Tag Archive: Martel


Lost in a Dream from Which I Can’t Awaken

Kyaira tied her hair up into its usual pigtails and then settled her dress over the crisp white blouse she’d chosen for the day. She had about enough time to glance at the clock before she raced out the door. Martel was a bit of a stickler for time and wouldn’t let her forget it all morning if she was even one minute late.

She only slowed her pace as she entered the main building of the keep. “Morning,” she called to her partner.

“You’re almost late,” Martel said. His voice was taut with emotion but Kyaira chalked that up to his high-strung personality as she poured herself a cup of tea and settled into her usual seat at the communications table.

“But I’m not late,” she pointed out. Not really expecting an affirmative answer, she asked, “So, any change in the gate?”

“Yes,” Martel said. He stepped over to her side as she stared at him, open-mouthed. She took the printouts that he held out and shook her head in shock. “As you can plainly see, the energy level in and around the gate has been fluctuating all night and it’s only gotten worse.”

“When did it start? Everything was fine when we left last night,” Kyaira said. Her tea forgotten, she stood and walked over to the view screen that showed the gate itself – or rather the location of the gate since when dormant the gate was invisible. She was relieved to find that nothing could be seen on the monitor.

“Late last night, during Nico and Cheila’s watch. It got worse all night until now. Needless to say, Tifferin and Aeriella are probably awake.” Martel frowned and shook his head. “We’ll have to risk sending a probe through. You do that. I’ll wake the others and tell them. They might have to move in a hurry if this goes south.”

Kyaira nodded and walked over to the summoning stone. It normally functioned as a long-range communications device but it could also be used to send energy over a distance. Since a probe was nothing more than a bundle of energy, the summoning stone could be used to send one into the gate. However the very act of sending such energy could draw the demons the probe was meant to sense out.

Martel frowned and shook his head. He could sense Kyaira’s hesitance, her reluctance. “It’s our job,” he said shortly before he left the room.

Kyaira nodded and focused a small amount of light energy into the summoning stone. The device glowed briefly and then a soft beeping sound behind her told her that the probe was through the gate.

She looked up at a previously darkened screen to see an image of a black sky streaked with red. The rocky landscape was crawling with demons of every imaginable description. It was like a scene from her worst nightmares. Crocodillians, blood pumpkins, tentacle masses all vied for access to the small opening that led to their world.

Then the scene was blocked by a scaly hand as it closed around the probe. “Have we been noticed?” Nicolau’s voice called from the doorway.

“I think so,” Kyaira said, a tremor in her voice.

“I’ll set up the distress beacon,” Tifferin said softly. “You guys get going. Move quickly as far away from the gate as you can. The beacon will let everyone know that an incursion is inevitable and that we’ll need help. It’s best if we don’t try and confront them though.”

“What about you?” Nicolau asked in a voice that hardly carried, even in the still room.

“Go,” Tifferin repeated. “I’ll catch up.”

**
And May Tomorrow be Wonderful Too

When he woke, he was in a cavern. It was strangely well lit; not at all as dark as the caverns he was used to. His wing felt strangely stiff. He couldn’t get it to move at all but the pain in his abdomen was completely gone.

“Tifferin?” a familiar voice called hesitantly.

He opened his eyes to find Kyaira seated on a window ledge in front of him. “Hey,” he greeted in a tired voice. “Did everyone get away safely?”

“Besides you, yes,” she replied. “The elders are going to hold a convocation, I guess. They need to discuss what the next steps will be. It’s still not certain if this was an isolated incident or if the seal has failed completely now. Nico and Cheila are supposed to go back to the keep with a team of warriors to see if they can figure that out.”

“It seemed very opportunistic,” he said softly. “They didn’t seem to know what they should be doing.”

“The warriors that fought them said they seemed to be just the lower ranking demons,” Martel said from the doorway. He came in and leaned against the wall near Kyaira as he continued, “If that’s the case, then we might still be alright for a while. They just followed the probe to where it originated from and attacked there to feed on the energy.”

