Whenever I watch a movie, I imagine scenes from the novel I'm writing. How will my characters look like when they finally jump out of my head? Will their clothes appear like how I intended these to look like? Dear God, I hope the entire thing doesn't look like a B movie.
In any case, there won't be a movie at all if I don't finish the rest of the books in my series.
We think that the world we live in is reality. Maybe this is only part of what is real. What if there is a world out there that is so different from ours yet intertwined with each of our fates? Here's a preview of my first book.
The faerie’s golden hair cut through the dark mist of early dawn. She was oblivious to the hungry jackals trailing her.
“I know she’s here. She will not escape this time.” Her red velvet cape rustled softly with the chilly wind. Why will a young faerie be out at this time? She moved stealthily in between the thorny shrubs, their thorns clawing at the rich fabric of her cape. Then she saw her target, a hooded figure standing by an oak tree.
“Is she waiting for me?” thought the fairie. She took out a silver dagger from its sheath tied to her waist. “Somebody should stop her. She already got me into a lot of trouble. Father will get mad if I embarrass him.”
Before the moon hid behind its minion clouds, the fairie saw her target. It surprised her that she did not have any trouble getting close. Even the jackals crept nearby.
The figure remained still, unmindful to the danger behind her. Only her black cape moved. “You have to be stopped.” The fairie looked around. “Nobody has to know.” The dagger felt cool and unfeeling in the fairie’s hands, strangely mimicking her emotions. As she thrust it into the target’s back, the paradox of time came into effect. Everything happened so fast yet she was watched the scene unfold slowly as if time eerily dragged its feet. No sound emitted from the target even as her body hit the ground.
“There is no blood,” was the fairie’s first thought. Until she saw the first trickle touch the ground underneath the target’s hood. “Why is her blood so bright?” The moon peeked out of its hiding, shining into the murderer and her victim. “Why is her blood so bright? What does she look like?”
Instead of fleeing the scene, her curiosity got the better of her. She knelt down beside her victim, not pained by even the slightest morsel of remorse. Part of the hood hid the lifeless figure’s face.
“Father doesn’t have to know.” When her hand lifted the fabric covering the dead person’s face, she momentarily got puzzled. “She looks familiar’. Time again played its trick. She felt the moment freeze yet things seemed to happen in whirlwind. The fairie let out a fearful scream. How could this happen? “No, NO! AAAAHHHHHH!”
Lying there with glassy dead eyes, in an expanding pool of blood, was a figure with her face. She could not be mistaken. The pointed nose, the violet eyes on an oval face. She killed someone who was her.
“NO! FATHER, HELP!.....NOOO!”
“Beleau! Child wake up! WAKE UP!”
The fairie woke up in her bed, flushed with the relief of knowing it all was not true. It was seconds after that she realized her hair pasted flat on her skull with sweat. Her father usually spoke in whispers. But now, he spoke as loudly as someone asking for the sugar to be passed. This was the loudest she had heard him. He stopped shaking her then turned to someone in the room.
“What happened? Did anybody get inside?”
She was surprised that another being was in her room. The tall fairie clad in dark vestments shook his head. There was something about him that made it difficult to see him even with the candles already ablaze in the room. His entire persona seemed to retreat into the shadows. She peered at him yet could not clearly distinguish his features.
“Your daughter had her recurring nightmare. But this is the worse I’ve seen her react. There is no danger from outside. I will go back to my post.” With a bow, he jumped out the window in one fluid motion to wherever his post was.
“You have me guarded by night fairies? Since when, Father?” Beleau straightened her hair.
“Since birth, my dear. Even during daytime. You haven’t noticed them? Well, then they’re as good as they say they are. Pricey but effective. Your father is an important man in the palace. And with the palace under siege from evil elements at all times, I have to make sure you are protected.”
“Why? Are we being attacked?” She grew fearful. The remnants of her dream trailing down at her.
“Not now. Who knows? We have to be prepared at all times.” He got up and patted her head. “Change your clothes. I’ll have the maids change your bedding. Your bed is so wet with sweat you might as well have swum there. Join me for hot chocolate.”
Cool night wind streamed from the veranda. They lived in an apartment within the palace. When Beleau stepped into her father’s study, the familiar aroma of hot chocolate wafted to the door. Whenever she felt down, her father’s hot chocolate had comforted her since she was a child. It was the thing she needed tonight.
Her father poured her a cup as soon as she sat down. “What was your nightmare?”
“It..it’s about a girl. She always appeared in my dreams. But I don’t know her.”
“Do you have the same dreams every time?”
“No. But it’s the same girl. She…she is bad.”
“In my dreams, she gets me into trouble even if I don’t want to. People get mad at me. They say I steal things. I create mischief. But it’s her. I can’t stop her because she is always running away from me. I can’t even see her face.”
“Her this and her that. Does she have a name?”
