly.”
“No,” she said. “I’ve heard the stories about you. You take children every now and then and they are never seen again. Their bodies show up decades— sometimes centuries later.”
“Really, these rumours are quite distasteful. What need do I have for children?” He stepped dangerously close towards Celeste then. “They come to me. They dance with my court and then they never want to leave. When they die, I send them back to where they once belonged.”
Celeste heard a blood-curling scream, and smelt something foul burning. The scream went on and on.
“Terrific!” Quinlan exclaimed, obviously annoyed.
“What is that?”
“We were too late. That is your mother, burning outside for your crimes.”
“What? NO!” Celeste ran towards the exit, but she was intercepted by the faery king. “You lied to me! You said they would kill me!”
“No. I said they would make you pay. I said they would send for a torturer who would do unspeakable things to you. This is their form of torture, but mark my words, you will be next.”
“Let them then! Let them!”
“I can’t do that. One way or another, you will belong to me.” He stalked off, leaving her a quivering mess in the empty stables, wondering what fate awaited her.

All too often, writer’s get stuck when writing. Sometimes it’s easy to overcome, other times it’s much trickier. When you can write about almost anything you want, you would think that the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, it is the writer who determines how far they can go. So what do I do to overcome writer’s block?

  1. I give it a break. This can be helpful if you’ve been writing for a long time and if you take some time off, you may feel a lot more able when you come back to it. This is not helpful when you have a deadline to make, however. 
  2. I write from another character’s perspective. Exploring how other character’s feel about events can open up doorways into a process of thinking that you might not have otherwise thought of. I would like to warn you not to get too carried away though.
  3. Write another part of your story. Who says you have to write everything in chapter order? Right now I’ve written chapter 9 without yet finishing chapters 7-8. Heck, I’ve written chapter 14, but now most of the chapters between that! When you are the writer, you ar win control. Well, most of the time. Your characters may feel that it is up to them to lead you in the write direction.
  4. Talk to your characters. I know this may seem a little crazy, but I read somewhere that Stephen King did this. I’m not entirely true if it’s accurate but I gave it a shot, when I was alone, thankfully. It seemed to work for me. Pretending that your characters a real can help you empathise with them. (ah! Just nearly got struck by Stefan, who’s insisting he’s real!) 
  5. I read my chapters out loud to myself. I find that it’s like when I compose and playback sections of the song to myself. I hum a tune and see if it works with what I’ve previously composed. The same can be said for writing. Reading it out loud brings the story to life in a way, keeping it in your head doesn’t. Plus it helps if you’re as egotistic as me. I’m in love with my own voice. You may disagree with the quality of it if I ever get my audio produced. 
Well that’s all I can think of for now. Sorry, if it doesn’t help. I’m happy for you if it does.
Don’t let writer’s block tackle you, tackle IT! 
Mufunde, out
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