I was originally going to post a 1000 word short I wrote after reading this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds. By the by, I love his lists and have all of his writing-related books, but somehow I’ve never managed to snag his actual novels. Does that make me a bad person?
Anyway, I was going to post my piece inspired by his random 3s, but alas, I got distracted preparing from tomorrow’s new game and I ended up writing a little big of background for my character. I know, I know. I said I was going to start playing more fellas, but my original version of this character was a dude and I think it’ll work better as a female. Plus, I just wanted to do it. So there.
Without further ado, the origin story for Kava of Clan Thunderthroat.
“Then we are agreed?”
Sixteen voices answered in practiced unison. “We are.”
“Nay,” said the seventeeth. “We are not.”
Shifting voluminous robes of glittering gold cloth edged in ermine, the Sagamore cast a disapproving look at the naysayer. “We are agreed, Penosius. Your objection has been noted and overruled. Clan Thunderthroat is hereby anathematized.”
“Fools!” roared the seventeeth. “You cannot do this. Such a decision will not stand.”
“Silence, Penosius. It is done.” The Sagamore lifted a taloned finger in warning. “Clan Thunderthroat is denounced. They shall have no votes upon the council, receive no assistance from the allied clans and are prohibited from participation in The Games. Nevermore shall the dead of Clan Thunderthroat be permitted to be interred beneath Mount Valir. So decree the Council of Clan Elders, so decrees the Sagamore.”
A snap of his bejeweled fingers set his anxious assistant into action. The skinny little man scurried to the seventeeth and yanked the pendant from around his neck.
“It is done. The council is dismissed.”
With this pronouncement, the Sagamore levered himself to his feet and lumbered out of the chamber, followed by sixteen sheep in dragonborn clothing and a scattering of toadies.
“Forgive me! Forgive me!” cried the accused. Skeletal and bleeding from a thousand half-healed gashes, the prisoner flung himself against the limits of his restraints, sobbing. “Forgive me! Please, for the love of Bahamut, forgive me!”
“Abraxas,” Penosious said, advancing upon the cowering man. “Abraxas, my brother, shut your mouth or I shall do it for you. Permanently. Would that I had slain you in the womb as a stronger twin ought, rather than let you grow and live to betray us all.”
Groaning, Abraxas dropped to knees, gripping his brother’s pant leg. “Say anything but that, Pen. Anything but that. I am so sorry. Please, can you not find any glimmer of forgiveness in your heart for me? Your only brother?”
He began to weep freely, burying his face in clawed hands. Penosious felt his loyalty to his twin squeezing his heart, but he stood fast and did not move to comfort him. The crimes he had committed against his people and his clan were unforgivable. For his lust and greed and cowardice, the entirety of Clan Thunderthroat would pay the price.
“When am I to be executed?”
Penosious answered by sliding his blade from its sheath. The distinctive sound caused Abraxas’ eyes to widen and he shook his head.
“No! Not you, my brother, please!”
“It has been decided,” Penosious said, running a fingertip along the edge of his khopesh. It gleamed with a cold, merciless light; he honed it nightly with the exquisitely deft touch of a lover. “But had the Sagamore not ordered it, I would have volunteered. Perhaps with this one small act I can begin to redeem our Clan. Now bare your throat and meet your death with some modicum of dignity.”
Abraxas hesitated, casting his eyes about the chamber. Pairs of guards waited at either exit, silent and unemotional. He could see movement in the shadows, but could not discern who else bore witness to his final moments. Mistakes, he had made many, but his brother’s words rung in his ears. Straightening his shoulders, Abraxas rose up on his knees and lifted his chin.
Their eyes met and an understanding passed between them. Penosious lay his palm upon his brother’s shoulder. “Until we meet again in the next life, my brother, seek redemption.”
“Make it quick.”
The words had but left his lips when the razored edge of the heavy blade parted his head from his neck. Consciousness lingered as life poured from his body in torrents of red and the last thing Abraxas saw before his spirit departed was a small figure emerging from the shadows. Had he been able, he would have cried out to her.
Penosious moved to her side, wiping Abraxas’ blood from his blade with a square of honey-colored silk. He offered it to her, going to one knee beside her.
“Do you understand what has happened here today?”
The girl clutched the damp cloth to her chest and nodded once.
“You killed the traitor,” she said. “Killed him dead.”
Penosious touched her shoulder, the same gesture he had made to his brother at the end. “So it was ordered, so it was done. Abraxas was my brother, and I loved him, but his foolishness has cost Clan Thunderthroat immeasurably. No more will his name be spoken, not even in secret, not even between you and I.”
“Good girl. You shall come home with me and be as my own daughter. That is my duty as his brother. It is your duty, as his offspring, to remove the taint from our Clan name. But come, let us not tarry here. Say goodbye to your Father and we will be off.”
Kava tucked the silk into her belt and met her uncle’s gaze fiercely. “I have no father.”
