Friday, 6 May 2011

"Fantasy" Storyline Pt. 2

Here goes nothing...

Frigid air once again whipped its way around every inch of her body. Although Atka and her people were accustomed to the ever-increasing harshness of the winters they had to endure, it did not make them any warmer. Only years of discipline kept her teeth from chattering. After one final check to ensure that all of her equipment - her bow, knife and pack, that is - was present and in good working condition, she set off. She knew the journey she was to make well. Off the beaten path, through various deserted caverns and caves, to emerge at the eastern edge of the Modabe desert within three moons, according to her people's most respected cartographers and one gibbering, incoherent soul who somehow achieved success in his attempt to pass through.

Although the bitter cold had driven the majority of the range's open-air inhabitants to warmer lands, the same would not hold true for various cave-dwelling beasts that made their home in the Glades' caves. Beasts that only a few of her tribe had seen in a number of expeditions. Not all of them returned, and none of them had achieved a kill; not even the most skilled. She must be cautious, and remember her mission. With this in mind, she went on her way; using the sloping path that led to the lowest points of the range.

Atka travelled for what seemed like an eternity through the misty valleys of the mountains, with nothing but birdsong and the constant hum of a tracker's thoughts to accompany her. Finally reaching the first cave she was to pass through in order to take the shortest route to the Modabe, she noticed that nightfall was steadily approaching. Quickly weighing up the risks involved in travelling through an already dark cave with no beacon to guide her back to the exit, she decided to set up camp in foliage roughly one hundred yards from the mouth of the cave. Expertly crafting a bed of leaves in the maw of an overhang to shield from the wind and the majority - but not all - of the cold, she managed to kindle a fire. As she warmed her hands and ate a little of her ration for the night, she could have sworn that she had heard something from deep within the cave.

After the night had passed, it was time for her to enter the cavern. She checked her knife and bow again, more out of habit than anything else when about to enter a dangerous situation such as this, and treaded into the darkness.

The cave seemed to feast upon whatever light ventured into it. She could clearly see an outline of where brightness could not pass, and this disconcerted her. It was almost as though whatever was in the cave did not want to be found, or at least wanted her to believe that it didn’t. Relax, she thought, you're here for a reason. Don't get caught up in fear, especially fear of something that you haven't even seen yet. Rule number 1. Fear control.
Deeper and deeper she journeyed into the blackness, relying on her unnaturally keen eyesight - though not keen enough to penetrate this gloom - and her instincts to guide her.

The slightest noise seems to be twice as loud in here, she mused, irritated by the deafening drops of "mildew" as they struck the stalagmites, causing a chime-like ring throughout the cave. This place could drive you insane.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Continuous Storyline!

I've decided that twice a week for a month I will continue a storyline! I hope you enjoy reading it... Any constructive criticism or feedback is greatly appreciated.

Part 1
The winters are getting leaner, thought Atka as she notched another arrow on her longbow. Soon there will be nowhere near enough game to feed the entire village. The community in which she lived knew all about hardship. As a small independent community in a huge, war-torn nation they had been plundered, ransacked and attacked more times than any of the citizens cared to remember. Frugality was learned from birth, and taught by death. As one of the only village hunters left her job was made difficult enough by the number of mouths she was to feed; never mind the falling temperatures that winter brought with it.

Ice was rapidly crystallising on the branches of the many now-dead trees in the Glades. It hurt the teeth to breathe in through the mouth, and the harsh, whistling wind stung every exposed inch of skin. Keen eyes spotted the malnutritioned rabbit between the trees. Crouching to remain unseen to her quarry, she slowly exhaled and took aim.
The arrow found its mark directly between the ribs of the animal. Pleased by her marksmanship, she walked over to her kill, lifted it by the ears, and retrieved her arrow. Hmph, she snorted, disappointed in the scrawny animal. There's barely enough meat here to feed a raven, never mind one of us. Sighing, she turned and retraced her trail back to the main path to tally her spoils. Two rabbits, a few large birds and a young, weak deer. All underfed, like us. But we have the weapons and the intelligence. Sighing again, more deeply this time, she set off home, knowing that she was to be berated for another almost empty-handed return. No matter. None of the others will have done much better. Unless Trand has managed to track another bear, the lucky bastard. I would not be surprised. Footprints in the deepening snow and small dots of blood were the only indicator of her presence, and soon nature would take care of that.

"Atka, this is the third time this week you have returned with next to nothing. What say you?" demanded the Vathun, chieftain of her village.
Determined not to let her frustration betray her, she simply stated,
"The weather, Vathun. The game has moved towards the deserts and pastures of the West and South in search of warmth. There was nothing I could do."
"You know damn well I want results and not another excuse Atka."
"I apologise."
Furrowing his brow further, if at all possible, the Vathun's eyes bore into her like a chisel.
"I am sorry Vathun, but what of the others?"
"You are the first to return Atka, as usual. The others seem to be far more... dedicated to the survival of this village.” he muttered coldly.
Her blood began to boil at that. That damned fool knew how much this village meant to her. It was her life.
"With all due respect-", she began.
"Silence! I know as well as anyone here that your skill in archery, swordsmanship and tracking is unmatched here. I believe that you require a task more suited to your individualistic nature."
"What would you have me do, Vathun?" Please say reconnaissance... Anything to get away from here right now...
"You are to contact the glassworkers of the Modabe. Our treaty with them still stands, and they will surely have supplies needed by us."
Yes! "As you wish."
"Leave tomorrow morning. Travel light, and catch your own game on the way."
She bowed, turned, and left the tent-cabin hybrid, allowing the leather door to flap wildly on her way.