The Decision (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxii)

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Chloe entered the room. Sitting behind a large desk, Lillith looked up and gave her a stern expression.

“I was wondering when you were coming back.”

“Ah,” Chloe said, “you were?”

Lillith stood, and stepping towards Chloe said, “I was. When you left to get your letter delivered, I told you to come back so that we could train today. So that you, like me, and like the Prince, would be ready if anything happens, if any conflict breaks out.”

“I, ah…”

“Isn’t that why you came here in the first place?” Lillith paused then tilted her head upwards, making an obvious gesture of thoughtfulness, “or maybe you just came to the city to see the sights? Maybe this whole trip is just a vacation?”

Lillith made eye contact with Chloe, and her expressions softened a bit.

“Or maybe you don’t really know why you came here?”

Chloe looked down and mumbled, “I, ah, I came here to… Or rather, I was brought here by Elliott and Dool to help with your conflict. To be another noble and strengthen the royal position.”

“You didn’t come on your own. You were brought,” Lillith further loosened her stance, “but you’re not really part of the conflict, you’re an outsider. You’re really more of a guest, aren’t you.”

Chloe wasn’t sure what to say. She knew that she had been brought to the Underside for a specific reason, and what that reason was. Even if she wasn’t directly involved, didn’t she come here to help?

“I guess…”

“If you don’t want to train, that’s fine; it isn’t really your duty to help us. You’re not obligated to learn from me. You don’t owe it to the Lussa people to be a capable warrior.”

“Well, I guess…”

Lillith continued, “There’s no need for you to feel responsible for our situation. I know you came intending to help, but if you don’t want to, it isn’t your fault, is it? You can just freeload off of Prince Riley-”

“Okay!” Chloe shouted, “okay, I get it. I understand.”

“You understand?”

Chloe sighed, “I went out and wasted the whole day exploring with Elliott, when I should have been here, doing my duty as a royal guest. Right?”

“Prince Chloe, for you to stay here and work, or to go out there and commit leisure, is neither right nor wrong,” Lillith returned to her desk and sat down, “you can likely tell from my speech which action I would prefer you take, but really I have no power over you. It’s up to you whether you want to commit or not.”

“Well,” Chloe said, “there’s clearly an obvious choice. I… I guess I’ll do the right thing and give up ‘committing leisure’ as you put it, and just focus on training. That is the correct decision, right?”

Lillith opened her hands, facing her palms up, “the choice really is yours.”

“Okay,” Chloe nodded, and then turned, ready to exit the room.

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning then?” Lillith asked.

“Yes.”

Chloe nodded again, to herself this time, and then left. She felt as if she’d done the right thing, but wasn’t entirely confident in that decision.

Daniel Triumph.
You can follow me on: Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt, or Instagram.

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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

P.S.

I actually proofread this one! Finally, taking these small steps towards improvement. Also, not that I’m finally paying attention to tension. Not that it’s played out particularly amazing in this scene, but I have to start somewhere, right?

 

Don’t Tread on Me.

Don’t tread on me.
I don’t much appreciate it.

Don’t tread on me,
I’d rather be alone.

Human shoes
Horse’s shoes
Tires and
Wheels

Can you not
Understand
How it all
Feels?

A Worker fixes a crack
A Worker changes a stone.

They think they are helping
But when they come back,
They’ll do the unspeakable,
Foot based attack!

Don’t tread on me.

Quite possibly the dumbest poem I’ve ever written, content wise. At the very least, I like the use of rhythm. I make it very clear that I’m an amateur at poetry.

Daniel Triumph.

P.S.

(Yes, this poem is about a complaining road, of all things. Judging by the presence of both horses and wheels (either car or bicycle), you could say it takes place around the late 1800s/ early 1900s.)

Elliott’s Project (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxi)

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In the morning, Chloe milled about her room. She regarded the day clothes on the ground and wondered if she would have to wear them again. Then she remembered that Riley had tricked her travelling bag back from the police. She put on new clothes. Chloe stuffed the old clothes back in the bag and leaned it on the desk.

“Oh right, the letter. I guess I’ll find a courier for that today. Lillith must know someone.”

