draken_write (draken_write) wrote,

Dove's Blood

Not happy with how I started. I worked hard on the back end and now I'm wondering. I'm going to take a random prop, some music and just write a scene. Screw strict outlines. I have my core concept and ending point in mind, I just need to find a starting point and get there.


Looking over the Kindle book I grabbed titled "150 Prompts for Fantasy Writers" by Elizabeth Huff an old memory was triggered of an story-line I had in mind for this. Finding a book of names. A magical item that recorded the history of a given bloodline over centuries. The trials she had to go through to retrieve a selection of mystical items.... This would fit well into the "epic" feel of the end point I have in mind. So I have part of the middle.

So on to the book of names.

It was mid-afternoon and the bright rays of the summer sun filtered through the curtains in the house. It painted the walls and carpet with a cheerful yellow-white tint that Mariska did not feel. Motes of dust sparkled and flickered as they past through the beams of light. She silently watched them, her mood contemplative and a bit sour. She rested her chin in her left hand. Her left elbow propped up on the arm of the chair in which she sat. The only sounds in the house were that of her breathing, the tick of the clock in her kitchen, and the soft sounds of traffic on the road in front of her home. An eery quietude reigned over her mind. No emotions, no burdens and no worries bothered her conscious thoughts, but her subconscious roiled in the darkness within the back of her mind.

She closed her eyes and focused on the tick of the clock. Mariska listened to the ticking's soft, unique sound without counting them. Normally in such a state of mind, she might count them to distract herself from the emotional response. Not this time. This time she just listened to the slightly crunchy texture the gears made when they shifted to mark the seconds. Eventually and with a slow, measured, repeated cycle of breath, the disquiet in her subconscious also calmed. Her heart beat slowed a little bit more, as if to match the ticking. She sighed and shifted her weight in the chair.

Today was not a good day for strange things. There were initiates to train, animal bond-mates to find, reports to give to the Elders, and... The disquiet crept back into her mind. She opened her eyes again and re-focused just on the light streaming in through the curtains. She watched how it changed the color of everything it touched.

Calm. She must remain calm. The only way to discover what happened earlier that morning was to remain calm. It was a mantra that ran through her mind several times before she readjusted her position in her chair again. A frown creased her forehead. Fidgeting was an outward sign of her discomfort and she knew it. A heavy sigh escaped her tightly pressed lips with a purring-pop. The lack of self-control was even more aggravating.

It wasn't the first time strange things happened. The reminder helped sooth her nerves. Also, it wasn't the first time strange things happened to her. It was part of the job description, part of her role as (spirit-speaker), and something that followed her like a dark cloud all of her life. She moved her left hand away from her chin and looked at her palm. There on the heel was the odd mark that baffled even the most wise Elder. It was silvery like a stretch mark instead of dark like a normal birthmark and it glowed during the full moon. Marked. Of course strange things happened to her, and quiet often. She was marked by the moon Herself.

'Huh.' She huffed to herself, then leaned her chin back into her hand. Lines formed around her eyes and mouth. Worry wormed into her heart. Sure, strange things happened to her, but... It was very rare that strange things happened to her and she had little to no memory of them occurring.

She looked down at the paper in her right hand. It was a simple thing of unlined parchment. On it was written a note with a list of items. The words were in her own, long-lettered, graceful, script-like handwriting she normally used when writing a letter. There was nothing rushed about it either, which unsettled her even more. Mariska shook her head.  It was obvious she was the author, however doubt clouded her judgement. There was a memory, but yet not a memory - maybe. It didn't seem real.  There was a soft, opaque, fuzzy quality to it, as if she wrote the note during some kind of trance. Even so, the memory was far less trance-like and much more dream-like. It was fragmented, and even as she mused over it the pieces faded away - forgotten. That was more unnerving and made this memory even more dream-like. People forgot their dreams a lot fast and more readily then other memories. But, if it were a dream then why did the note exist?

