December Means November Is Over!
The first of December means two things for me. The first is that it’s my birthday. The second is NaNoWriMo is finally over! I didn’t win, which came as no surprise as I previously blogged about giving up (and why that’s not always a bad thing). Also, earthquakes suck.
So to celebrate, I am posting a small fragment of The Cantia Covenant, which I have dubbed How Einar Got A Job Instead Of Arrested. Be warned: it is terrible in all the ways a NaNo novel can be. The only edits have been to fully excise the segments I would have deleted while writing, only instead struckthrough because NaNo.
A little bit of backstory: Einar (a svelte dual-wielding rogue with curly blonde hair) has acommpanied his foster-sister to Mairatania Prima, where she is to compete for the vacancy in the Cantia Covenant – the most powerful group of mages in the empire. Einar, however, was born with a rare gift of anti-magic so he’s not entirely welcome in the plans. So while they prepare, he goes exploring.
How Einar Got A Job Instead Of Arrested
The chaos – fight, crowd, noise, and distraction – was a perfect storm for what happened next. The addition of magic just made the whole thing worse.
Because of course magic did.
“Get back here, thief!”
The shout was lost in the yelling of the crowd, but Einar managed to hear it. Just. It was more the flush of magic from somewhere nearby that did it. He whipped his head around so hard he could almost feel a crack, but there it was. A small child was running away as fast as they could, coin purse in hand. Then a red-faced man in his middle forties shouted some word that reeked of power and raised a hand. There was a flash of light and then the child slammed face first into some invisible wall, so hard that Einar could see the way they literally bounced backwards and slid across the cobblestones. They wailed and clutched her nose with the hand still not clinging tightly to the coin purse; it was too small to hide the spray of blood from their clearly broken nose.
“You are not getting away!” The man made another gesture, and some invisible force started dragging the girl – and it was a girl, underneath that ratted mess of hair, worn-thin clothes, and layers of dirt – back by her ankles. She kicked and screamed and fought the entire time, tears streaming down her cheeks and blood spraying everywhere.
“You’re hurting me!” she bawled. “Let me go!” She could not have been more than ten years old, the sobs and high-pitch of her voice twisting something deep inside Einar’s gut.
“You’re not going anywhere until the guard comes,” the mage snarled in return as he struggled to keep the girl from getting away. “And then they’re gonna lock you up.” With another flick of his wrist, the man slammed down harder with his magic so that the girl was now surrounded on four sides by the invisible magic force.
“Hey!” Einar’s shout caused not one pair of eyes to turn to him, but several. “Stop that! You’re hurting her!”
“Oh yeah? What’s it to you, [foreigner]?” The mage looked Einar up and down and, clearly not deeming him a threat, turned back to the girl. “They soft on thieves where you come from? Let me show you what we do to them here.” The man squeezed his fist slowly, and while Einar and the crowd now gathering around them could not see what exactly was happening, the screams of pain and the girl’s visible attempts to make herself smaller made it clear: whatever the barrier he had surrounded her with was now growing smaller and smaller.
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” Einar roared. Even more heads turned to look at him, but he ignored those as well. His focus was on the barrier, and reaching inside himself to find whatever it was that could bring it down. Like dirt thrown over a fire, he clamped down on the magical barrier and smothered it out of existence. The girl’s screams immediately stopped and her body went limp – stretched out like so little skin and bone – with relief.
The mage now turned his anger completely on Einar. At least if it was going to be an unfair fight, the man was on the receiving end of the difference. “How dare you interrupt, you-” And he called Einar a word that merely made him raise his eyebrows. As if he had never had slurs about his refugee background hurled at him before. Hah.
But the slurs were not the only thing hurled at him. There was a flash of red and white, and – judging by the reaction of the crowd, a flinching away even as their faces reddened and sweat – a rush of heat as the mage hurled the ball of flame. But Einar simply stood his ground, the fireball extinguishing into nothing as it came into contact with his instinctive aura of anti-magic. “Is that the best you have?” Einar mocked, laughing. As casually as he could, he shifted his hand to the long dagger he kept in a hilt at his back.
The man was beet red by now, his chest swelling up and his eyes furious. He readied another fireball, but realising that it was going to be just as effective as the first, spun around to find an easier target – the girl who was trying to crawl away as fast as she could.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Einar shut that down just as quickly as the first. And before the man could blink, Einar was right up in his face, dagger pressed to his throat. “Now, I want you to think real hard about what you’re going to say next. I am going to suggest an apology to that girl. And then an apology to me. I do not appreciate being called slurs, mage.”
For all his rage and magic, once you took away the latter and threatened him the man seemed to mellow considerably. Funny how a sharp knife could do that.
And then the members of the watch, already having it up to here with Alonsius, recognise all of Einar’s awesomeness and and the great potential of having an anti-mage guard in a mageocracy offer him a job. 😀
So how did you guys go with your NaNo novels this year? Did you win, did you give up but still learn a lot of useful things? Have you been brave/silly enough to post anything you wrote during the month?