“Good to see that you’re finally awake,” a new voice said. “My name is Dien and I’m the healer who is assigned to your case, Master Tifferin. Shall I tell you my assessment of your injuries now or would you prefer to wait until we’re alone?”

He was, as most healers Tifferin had met were, a water dragen. His fin ears were a soft red-brown color that complemented his hair and eyes well. He wore, as most of his people did, only a simple wrap that was bound at the waist.

“You can speak freely in front of my friends,” Tifferin said. He settled back in the nest to listen.

“Your left wing is broken in three places,” Dien said seriously. “At present that’s the most complicated injury. I am, however, hopeful that it will heal completely. That will take time, of course. To keep the bones stable during the healing process, I have immobilized the wing itself, which you most likely noticed. It’s best if you don’t try to move it until it has healed more completely. If the break does not heal correctly, we may have to amputate. But I am hopeful.”

Tifferin nodded and glanced at his wing. The healer had obviously used magic to immobilize it since there was nothing to be seen covering the wing.

Chapter Twelve Excerpt

We’re All Trapped in a Maze of Relationships

Aeriella sighed and looked up at the board. They had been at the world gate keep for six months now. It was to be expected that their partners would shift some time. They couldn’t expect to work with the same person for the entire three years. She had gotten used to Chiela’s quiet ways though. She didn’t know what to expect of Tifferin.

She shifted her wings beneath her cape and looked over her shoulder. Chiela seemed to be getting to know her new partner well enough. The fire dragen had also seemed to be the type of person who found it easy to make friends however. Aeriella didn’t see herself that way. Returning her gaze to the new duty roster, she wondered if Martel would be able to handle the vibrant Kyaira.

Without meaning to she shifted her gaze over to the tired looking light dragen. She’d been on the early morning shift and was ready to get some sleep. Tifferin insisted they have breakfast first, as he always did. Even as tired as she was, she looked beautiful. The vagrant thought made her blush and turn away. They had two and a half more years to get through together, she couldn’t think that way about her co-workers.

If getting involved with Norrell had been any indication, it wasn’t a good idea to have that kind of relationship with a co-worker. By the time she’d left to become a world gate sentinel, the atmosphere in their workplace had become almost toxic. She wasn’t about to let that kind of thing happen again. It was better to just ignore the other girl.

**
Kyaira settled back to eat her fruit bowl. She would miss Tifferin’s older brother type of guidance. She was certain that martel wouldn’t make sure she ate breakfast after working an early shift. Then she’d wake up ravenous and have to wait until lunchtime to eat. Martel seemed to be lost in his own world half the time.

She looked up in time to see Aeriella glare at her a moment, then look away. The dark dragen didn’t seem to like her. She was as nice as she could be, but still the other girl hardly spoke to her. “I don’t think Aeriella like me all that much,” she said softly to Tifferin.

“She’s hard to read,” Tifferin said around a mouthful of pastry. He swallowed and took a sip of tea. “She doesn’t really know you all that well, though, so she can’t really dislike you. You’re too… cute for anyone to really dislike anyway.”

“Aw, thanks Tiff,” Kyaira said. He flapped his wings as he stood to lead the way back toward the kitchen. “You’ll be working with her for the next six months. You can tell me what she’s really like. When we’re in the dorm together she won’t even talk to me.”

“You can see if you can nudge Martel out of his shell, while you work with him,” Tifferin said. “I’ve spoken to him a few times late night in the dorms. He’s like an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and dipped in angst.”

“That makes me want to strike up a conversation,” Kyaira teased. She bagan to wash their breakfast dishes, handing them to Tifferin to dry.

I wrote Chapter 2 yesterday but was too busy to upload.

I Won’t Forget Your Kind Smile or Your Eyes Hidden with Sorrow

 Denair settled back in his cage and watched his master trudge around looking for something.  In the years since his capture he’d learned only a few words in the language of his demon captor.  He’d learned the words for “sing” and “eat” and “sleep” but little else.  He wasn’t spoken to except by commands.  More often than not, the demon merely bounded on the base of his cage and screamed at him.