“I don’t know. Do you dream of strangers and know their names?” hers was an innocent question.
Her father seemed slightly annoyed at the deviation from the topic. He shook his head impatiently. “This has happened for years? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Ever since Mother died, you told me to be good and to make you proud,” thought Beleau.
“In my opinion, I think you should know something lest you hear this from other people. Everybody has his over version of what I’m going to tell you. I don’t want you to be confused about this important thing about our history.”
“History? Father, we’re talking about my dreams now. Not my grades in school!” Beleau stomped her foot.
“My child, history affects everything. That’s why I have given my life to studying it and making sure the palace respects its lessons.”
Beleau sighed. She talked to herself, “More talk about work. Father, I’ve heard this a million times. Yes, yes, your department in the palace makes up all these stupid rules that have to be followed. And your people report to you everything that’s going on. Maybe even about me? Oh no, does he know what happened in school today?”
“Have you heard about Tolkurs?” asked her father.
“Tolkurs? Uummm…They lived in ancient Midalin, right? Aren’t they extinct?”
“Beleau, only the giant reptiles are extinct. Not them. What have you been reading, child?” was the exasperated reply. “They ruled Midalin way before humans and other creatures did. We who are born in the present time have not seen the power of a Tolkur. They range from the useless grubelf, you know, the common grubelf that steals food, to the magnificent Vernild that can command elements and whatnot. I myself have never seen a Vernild,” he shrugged his shoulders in disappointment.
“So Father, what does this have to do with my dream?”
“I’ll get to that. You have to understand the back story.”
“How far back is the back story? I need to get up early to wash my hair. It’s still sticky,” Beleau touched her scalp, one of her ears still tuned to her father’s whispery, droning voice. “Or should I wash it before going back to bed? It needs to dry properly,” she thought. Her mind drifted back to her father.
“…don’t know what’s happening with young people these days? Going back to our history, there came a time when Tolkurs decided to let other creatures rule Midalin. I am not sure why this lapse in judgment occurred. But Tolkurs were close to the seat of power. They had great influence over the reigning ruler. Then, as with most alliances, came the disagreement. Somebody’s bound to get greedy. In this case, the Tolkurs became the evil lot.”
“They became bad?”
“That I’m not sure of. If they were bad all along or if they suddenly transformed into something sinister. Moving along, they were not content with mere Midalin. They coveted a land far, far away.”
“Something’s farther than Midalin? Won’t we fall off if we reach the Midalin’s edge?”
Her father looked at her intently. “I think I should hire you a tutor.” Shaking his head, he continued, “Going back to my story, yes, there’s something farther than Midalin. No, we won’t fall off the edge. No, I have never been there. But Tolkurs wanted so badly to visit this place, sniff around, get to know the people there and rule over it. That’s how simple the predicament was. That was how the Ancient War started.”
“Where’s my dream in this?”
“The girl in your dream, what does she look like? You never saw her?”
“Uumm… only tonight.”
“So, what did you see?”
“Father, it is so frightening. I saw myself!” Beleau exclaimed in a whisper, such a difficult act to do.
Her father sat straight and nodded his head. As when he is in deep thought, he unconsciously unfurled his wings. “The inhabitants of this place that the Tolkurs wanted for their own are like this girl in your dream. As you have her, I also have mine. So does everyone else in Midalin, from faeries, humans, dwarves, gnomes, witches to elves. They are called our salmings.”
Beleau’s eyes widened. “So she is real? Oh no.”
“Why the terror?”
“F-Father, this girl in my dream is bad. Even when I’m awake, I feel she causes me to get into lots of trouble.”
“Not one, but lots of trouble? Like what? I never hear anything from you? Or your guards.”
“See! You have me watched. Father, we talked about this!”
“Only for your own protection. Your father is an important man. But going back to your troubles, what are these? Do I have reason to worry?”
“Oh, not really serious stuff. Just a lot of teasing from my classmates. They’re bullies. There’s this one group who make me miserable. They make fun of my nose, my hair. They call me a teacher’s pet. What’s wrong with bring sweet cakes for our professors? I usually shrug them off even when they mimic my voice. But I found a way to get back at them. I hid one of the professor’s examination answer sheets in their leader’s bag. Ha! They got into trouble because of that. Serves them right,” Beleau replied smugly, losing control over her mouth.
“Beleau! How could you do such a thing! That is stooping so low. I didn’t raise you up to be like that!” her father’s voice rose up to a level she had never heard before, much louder than how he was earlier.
“But..but.. they have been so mean to me. Really mean, Father. There have been times I did not want to go to school anymore. Except that I remember I have promises to keep.”
“Like when I promised Madame Brightchild that I would bring her our family’s special apple pie.”
“Oh, those kinds of promises. Did I teach you that?”
“No, is it wrong?”