The skin on the back of her neck prickled and tingled. Then, a chill ran down her spine. Her whole morning was missing, she had woken up on her couch with an open book laid across her belly. She discovered the list laid out on the table, but there was no memory of how it got there. In fact, she didn't know why or when it was written, nor when or if she fell into a trance - if it were a trance. She did not find her supplies in disarray either, as might be expected when trying to find writing tools while in a trance-like state.

More disturbing, there were no memories of waking up this morning either. She remembered going to sleep, and that was it.</div>
Bothered by these thoughts, her gaze lifted back to the dancing dust motes. Avoidance was never an answer to seemingly unanswerable questions, but it helped her to keep calm while her subconscious puzzled things out on it's own. At least it normally helped, however her instincts pushed at her. She was wasting her time. Something foul loomed over the land and she needed to be quick to stop it. But, why her?

The paper in her right hand carried a psychological weight, as if it grew heavier and heavier while her thoughts grew darker. It felt so heavy. She lowered her hand into her lap. Again her attention was drawn back to the note and list. She stared at it for a while longer without reading it. With another soft sigh, she sat up straighter, leaned forward, and forced herself to examine it more closely.

'There is a great evil building in the world. Choirs have gone silent and reality quivers at the loss.'

Rumors among the other Clans suggested some kind of disturbance within their Choirs, but she had dismissed them. The Choirs were sensitive to Dissonance, and were often offended at something or another. Sometimes under-educated human "New-Age" witches and such disrupted the energies. It happened. Now... maybe these disturbances meant something more if this line were true. The hairs on the back of her neck and arms rose.

If the Choirs were going silent, that would be disastrous for all of reality. It was their Songs that shaped physical reality and kept the souls of all living things empowered with life. If the Songs stopped, that would cause a disruption of the Harmonies. If that happened, the One Song would... destabilize. She shivered and read the next line with a bit more trepidation.

'To find the Key and close the Gates so that-which-should-not-be is trapped within the Sepirot, I must find these items:

  • book of names

  • black-bladed sword

  • ring of hematite

  • disk of obsidian

  • black cloak of an ancient assassin

  • the crown of thorns

'Beware the territories you cross. Some are lost, some are lost but found, and others are in plain sight.'

It sounded like her, especially when she had initiates to train. A wry smile tweaked the corners of her mouth. Now she knew what her students felt when she gave them cryptic answers to their questions. She did that with them so they would think for themselves. If she gave them all the answers, they'd only learn by rote and that was not always the best way to teach. But why would she do that to herself?

She skimmed the list two more times, trying to decipher the items. Only one of these items was familiar, but she knew better then assume that the "crown of thorns" was the same crown from Christian teachings. It could be, many reliquaries held imbued items of significant power. Religious artifacts often pulsed with energy. They were permeated by the power of belief from the people. The more others believed in an item of power, the more power it contained. Some ancient items from long lost cultures, that once were hailed by the whole population, pulsed with a life of their own. However, most of these did not have the same kind of power that spiritually-imbued items did.

Were these religious artifacts, were they talismans like the ones her people used, or could they be something else? She wasn't entirely sure, but her instinct told her that what ever they were, they were very powerful if they could lock something dangerous into the Sepirot. After a moment of further consideration, she read the rest of the note. The next line below the list of items left her feeling cold, uncertain, and very confused.

'Do not directly ask the Elders, there are spies among them.'

Why? What spies? Or maybe.. what kind of spies? The more she thought about this the more her gut twisted. If there was something out there with such power and destructive ability, that the only way to stop it was by binding it to the Sepirot - who among the Elders would want to stop it? Unless... No. Even the most asinine, selfish, status-blind moron within her Clan wouldn't put the whole of reality beneath their need to rise in rank.

Plus, to further bury that thought, the Elders already held the highest status. There was no one leader, nor an Eldest of the Elders. They ruled as a Council. So what would be achieved? She thought about it, her gaze moved back to the top of the note. Silent Choirs... That-which-should-not-be... Spies within the ranks of the Elders...

Mariska startled. There was a group that aided whatever this thing was to silence the Choirs. Someone or someones within the ranks of the Elders knew and was spying for either it or this group. That was the only answer. Mariska's heart fluttered and dropped to her stomach. Oh no.