Chloe headed down to the ground floor, hoping her host would be there. The letter contained a simple question to her father asking who Venus was, as well as assurance that she had made it to the underside okay, but that the Lussa city certainly was troubled.

“Ah, you’re awake.” Lillith said.

Chloe returned to reality, “ah, yes. Is there anyone who can take this letter to the Overside, to my father in the Solune Kingdom?”

“The Overside? It isn’t easy to deliver to the other side of the planet.” Lillith considered for a moment and then added, “although, I do know a merchant who takes goods there occasionally. This isn’t urgent, is it?”

“No.”

Lillith gave Chloe the merchant’s location.

“But return soon. We still need to figure out what weapon best suits you, and also to build up your stamina.”

“Sure thing.”

Chloe left the house and wandered around for a while, glancing at the address that Lillith had given her. Eventually she encountered Elliott, who had come to see her. After explaining her predicament, Elliott offered to help. They found the merchant with ease, and he accepted the letter. The man accepted Solune coin, so Chloe paid him for his trouble.

Elliott said, “hey, you know, this place is close to the shop we’re painting. Want to see?”

“What do you mean?”

“Okay, I told you I do odd jobs for Prince Riley, right?”

“Yes, and that you have a lot of free time,” Chloe nodded.

“Right, well with the rest of the time, I do commissions with a few friends.”

Elliott began to lead Chloe towards the shop.

“Commissions?” Chloe asked.

“I’ll explain,” Elliot said, “you see how this place, this whole city, is made of iron right? It’s the easiest material to find around here other than, like, sand. And for some, it’s nice and shiny. But others find it all grey and dull, because everything looks the same. So, those people come to me or one of my friends, and ask us to paint it!”

Elliott rummaged through his bag and took out a metal tube. On one end was a nozzle, and on the other was a capped hole.

“See, you can take the top off and fill it with paint, and then you pump air into the bottom. Then it’ll spray.”

“Interesting. I’ve never seen this method of painting before.”

“Oh, it’s great. So, there’s a shopkeeper who wants his building painted with a design. Nothing two intense, it is a place of business of course, but enough to make it stand out. Of course, we can’t just paint, you need to get government permissions. Oh look, there it is!”

They stopped in front of a long, thin, two storey building on the corner of a marketplace block. In front of it was a small group of people.

Chloe said, “That’s it? This building looks just like the rest.”

“No no, we haven’t started yet.”

“Oh.”

“We’re planning today. Look, you can see Spider up there on the wall with the soft stone, checking measurements and doing outlines.” Elliott pointed.

“Wow, this is a whole process, huh?” Chloe said.

“Yeah, it’s our project.”

One of the people in the group was shouting instructions out to Spider.

Elliott introduced Chloe to his colleges.

He pointed to a white skinned, perturbed looking bald man who was staring at an outline on his sheet of reeds-paper, “this is Gerome. He’s the oldest, and he’s volunteered to help the Prince, kind of like you. Gerome, this is Chloe.”

Gerome said, “hey there, Chloe, nice to meet you.”

Chloe gave him nervous smile.

Gerome went back to his work, “Alright, so who all drew up this plan? It’s giving me a lot of mixed signals. Eh! Spider! Rub off that marking at the top there! No, not that one!”

Elliott looked at the awkward situation, and said, “yeah, it’s probably better to let him be. Anyway, these two are my brothers.”

Chloe looked at Elliott’s brothers. They were young, but older than Elliott. They were clearly twins, and they both had pale skin and light orange hair. They looked back at her, one at a time, bored. Chloe turned to Elliott, who had black hair and dark skin.

Elliott said, “they are Olllie and Eastton.”

Chloe felt a little better about talking to these two, since they were related to Elliott, and she knew Elliott.

Confused, Chloe said, “And they’re your brothers?”

“Elliott, look, you’ve gone and confused her,” Olllie said.

Eastton added, “Yeah, really. Did you even bother to explain why we have different skin tones? She probably thinks we’re adopted.”

Chloe looked from the twins to Elliott with a questioning look.

“Right, okay,” Elliott nodded, “good point. So, my brothers are albino. Apparently Lussa people have a higher chance of being albino than other races. You do know what albinism is right?”

Chloe nodded, “yes, it’s when you have no pigmentation in your skin.”

