The Untitled Novel – Chapters 1 & 2

Some people, people who actually read my stuff, might remember my NaNoWriMo effort.

Since I’m not going to send this off to agents and publishers, I decided to present the novel here, for the enjoyment of the few. It is as written, with only a couple of spelling errors corrected. The plot and structure also remain as written even though I think I could polish it up a bit more.

I said before that I write by the seat of the pants, and this was one such effort. Zero planning, zero outlines, zero idea of where I was going, what characters I would have, etc.

Chapter 1 had already been shared HERE, but for convenience I reprint it below along with Chapter 2. Subsequent installments will be single chapters. Here’s the thing . . . I enjoyed reading it after nearly two months of not looking at it. Not surprising, that, since I wrote it for my enjoyment.

If any of you also derive some level of enjoyment from it, please let me know. Or not.

NaNoWriMo Novel 01 – Untitled

Chapter 1 – Surrender

Copyright 2013, E. J. D’Alise

Walking a step behind Doryn, Riso scanned the lines of soldiers lining the path to the surrender table. He saw no hostility, but plenty of curiosity. He noticed the occasional lecherous look aimed at Princess Doryn. He would have liked to wipe the smirks from their faces, but this was neither the time or place.

“Please, sit.” Having reached the table, the new Planetary Magistrate motioned for Doryn to take the lone chair on one side of the table. The opposite side had five chairs, all occupied by various officials of the invaders.

“You may leave.” The man barely looked at Riso, waving his hand as he spoke. Riso did not move.

The Magistrate started to speak, but stopped, finally focusing on Riso. He saw an unassuming figure clad in what in his world would be classified as peasant cloth. A gray shirt, dark gray pants, black moccasins, and a black belt loosely tied at the waist. The eyes held his attention; never before had he seen such pale blue eyes. Almost white, they were no less commanding, giving dimension and structure to the man before him.

“I said, you may leave”. This time the Magistrate did not turn away, waiting instead for this unassuming man to heed his order.

“I heard you the first time.” The man’s voice was not loud, but deep and rich.

“Riso . . .” Princess Doryn looked up at him from her seated position. There was pleading in her eyes; eyes still showing remnants of the tears she had shed for her parents, killed during the taking of the castle two days earlier.

Riso looked at her, and then back at the Magistrate as he answered her unspoken plea. “My place is at your side.”

The Magistrate regarded Riso for a few moments, before recognition showed in his face. “You are the Soldion.”

Riso did not answer.

“A lot of good it did the Costas having you on their side.” The Magistrate’s words were followed by a smirk accompanied by an amused look in his face. Riso knew immediately when the next thought formed in the Magistrate’s mind.

“Don’t.” As Riso spoke the word, his left hand formed a fist, and a staff grew from both sides of it, as if he had been holding it all along. In response, a number of soldiers behind Riso raised their guns.

The Magistrate, purely by reflex, asked the obvious question.

“Don’t what?” his smirk was replaced by something akin to awe. He had heard the tales of magic, and the tales of advanced technology, but until now had dismissed them as products of the exaggeration of fertile minds.

“You have it in mind to test me.” Riso’s other hand closed, and a short blade appeared in it. The blade was hard to focus on, as if made by rippling water.

Riso continued, “Know that at the King’s and Queen’s request I did not partake in their defense. I am, however, sworn to protect the Princess. The next few moments will determine if you and everyone in this hall live or die.”

As he spoke, Riso’s four orbs rose from his belt, forming a square around he and the Princess. Once above his head, beams flashed from the orbs, giving him the location of every person in the room. Fifty six; it would be pushing it, but doable.

The Magistrate, while in awe of the artifacts and actions of the man, was not about to lose face in front of of his men, and certainly not in front of the Princess, for which he had plans of his own.

“You insolent . . . “ He never finished the sentence. The person seated to his left, a soldier by the looks of her uniform, swung her arm, catching the Magistrate in the throat, and knocking him and the chair backwards.

She then stood, raising her arm as she did so.

“Lower your weapons!” The order, directed at the soldiers behind Riso, caused some confusion in the ranks. “NOW!” She followed up, her voice filling the room.

As the soldiers complied, she shifted her attention on Riso.

“I’m sorry; the man’s a fool, but he comes from an influential family. I am General Rocca. You may remain; please, let’s continue.”

Riso looked at the woman. There was strength there, in addition to intelligence and, he noticed, she carried herself with confidence. After another scan, his staff and blade faded away. The orbs, however, remained hovering above him.

The Magistrate was helped up by two guards, and struggled to regain his voice as he once again sat at the table.

“. . . Ach . . . Yes, please remain.”

Rubbing his throat, the Magistrate reached for the surrender documents. A formality, but also ensuring the Costas would cease hostilities across the kingdom, and especially the high seas. The signature of the Princess on these papers guaranteed servitude to the new regime in name only; the people would remain loyal to the Princess, and her agreement to submit to Sasson rule would extend to her subjects. Or at least most of the subjects.