Sickness rose up inside of her. She tasted bile in her mouth. Quickly she looked over the rest of the note, both angered and afraid of what she might discover.

'Do not directly ask the spirits, they will not help me if they know about my search.'

Of course it was something spiritual, if the Choirs were going silent. The pieces finally fit. She was warning herself. How she managed this, she'd find out later. Right now the warning was very clear. Trust no-one, get the items, bind the thing into the Sepirot to stop the madness. Save the world? She raised her left eyebrow. She was supposed to save the world?

Right. The whole situation came across as some weird joke. Fraught with mystery, intrigue, and hidden treasures, this felt like some kind of fictional, fantastic, adventure. It rankled and made her stomach churn in response. Her eyes moved slowly as she re-read the list of items again, the words stark black against the white paper as if they were alive and leered at her. How was she supposed to save the world?

A sneer of disgusted disbelief spread across her face as she lifted her left index finger to brush lightly at her lips. Her thumb was tucked neatly under her chin. She tapped at her lips with her finger as she mused silently, deep in thought. It was one of the few nervous habits she kept after years of recognizing and reigning in the others.

As her mind wandered, she continued to tip-tap her finger against her lips. She glanced down from the paper to her finger. Managing the outward reactions of the body took years of patient study and practice. It was essential to her role. Showing weakness of any kind let others manipulate, use, and control her. If beings of the flesh could do this, she was then a very easy target for the beings of the Sepirot. Her finger paused. The Sepirot. Spirit beings. Being manipulated. Oh god... the trance...
Her eyes widened. That's what happened! That's why her memories were faded and strange. She had been possessed!
She shot up out of her chair and paced around her living room. The note crumpled width-wise as she made a fist. It was the only clear answer, but by who or what she wasn't certain. She cursed in four different languages, in a long string of jumbled words.

Approaching the Elders with the list wasn't allowed, the warning was clear enough on that point. There were an unknown spies within the Clan. If she couldn't speak to the Elders, could she speak to the Clan (scholars)? No. At least, not until she had more information to bring with her so that her questions were more curious than probing.

Perhaps if she meditated on and prayed to the Sepirot for guidance... No. That was equally as dangerous. Even if she didn't ask directly, the language of the spirits realms didn't allow for much subterfuge. They would know why she was asking for guidance. She didn't know what the "that-which-should-not-be" really was, although she believed there was a better chance that it was a being of the Sepirot.

Wrinkles appeared on her forehead as her concern and frustration deepened. There was no easy path, no simple answer, and time was not on her side. A growl issued from her chest. Something in the back of her mind twisted. The she-wolf reached up and out with a wave of protectiveness preceding it. She felt the hairs on her body begin to rise and lengthen.

No. She stopped pacing, her breathing was heavy. Not now, not here. She soothed the she-wolf. Mariska closed her eyes slowly and counted to twenty. Her pulse still raced, but she was more calm now. She needed to think.

What she needed was information. She knew very little about the items other then a short list that barely described them. What other path was there? Where should she begin her search?

As her eyes opened, they focused on the bookshelf next to her bedroom door. With a jolt of inspiration she grinned with feral joy. The Library! Philadelphia boasted one of the oldest libraries in the United states, with the number one oldest library right across the river in New Jersey. One of the items was a book after all, so why not start there?

Mariska jumped up towards her bedroom to grab her messenger bag, her long, dark hair trailing loosely behind her. Her new found energy restored her motivation and she moved quickly through her house to gather certain items she wanted to take with her. A small camera, notebook, pens and pencils, a handful of loose-leaf unlined paper, her tarot cards, pouch of imbued stones, dowsing pendulum of white gold, and pocket magnifying glass went into her small-ish dark brown leather messenger bag. Then with a skip in her step, Mariska locked the door behind her as she headed for the heart of the city.

(+1,066) (edits)
Tags: dove's blood, doves blood, draft, fantasy, horror, rough work, shapeshifter, werewolf
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