“Well, we faeries really are excellent cooks. So I can truly understand why our family’s apple pie should be craved for even by your teachers. So why not use it to our advantage?” beamed her father, distracted by this discovery about his daughter.
“I got into a fight the previous day with a classmate. She drew on my wings. So I snipped off part of her hair.” She heard her father gasp. “Just the edges, Father. I didn’t want to go to class after that. But I remembered I told Madame that she’ll have a taste of our apple pie. So I went to school.”
“Whatever motivates you to step into school, child. But going back to that dreadful thing you did with the examination answer sheets. Do you know that you dug yourself a deeper hole, Beleau?”
Her father paused. “Remember the girl in your dream. She is your salming. I also have my salming. They along with the salmings of every creature here in Midalin live in the place that Tolkurs wanted to take possession of. They call this place earth. I’m sure that your salming is the bad one. Not you. Because you’re my daughter. No child of mine can be evil.”
“Why are you so sure she’s bad?”
“This is how it works. Or what they say. They depending on who you are talking to. Whatever we do affects our salming.”
"Whatever one does affect the other? Like cheating?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Like if I cheated in class, she gets bad grades?" Beleau regretted her words once she blurted them out.
"Dear child, did you also do that? You really have dug yourself into a very deep hole. When one of you does something bad, something bad also befalls the other one. Now, you say you have a terrible time in school. That's most likely because of your salming's less than exemplary behavior. If you do something bad yourself like all the naughty things I am hearing now, the bad things that will happen to your salming will make her crazier. So you should expect more backlashes from her evil ways. And the cycle goes on. I wish your mother were alive. This business of helping you grow up is something that confuses me at times.”
“So she can guide me?”
“Well..yes. And your mother also makes the best, the moistest chocolate cake. I’ve never tasted anything like it. But she never divulged the recipe so our cooks cannot replicate it. She used morning dew or something, I think. Your teachers would have loved it. It will easier to get you out of trouble.”
"Oh. That is all that my foolish daughter can say. Take some more hot chocolate."
"Father, are you kidding me?"
"Why should I?"
"You know, parents make up monster stories to scare their children.”
“Did I ever tell you one?”
“Uhm, no. Maybe this is the first time?”
“How can I not have noticed all these years how impertinent you can be?” her father showed a hint of a smile.
“All my nannies knew about it. I bet even my secret bodyguards,” thought Beleau.
“So, the lesson is, do good always. It will benefit you in the long run.”
“How sure are you that salmings exist? Have you gone to that place already?”
“No, but legends exist.”
“Are there court documents about this?” Beleau was not particularly bright, but when her curiosity was aroused, she could be quite difficult to shake off like lint on a wool cape.
“I am not in the position to neither confirm nor deny,” was her father’s terse answer.
“Always the stickler for rules his office mostly made up,” thought Beleau.
“Why did Tolkurs want to get to this place?”
“They wanted a bigger playground? Who knows? I haven’t exactly asked them personally, you know.”
“Have you ever been to that place?”
“No one in the palace has been there?”
“I don’t know.”
“Not even the king?”
“It’s not as if you can take a swiftfoot and ride to that place.” A swiftfoot was a winged horse that inhabitants of Midalin, specifically the wealthier ones, use for transportation. Other types of animals were also used, if wings could be grown on them.
“So how can the Tolkurs get there? A magic pill? Can I go see my salming to tell her off?”
“If anybody knew that, somebody would be really rich. Some say that there are ancient passages from Midalin to that world. If there is truth to those stories, nobody has ever come forward to claim they were able to cross to that place.”
“If nobody knows, maybe it’s all made up?” sighed Beleau.
“What’s important is to remember to do good. We determine our own fate. That -.” A loud crashing sound stopped her father in mid-sentence. Both of them stood up in anxiety. No night faeries appeared so there must be no intruder. But a voice croaked from the balcony.
“Ephraim, why don’t you put decent lights in your balcony? It’s difficult to land in here,” someone complained.
Her father rushed outside. She could see him helping up someone small. As he led that someone inside the study, a tiny witch with a pixie’s cherubic face smiled widely at her. She was missing several teeth.
“Oooh, I meet your daughter at last. Hello there, dear. I’m Sylvivia. You are normally asleep when I come over. The palace guards already know me.”
Beleau shook the old witch’s gnarly hand. “I’m pleased to meet you.”
Even before taking her seat, the witch explained, “I’m your father’s professional informant. Never been good with spells and potions. But I found out that I’m good with digging out secrets and stuff like that. If you find any information that’s remotely interesting, let me know. Just tell your ferrier to look for Sylvivia, the witch.” A ferrier was any winged animal that was used to transmit letters.
“Sylvivia, do you have to recruit even my daughter as an informant?” Ephraim laughingly scolded. “Here, take a seat and have hot chocolate. Beleau, you may sleep now. You still have school tomorrow.”