The surrender terms were read out load, and as each page was read, the princess affixed her seal to the lower right corner, and the magistrate initialed the lower left corner. An occasional tear fell from the Princess’s cheek, and beaded on the paper before being absorbed, almost like an additional seal.

“No.” Riso’s hand covered the Princess’s as she was about to put her seal on the past page. She had not been listening, but Riso had.

“She will remain at the palace.” Riso looked at the General as he spoke.

The last page contained a provision whereas she would be a permanent guest at the Magistrate’s mansion. Before the Magistrate could object, the general grabbed the ornate pen from the Magistrate, scratched out that portion of the surrender document, and then initialed the change.

The magistrate stood, knocking his chair over.

“Fine, you finalize it.” He turned and marched off, his personal guards trying to keep up.

Once he was out of the room, General Rocca turned the last sheet facing the Princess, and she put the final seal on the agreement.

The room was quiet as the Princess stood. She did not turn to make her way back out. Instead, she turned toward Riso, and with a sob, hugged him about the waist, burring her face in his chest. Instantly, the four orbs descended, and an opaque shield was formed around them, obscuring them from view of the people in the room.

Riso waited for the sobs to slow, then stop. He gently broke the Princess’s hug, and knelt in front of her. Her sixteen years old face was streaked with tear, her eyes red and swollen with yet more tears, and she looked much younger than her years.

“Princess Doryn . . .” Words failed him. Until he crash-landed on this world, he had no idea what children were, and he was not equipped to deal with their emotional immaturity, let alone the grief of having lost one’s parents.

“I know,” she said, “I must be strong.” She looked into his eyes, and not for the first time wished she could be as strong, self-assured, and capable as her Riso.

“No,” Riso’s voice was soft, as gentle as she had ever heard it. “Now you grieve; there is plenty of time to be strong later.” He wiped a tear from her cheek as he spoke.

Doryn looked at him, looked at his clear blue eyes, and threw her arms around his neck. As she held him tight, Riso knew his devotion to this child was not one borne of his oath to the deceased King and Queen. He wondered if this how parents felt toward their children. If so, he thought it was something near magical.

It lasted only a minute or so, and then Doryn stepped back, composed and trying to look her station. Riso stood, and the orbs made their way back to his belt, the opaque shield dissolving as they settled into the vacant indents. There were four more orbs spaced around the belt, each a different color; red, blue, green, and white. The returning orbs were all black.

The room was now empty, and only General Rocca remained.

 

Chapter 2 – Riso and Rocca

“I’ll escort you back to your vehicle, your highness,” General Rocca said, using a motion of her arm to point to the open doors.

Doryn, chin held high, led the way, with Rico and Rocca falling in behind her. Rico’s peripheral vision, better than most people’s, registered Rocca’s interest in him.

“Go ahead, ask.” He spoke without looking at her, scanning the plaza as they exited the building.

Rocca hesitated a moment, and asked what most people asked.

“Is it magic or technology?”

“Are you asking as a person, or as a soldier?”

“Does it make a difference?”

“One will get you killed.”

Rocca missed a step, recovered, and responded. “Just for asking?”

“No.” Riso replied, “but if you are asking as a soldier, eventually your interest will shift toward acquiring either or both.”

Rocca considered the answer, and answered as she always did, honestly.

“A little of both. But the soldier part has to do more with tactical considerations than acquisition.”

“Good answer.” Riso did not smile, but was both surprised and pleased at Rocca’s directness.

“Truthfully, I don’t know,” he continued. “It’s probably all technology, but some things are tied directly to me, and I don’t have a science-based explanation for them. Then again, I’m not a scientist. On my world abilities vary with individuals, and it’s never clear of the connection between science and what appears as magic.”

“Your world; where is it, and how did you come to be here? What’s it like living in your world?” Rocca’s questions were fired off quickly as they were approaching the ceremonial vehicle. Used mostly for parades, it was an open-air platform similar in function to the one used by attack squads, but slower and less armored, and without the usual weapons. The driver’s sat forward of a much larger area designed to accommodate the royal family and a few dignitaries.

Riso opened the door for the Princess, and helped her up into it, then stepped up himself. He sat, secured the harness on both before turning and answering.

“Perhaps you can join us for a meal sometime, and I’ll answer all your questions.”

Riso was about to tell the driver to go when Rocca placed her hand on the door.

“I’m not doing anything now.”

Riso did not speak; he just pushed the door open. As Rocca started to climb aboard, Riso’s shield went up around him and Doryn, and Rocca bumped her head on something that felt like a stiff sponge. At the same time she felt as if someone had punched her in the shoulder.

Rocca’s perception changed to a surreal slow-motion unfolding of events. She saw the bullet that had passed through her shoulder strike the invisible barrier and stop in mid-air. She heard the retort of multiple shots, and saw two more bullets stop in front of the Princess. She saw her blood also strike the barrier, and then drip down along it. She registered Riso reaching for her with one hand, and at the same time extending his other hand to a point somewhere high-up and behind her.

She started to fall when she felt something envelop her, and that was the last thing she remembered.

To Be Continued

Chapter 3 can be found HERE.

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