 When his master left him alone, as he was now, Denair’s mind flew back to how he’d come to be in this situation.  He wondered if any other dragens even realized how many of their people had been taken as slaves to the demons.  He certainly hadn’t heard anything of the sort.

 Denair let his eyes drift shut as his mind wandered back to that fateful day ten years ago.  A day that had changed his life.

Denair sighed as he looked up.  His master had found what he’d been looking for.  Denair had followed the other dragen’s advice and sung the moment the door had opened.  He’d been taken as a songbird for this demon almost immediately afterwards.

 He would never forget Tifferin though.  He hoped the other boy, with his soft, gentle smile and sad eyes had made it through safely.

**

We Are But Weaklings Pretending to be Tough

Of all the dragen clans, the stone dragens were the worst hit by raids during the demon war.  Martel had heard this since the time he was a fledgling.  His clan had been among the worst hit by the war.  The light dragens had been among the least impacted.  The ice dragens had taken the bulk of the casualties from the final battle.  The other clans had various similar claims but the stone dragens had been a favorite target of the demons for their raids.

 The elders had discussed the reasons during the war and had come to the conclusion that it was because the stone dragens could clutch from such an early age.  Martel only knew all this because his mother was the stone clan elder and he’d overheard her speaking about it late one night with his father.  Stone dragen dams could clutch from the time they were fledged.  The other clans couldn’t until about a decade later.

 He hadn’t known until then just what the demons did during the raids.  His parents had always hidden his sister and him in the root cellar during the raids.  They were barely fledged so their parents were very protective.  He’d asked his father about it the next day.

 After initial shock at the discussion being overheard, his father had told him that demons fed on energy.  Dragens, since all were magic in one form or other, had that energy.  The demons could get it in various ways.  They could leech it out of certain spells.  They could devour young dragens, or even older ones.  Finally they could eat the eggs of the dragens.  Apparently the demons got the most energy from dragen eggs so they never missed a chance to eat them.  They would even force production if there were none to be had.

 As young as he was, his father didn’t explain how the demons could force production of eggs.  He hoped to spare his son the gory details of the process that often left young dragens crippled or dead.  Unfortunately it was not to be.

 Now, armed with the knowledge of just what went on during a demon raid, Martel had been chosen as a sentinel of the worldgate.  He would be among the mages that watched for rifts that meant the demons would be returning.  The thought of being so close to the gate terrified him.

 Martel should be honored, he knew.  He was the son of the elder and would be elder when she died.  However he couldn’t help but be terrified.  If the demons came through the gate, those watching it would be among their first victims.  He knew there were warning systems set in place now but a part of him worried that they wouldn’t have time to flee before the demons arrived.

 He didn’t want to go.  He wanted to stay close to home, safe from harm.  But such wasn’t the place of a prospective elder.  It was bad enough that he had chosen the path of a mage; a scholar, and not a warrior like his parents.  Now he wanted to shirk the very duty to which he’d been trained out of nothing more than fear.

Now he was going to be living out on the edge of the territories, near the base of the Winter Mountains.  Mages from all the dragen clans took shifts watching the worldgate.  It was his turn.  He would only be there for three years.  In all likelihood his mother was right.  The demons were still securely sealed in their dark world.  He couldn’t keep back the fear, or the loneliness.

 Since his sister’s death, he’d only sought the company of his parents.  Now he would be far away from them.  He would have to talk to, to interact with strangers who weren’t even from the same clan.  He dreaded that thought most of all.  They couldn’t learn what a coward he was.  Somehow, he would have to hide his fear from them and appear normal.

 “Thanks, Mother,” he said softly as he stepped back.  “I’ll write… often.”

 “You’ll be so busy, you’ll hardly notice the time pass, dear,” she said.  With a gentle smile, she handed him a carry-sack and hugged him goodbye.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

Heather's Fancies

tales from the enchanted gardens and shadow hollow

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