Olllie said, “right. Although, it’s a little different for the Lussa. Since it’s so common, even the albino people have become more adapted for the sun and whatnot.”

“Whatnot,” Chloe nodded.

“Right, so it’s not a complete loss. That’s why, while I may be pale, I can stand the sun, at least for a bit. It helps that the sun is fairly weak on the Underside.”

“That’s very interesting…”

“Olllie.”

“Very interesting, Olllie.”

“And,” Eastton added, “it goes the other way too. There’s a decent chance of a white person being born melinistic!”

“It’s around fifteen percent either way,” Ollie finished.

“So,” Chloe said, “it can be hard to discriminate without the pitfall of being straight out wrong, huh.”

The twins looked at each other, then shrugged.

“Okay, but who made these plans, anyway?” Gerome said, “they don’t make much sense.”

Elliott walked over and began explaining his outline. A few times, he himself got confused, or had to scratch lines off of the reeds-paper and redraw them. The twins left shortly after to go to work. As the day went on, Chloe watched as Gerome and Elliott with amazement as they instructed Spider, who diligently began to replicate the dark lines on the page as light marks on the wall.

Some time in the afternoon, Spider came down from the wall.

She took off her helmet and said, “I’m tired. My mom wants me home.”

Elliott and Gerome shrugged. Gerome packed away the plans, and everyone went their separate ways.

Elliott followed after Chloe and said, “hey, maybe I should stop by and see if Riley’s there. He might need something, you know?”

“Sure, we can walk back together,” Chloe said.

It didn’t take long for the two to get back to the House of Angels. Chloe went inside to find Lillith, and see she could get any food, and Elliott followed. Instead, she found Col.

“Where is Lillith?” Chloe asked.

Col gave her a nervous look, then said, “she’s in her study on the second floor. She’s… waiting for you.”

Chloe headed up the stairs, mumbling, “waiting for me?”

A neat label declared it’s door to be the study.

Elliot stopped and said, “you know, I’ll wait here. I don’t know why she wants to see you, but I don’t think I should interrupt.”

“Sure,” Chloe said.

She entered the room.

Sitting behind a large desk, Lillith looked up at Chloe and gave her a stern expression.

“I was wondering when you were coming back.”

Daniel Triumph.
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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)

P.S.

This chapter was a real struggle to write. Not only because I’ve got my bipolar depression issues right now, but also because I’m starting to find all sorts of holes in my plot, or unnecessary portions. I think this is a lesson on planning.

I really want to finish anyway though. At least I’ll have something I can add to consistently, and also first drafts are notoriously terrible, right? Maybe I’ll have a better outlook on it when I’m not so down. For now, at least I got something out.

Who is Good Company? (A Dialogue)

“So, Jin, what do you think about hunting in the north?”

“I have no issue.”

“Really? I would have expected you to be against it.”

“Why?”

“Well, didn’t you grow up in the woods? Maybe you know some of the creatures that we hunt,” Salt was beginning to feel stupid but he continued, “as friends or something. Is that stupid to ask that?”

“I didn’t befriend any of the kinds of creatures you hunt.”

“Oh.”

“It is not stupid to ask if I have met the creatures of the woods. I did communicate with some of the others when I lived there.”

“But not the kind we eat?”

“You would know this if you lived in the wilderness. Prey does not generally make for good company. The most you can do with a bird or rabbit is to feed it. The do not have as high of a capacity for communicating.”

“Oh… I didn’t realize. But you said that you did make some friends with the creatures in the woods?”

“Yes. We N’Tariel are hunters. We need intelligence to catch our prey. The L’ynkos also hunters, thus, they also have intelligence.”

“L’ynkos? Wolf? Warg? You befriended a L’ynkos?”

“Not all of them, however, L’ynkos tended to be one of the better creatures for company.”

“Name! Tell me a name of your L’ynkos friends!”

“I cannot tell you a name; they do not address each other as we do. They instead know who is who by smell.”

“Well, how did you talk?”

“It took a lot of effort to create a way to communicate with another species. Similar to how you might try to talk to someone who speaks another language.”

“As we have in our travels! Now I understand why it’s so easy for you to get directions and information from foreigners. I’m guessing you figured it all out in the woods, of all places.”