“Oh, do stay child. It will do you good to know these things. At least you will learn what types of things interest me,” winked Sylvivia.
“Alright. What do you have for me that made you rush and crash here at this time?”
The witch propped herself comfortably, her feet not touching the plush carpet. After sipping some hot chocolate, she began, “On my way to see a client late this afternoon, a creature flagged me while I was whizzing by on my broom. It was caped, very tall and sounded like an old man, though I could barely see his face. He asked for directions going to Ildemas. Yes, I was that far away from Livingbrook. I like to take long rides even at my age. I pointed him to the direction of the forests of Ildemas. It did not bother me that time. Then this afternoon, I heard a report that made me think really, really deeply.”
“What is it?”
“Do you know that there’s a Tolkur that was being held a prisoner somewhere in the palace?”
Ephraim glanced undecidedly at his daughter, then nodded slowly.
“It’s gone. It escaped today.”
“If I were you, I should ask the head of palace security why you were not informed of this delicate matter,” the witch suggested sagely.
Beleau could see her father’s face line up with worry. He got up and paced the room. The witch continued to sip her hot drink.
“How sure are you that the creature you saw was the Tolkur? And how can you be so sure that the prisoner escaped?”
“You know me, Ephraim, I have the best sources in Midalin. I’m a professional,” she shrugged. “As for the creature I saw, there was something about it that felt unsettling when I was in its presence. I felt like I was talking to something ancient, something I have never seen before. Trust me, at my age, I have come across a wide variety of creatures, from the most insignificant, dumbest, and silliest to the big rollers in Midalin. But this one was different.”
A knock came at the study’s door. A servant called out from outside, “Master Ephraim, the head of security is at the foyer. He requests to see you.”
See?” The witch plastered a grin of triumph.
“Let him in.” Ephraim turned to his daughter and to the witch. “Sylvivia, you may go now. Beleau, back to your room. Enough new things for you tonight.”
As the door started to open, the witch jumped out of the chair and pulled Beleau to the balcony. “Let’s hang around.”
Before Ephraim could scold the two and shoo them out of the room, the door opened. An important-looking man entered.
“I apologize Ephraim if I have come at a late hour. But there is news that you have to know. But before I proceed, may I request that we be alone?”
“Darn, how could he know we are here? I already sprayed an invisibility spell,” whispered the witch to Beleau, as they crouched near the curtains by the balcony.
“You said you were bad at spells,” whispered back Beleau.
“To make it worse, your father talks in whispers. What kind of man talks like that? The flies on the wall could barely hear him.”
“It might be better if we talk outside the study,” offered Ephraim. He led the head of security out of the room and they talked by the main door of the apartment.
The door was left ajar so the witch and Beleau sneaked peeks at the two men. “This man is really cunning. I’m trying to read his lips but I suspect he has a spell that prevents anyone from decoding what he is telling your father. I should get that spell…hhhmmm.”
“Wait…Tolkur..what else is he saying? Darn, my eyesight is also failing me from doing this properly. Escape….king…..danger…secret….now he’s leaving. What good will those senseless words do to me?”
“Why don’t ask Father?” suggested Beleau.
“Dear, I am your father’s informant. It’s a one-way street. I don’t get anything from him.” Then the witch looked at Beleau. “But you can ask him. I will consider it a big favor on my part.”
“Re-really? I’ll try.” Beleau felt honored to be trusted by the old witch for an important task. “Uhm, do you want to stay longer for a slice of apple pie? It’s a secret family recipe. You’ll love it,” she smiled with pride.
But before Sylvivia could answer Beleau, Ephraim opened the door to the study. He looked visibly shaken.
“Sylvivia, get your connections get as much information about the Tolkur. Any news. On any Tolkur.”
“Is something nasty about to happen?” was the witch’s curious reply.
“If I am reading this right, Midalin is about to be overrun by enemies, some of which have long been buried in our memories. We need to brace ourselves for another war. After centuries of peace, we are ill-prepared for this.”
“I am not so sure if that is good or bad for business,” the witch woefully said to herself.
He turned to his daughter. “Go to sleep now, child. There may come a time when there won’t be rest for any of us. Sylvivia, I need your help more than ever. The palace needs all the help it can get against the coming evil.”
So we leave these three characters to mull over this piece of troubling news. Eventful as their lives seem to be, they are not even the main characters of the story. Till my next post on Midalin’s saga.
- Cereza Rock
- The best thing about writing is molding life to characters you find interesting. The worst about it is having these characters crowd your head, unable to get out because you haven't written down the pages for them. Continue writing? Hell, yes. This blog is a way of letting these characters out for a gulp of air. I love creating them. They remind me that there's a nutjob in all of us. Some are in for a brief appearance via short stories. Others are in for the long haul, peppering a novel I have written. Enjoy these stories. After all, life is more fantastic than we imagine it to be.