And I’m in before midnight!
So that’s this week Flash Fiction. It counts as flash fiction, doesn’t it? Its a character sketch-slash-origin-story-slash-flash-fiction piece. So I have decreed, so it is hereby deemed. Muahaha. Sorry for the über-dramatic speech patterns. These are Dragonborn elders, after all.
What did you think?
Love & Rainbows,
Trying out a new feature here at PP.net. It probably won’t be weekly, but I’m hoping it’ll give me an excuse to step away from the WIP each week and flex my creative muscle.
That’s right b*tches, PP is doing FLASHfictionFRIDAY. I’m hanging out with the cool kids. At last! Wheee!
Tonight I just went to Mangle.CA and got a bunch of random images from LiveJournal. The first one I saw struck me as something I could run with. I think this link should take you to a lovely nighttime photo of many boats in a harbor which are apparently Croatian (or so Google Translate of the blog tells me). Its such a beautiful shot (and in that associated blog post there are MANY other images of picturesque towns and lagoons in (so they say) Croatia, I just can’t help but close my eyes, crank up the music and see what comes out in the next 20 minutes.
Aaaaand away we go!
Nikos pulled a knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. Below, in the harbor, he could see the whole island had turned out for the party. Dinghies, skiffs, fishing scows, pleasure barges and rafts. Even Gazeborea’s yacht was there. Those uppity bastards, just showing off in that big old thing. Fuck…, he thought, furrowing his brow.
They bobbed gently on the tide, all lined up with luminous white paper lanterns swaying from twine draped between the vessels. He had read a story once where glowing, floating etherial balls called will o’ wisps had danced and frolicked and sucked the life right out of some adventurers, nearly killing him.
Nikos wished fervently that those damned tacky lanterns were really soul-slurping gloves of unlight that would slowly, torturously murder every single one of those two-faced jerks down on the water. Not all of them, he supposed, for his mother was there, and his cousin, Jemmy. But pretty much everyone else. How dare they sit around down there? Drinking and eating and dancing and fucking? How dare they?
“They haven’t forgotten, Nik,” a familiar voice from behind him said. He stared out across the water, shifting only slightly on his perch to make room. Stubbornly, even as she slipped her arm around his waist and lay her head upon his shoulder, Nikos refused to acknowledge her. “They’re saying good-bye the only way we know how. What would you prefer? Keening wails and cutting widows’ weals?”
“A few tears and a genuine sense of sorrow, at least. For Heaven’s Sake, I know he was not exactly well-loved around here, but do they have to be so- so bloody happy about it?”
She cleared her throat and failed to answer. Nikos did not blame her for falling silent. There was no answer that would have made him happy anyway. If she admitted that people were somewhat pleased that Gabor was dead, he would have grumbled and pushed her away. And if she stroked his wounded pride and coddled him by agreeing with him, he would have been called her insincere and offered to take off his boots so she could lick them without hurting her back.
Ruminating on her wisdom in the face of his juvenile reaction, Nikos smiled inwardly. She got him. Always had. She understood his moods: manic, maniac, somber, or black. She laughed at his jokes and celebrated his victories, no matter how small or large. She never made him feel self-conscious about his back hair and when she looked at him with those big, brown doe eyes… he knew that she truly did love him.
Nikos felt unworthy.
Without a word, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her close. The warmth of her affection was tangible in the cool, moonlit air. Maybe he would never be important, or wealthy or famous. Maybe his name would not be recorded in the annals of history as a hero and a traitor like his brother, Gabor. Maybe he would only ever be Nikos Burdavara, fish shack cook.
But he could strive to be better.
He could work to be worthy of her love.
He would do.
“I’m sorry,” Nikos murmured, kissing the top of her head as they sat side-by-side on the edge of the cliff. “Want to grab a bite and head home?”
Shafeela nodded and he helped her to her feet.
“There’s nothing you could have done,” she said as the gravel crunched beneath their shoes. The moon was nearly full and shone bright from its nest in the cloudy night sky. “You’re not your brother.”
They walked in silence for a few peaceful strides. At length, she broke in again. “I love you, Nik, that’s all. I hate seeing how you beat yourself up like this. Just- Just know that Gabe’s mistakes were just that, mistakes. He never meant to cause… you know…”
Shafeela squeezed his hand, wrapping both of hers around one of his. “Stop brooding, my love. It will all work out. C’mon, I’m starving. Let’s race!”
Well that sucked.
As usual, I took myself off on some crazy tangent and then sort of sputtered out. O’well. It took me like, an hour of concentrated effort to get this eked out tonight. C’est la vie. Its 700 words more than I had written this week before tonight.
What do you think?
Should I keep torturing myself this way each Friday?
Should I start a-new or try to find out where Nikos & Shafeela are headed? What Gabor’s traitorous deed was? Why they’re having a funeral-slash-boat party?
Love & Rainbows,