“Pointing, either with the eyes or hands, as well as expressing emotion, are all fairly universal. You will find that with a L’ynkos, speech is extremely limited.”

“You must show me some time, how you talk with the L’ynkos.”

“Well… It is difficult if you are not a resident of the woods. They may even be less welcoming to me, I do not know their memory. And, also with more than one N’Tariel, threat of power comes into the meeting. A L’ynkos might run away.”

“Oh. Were there other intelligent predators you spoke, or rather, communicated with?”

“One of Däwngale’s, that is, Mother Nature’s spirits.”

“You spoke with a spirit?”

“Yes. A pond spirit. Only one was ever willing to speak to me. I assume it was because she was young. The rest returned to the water whenever I came around”

“Oh! You must have learned some amazing things from a spirit!”

“You must understand that even here there is a flaw.”

“But can’t a spirit talk, unlike a wolf?”

“Yes, a spirit can talk, but a spirit is,” Jin searched for the correct word, “lazy? No, perhaps, inexperienced? My L’ynkos friend and I could at least speak of hunting. Topics like, which prey tasted the best, or which made the stomach fullest. The pond spirit, the one I spoke to, had very limited experiences to speak on.”

“I thought that water spirits lived very long lives.”

“It is true, even this young one I encountered had lived many times my age, but still, she had not seen much. A pond is small and there is not a lot that happens near it. Water spirits also don’t have any habits or needs. She had nothing to draw from in conversation.”

“So your spirit friend could speak clearly, but not on many topics, and your L’ynkos friend could speak on interesting topics, but could not speak properly!”

“Yes, in so few words.”

“My! Was there no one you could talk to?”

“Well, once I exited the forest, and met you and the rest of the N’Tariel people…”

“So people are truly the best company?”

“Yes”

“Very well! I guess I can be satisfied just talking to neighbors, and those we meet outside the village.”

“Although…”

“Although?!”

“Well, a L’ynkos is far less likely to be deceitful. Even a spirit will tell you if they are withholding information.”

Salt laughed, “so there’s no good company for you?”

“Well, I would say that you are good company.”

“How kind!”

Daniel Triumph.

I’m struggling quite a bit with the whole dialogue thing in writing. I really like dialogue, but apparently good fiction doesn’t have a lot of it. In good fiction, it’s very to-the-point. I don’t know, I’ve always liked this natural feeling back and forth. Maybe it’s one of those things that is funner to write then to read?

I’d like to do an imitation of a Greek/Roman dialogue at some point, as Plato or Cicero have. That is, a big back and forth where characters speak on a topic in depth. Although, I’d need a topic with enough depth to handle it.

You can support me on Patreon, if you wish.

Starman Part 4 (Final)

Starman part 4. A lot can happen between adventures.

(<< First Part<Previous Part)

 

“I know what it is!” Chloe stood up, “I think I know what we need to feed the star in order to give him the energy he needs!’

By now the various villagers that had been listening to Chloe’s story returned to their responsibilities. Only Jan, Yaska, and the Starman remained around the dwindling fire. Now that the story had turned to discussion, the stood, forming a small circle around the dwindling fire.

“What did the hero give the star in my father’s legend?” Chloe asked.

Yaska half-frowned at Chloe, “you said it was just food and drink. We gave him food and drink on the mountain.”

“I know, but, like you said, it wasn’t star food.”

“Well then what is star food?”

Chloe smiled, “well, what is a star? Here’s a better question; the sun is a star, so what is the sun?”

Jan looked into the sky and stared at the sun. His Plainkind eyes adjusted and focused. After a few seconds, he looked away and rubbed his eyes.

“Well, it’s bright!” Jan laughed.

Chloe frowned.

Yaska said, “It is bright, and it gives off heat during the day.”

“Right, so…?” Chloe questioned.

“So, is the sun a fire?”

“Yes!”

“So stars are made of fire.”

“Right!” Chloe clapped her hands together, “Stars are made of fire.”

“So we need to figure out what feeds a fire, and feed it to the Starman.” Yaska concluded.

“Exactly.”

The Starman nodded.

Jan said, “So we have to feed him shrubs and brambles?” He looked at the pile of desert plants he had gathered for the night fire with confusion.

“If I needed to eat shrubs, I would have told you. I learned the word for that.” The Starman said.

Chloe laughed, “don’t worry, I’ll tell you! Stars don’t burn wood or shrubs, you can’t grow those things in the sky anyway. Instead they burn hydrogen.”

Yaska listened with interest, but Jan said, “They burn what?”

“Hydrogen. It’s invisible and flammable,” Chloe said, “and a star doesn’t really burn it. Instead, it causes a nuclear reaction that combines four hydrogen atoms into beryllium*. At least, that’s what the Sol-Metch researchers say. But really, they know more about fission than fusion.”

Jan said, “you completely lost me.”

Yaska said, “you mostly lost me. But more importantly, do you know where we can get hydrogen?”

Chloe smiled, “oh, it’s in water.”

Chloe picked her waterskin up from the ground, “you can separate the hydrogen from the rest of the compound by, ah,” Chloe frowned, “running an electric current through it.”

Jan and the Starman stared, but Yaska’s face showed deadened recognition, “an electric current? Is that not related to the a soul in Solune culture?”

“Ah, all of our nerves run on electric signals, so creating one outside of a body is…” Chloe trailed off and twiddled her thumbs, “ah, even if it wasn’t such a touch area, how would we even…”

Chloe gave up on her sentence. She had the the water, but she wasn’t sure how she could separate it, or even how.

The Starman looked from Yaska to Chloe, and then to Jan. He could see that Jan was unsure of what was going on, but was aware that this was some sort of road block.

The Starman said, “but, if we are to believe your story then does that not mean that, like the hero, I can just drink the water?”

Chloe’s eyes widened, she brightly said, “of course! Perhaps you can do it within you! Let’s at least give it a shot.”

She handed the skin to the Starman, who drank a bit. He said, “this is what I needed.”

To Chloe’s relief, the Starman finished only half the water. He said, “thank you, you were right, this is star food. I think I should return outside the village.”

The Starman started walking towards the place where he landed. The group followed. AS they walked, the sky began to get dark.

Chloe said, “it was quite interesting to meet a star, I would have liked to learn more about you.”

Yaska said, “well, perhaps he can stay.”

The Starman shook his head, “You are all quite friendly, but I prefer my own home.”

The Starman closed his eyes and began generating energy. His legs slowly morphed away. His body dropped and began to hover above the ground. Then the rest of his features began to lose their form and he, once again, became a ball of light. The star rose up just as other stars began to appear in the darkening sky.

Yaska tried to see which star he would become, but through the dusk and the shimmering atmosphere, it was hard to tell. Jan departed shortly after to make sure the village had a fire, and Chloe and Yaska were left alone, watching.

“Did you see which star he was?” Yaska said.

Chloe said, “it’s hard to tell. To be honest, I don’t really know the locations of stars. They’re hard to see in the Solune Kingdom too, so we don’t really engage in mapping them.”

“Oh. He was a little strange. Silent. Perhaps he did not particularly enjoy our company.”

“He must have had some reason for wanting to get home. For all we know, that could be the reason. Maybe stars just think differently than us.”

Chloe shrugged and sat on the sand. Yaska sat next to her.

“I wonder,” Yaska said, “If that star in your story wanted to stay.”

“Well, my father says he did. I guess, like us, stars have differences too.”

Yaska considered her words. She thought about Chloe’s father. She had met him, the Solune King, before. He was said to be immortal.

Yaska said, “was your father the hero from the story?”

Chloe turned her head and smiled, “I think so. He told me that the star might return at some point.”

“It is just afraid of taking the form of someone influential again? Or getting attacked?”

“Yeah.”Chloe continued, “Hey, let’s go visit the fire. Maybe Jan will have a new story for us.”

“Or maybe you could give us another.” Yaska smiled.

They both smiled, and returned to the village.

That’s all I got.
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Daniel Triumph.

Footnote:
*The Sol-Metch researchers are incorrect about this. In basic terms, s star will fuse two hydrogen atoms into a helium, and then later will fuse two helium atoms into beryllium. The Sol-Metch and Solune scientific communities have not yet discovered helium, and so at the moment they assume that hydrogen either fuses by threes into lithium, or by fours into beryllium.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)