Writing: Character Backround Story
Word Count: 1815 (
I froze. Damn obedience curse! I thought, irritated again. With irritation, I glanced backwards, without taking my eyes off the escapee.
“Are you so clouded as to not see who she is?” the voice of Jane Exina chided again. “Can you not recognize your friend?”
“Who’s side are you on?” I retorted, but caught myself from any insults, remembering our respective ranks. I may have been a Guardian, but Jane had also risen in rank, and was now known as a Shadow. She had power beyond that of most in the Cordelian heiarchy, and had only to report to the King himself.
“Do you not recognize your old friend?” she repeated.
“I have no friends.”
Jane moved around so she was standing between the escapee and me. “You used to,” she murmured. “Have you forgotten?”
Her cold tone had returned and I felt her presence slip out of my mind. “You have not forgotten.” She walked to the escapee and set her clock on the shivering lady’s shoulders before moving aside and I stared at the escapee more carefully.
We had been separated for a decade, and were hardly recognizable. But at Jane’s prodding, I recognized a few familiar features—that, and there were not many people in my past that were of much significance. And at that moment, I almost wished that reunions were as simple and easy as a “It’s been too long,” or “Don’t you remember?”
I felt Jane Exina’s hand touch my shoulder and send a wave of calm though me. The rock-hands vanished, and I mellowed a little. Still, no words were exchanged. Finally, Jane broke the silence, voicing my thoughts. “What do you do now?”
Akeisa pleaded with me silently, holding the baby as if it were the only thing that mattered. But I knew that failure would not be accepted. I had my own life to worry about, and I was expected to be recruited when the Lord of the land came to find a guardian to the land’s Shade team.
“Let her go,” someone said, but it was not Jane this time. “And I’ll be the next Shade.”
Bus Kandler—predictably, I supposed. A passing Shade had pitied his statue and brought him out of it—he quickly proved his worth in repaying the debt. “Go ahead. Save your—friend,” he spat the last word, and laughed.
“You are not to speak that way to a superior,” Jane admonished, testing him. He had yet to know of her new rank, and obviously could not tell by her cloak, as it had been given to Akeisa momentarily. Yet if he had any memory he would remember that she was the one that had permitted the Shade that had saved him to save him, put two and two together, and see that we were not acting.
He failed that test. “She is no superior,” he laughed, and attacked, uprooting trees and other debris of the forest to launch at me. With unsurpassable speed, I retaliated, merging the flying matter into a single entity and shooting it back at him. They bounced off him and did as much impact as a grain of sand does an ocean.
“Shadevow,” he said smugly, pointing at the dull gray jewel on a brooch. “You can’t hurt me.”
Through this encounter, Akeisa had slipped further from us, but now paused. She, as well as Jane, seemed to know that the next move depended on me.
My childhood resurfaced for a brief moment, flashing images of my triumphs and failures first as a Revelin, then as a Cordelian. Now that I had a choice, where would I stand?
My next words came from the Guardian-trained side of my brain; in a near monotone, I said, “Master Shadow?”
Bus looked around wildly searching for a Shadow. Akeisa had left the cloak hanging inconspicuously in a branch, and peered at us, looking for a way to escape. “Certainly,” replied Jane.
Incredulity plainly crossed Bus’s face and he smirked. “Nice try,” he muttered, and resumed the attack.
I dodged his attacks, manipulating the projectiles only when necessary to protect Akeisa. No one noticed Jane, who seemed to have vanished. Projectiles and blasts of pure psychic energy flew at me, colliding mercilessly with the environment. Finally, I tired of this game and –Shadevow or no—returned the onslaught.
Without fear, I threw my entire entity into a great tree that had been slashed in the battle; my body crumpled behind me, protected by a boulder. Inside the tree, I at first pushed, like Souls were trained to do, then decided to abandon those lessons and instead just asked to share the space for awhile. It relented hesitatingly, and I felt control of the massive being flood into my control. It was not like standing with my feet glued together and my arms stuck out stupidly; it was just being. The roots did not feel like feet—they were roots, not feet; the branches were branches, and each twig a separate being. I had given it a temporary nervous system, but it was still itself and did not mold itself to any animal shape. I was a tree. I was not a person inside the tree; I was a tree.
I lunged a branch forward using the whisperings of the wind to find him, and propelled a few roots around him, caging the fellow without harming him.
“You can’t hurt me!” he proclaimed again, doing nothing but confirming his location. Magic coursed though my vascular tissue and secondary growth of the plant ensured, making branches sprouting leaves curl around the guy, securing him tightly in a complex web.
I thanked the tree for sharing, and asked it to maintain the position before slipping away and reclaiming my own body.
“You still can’t hurt me,” Bus laughed, spitting out a mouthful of leaves. “You can trap, but not harm.”
I was about to speak, but Jane appeared above him, sitting calmly on a branch. “Arrogant much?” She peered at him and then leapt down, instantly at my side. “Your call,” she muttered pointlessly.
I had made my choice. I would not return with Akeisa to the Revelin—in any case she had escaped in the midst of the battle—but neither would I return with Bus to the Cordelian Empire. I glanced at Jane, knowing she was reading my intentions as I formulated them.
“Why?” I asked, taking the cloak I wore off. She swung it over an arm and said, “As a Shadow, I have privileges; among them, the right to pursue personal interests. This particular one is called, ‘the better path of an individual,’.
“Veraline,” she said, smiling interestedly. “I can’t make you braid your hair, but I can call you as much, can’t I?”
Vera—now Veraline again—smiled and hugged Jane Exina one last time before turning and leaping off into the woods, calling out to the forest for directions.
Tsiyone Karmiti, fourteen years of age and the daughter of the chief, looked up from her work for a rare moment. The boy sitting on her right stopped as well, setting aside the basket he was helping her weave and stared at her. “What is it, Tazanna Tsiyone?”
“The trees are telling me…” she paused. “Shila Tasuke—oh, banish the thought—Wihe Evangeline! Please go find Pahan Nemonni and tell him to stand at the southeast border. The trees tell me someone is searching for him.
Tasuke grimaced as Evangeline, purple haired and pale skinned, darted off, fast despite her seemingly plump figure, before returning to work on his basket. He was an oddity, a child with no feeling in his legs. But the tribe was good, and did not see this as a drawback or a shame. He was to work with the women then, and work as they did. His arms were not damaged, and his brain was keen; he would work what he could with his conditions.
Within a few minutes, Evangeline returned with a man that stood out among the others: his skin was not quite as tanned as theirs, and his hair was a strange orange color; but the tribes people did not see him as a bad person, and he did not feel his awkwardness; these people were his closest family, and he knew their ways as well as any adult of the tribe. “Tazanna, he said, placing his left palm around his right fist in the native’s way of bowing, “My daughter told me I am expected at the south-east border? Am I looking for someone particular?”
“I know not, Pahan Nemonni. I was merely told that someone who can apparently communicate with the forest is searching for someone of your name. They come this way.”
The man bowed again, a move which Tsiyone mirrored as well, and then left for the south-east part of camp. He selected a place where he could see and looked around him, looking for whoever was looking for him. A few hours passed, and Nemonni was tempted to return, when a voice called, “Nem?”
A very thin figure made her way towards him and Nem ran forward to help her. “Did you walk all this way from Shalenfear? However did you get enough to eat?”
“Hello uncle,” Vera said, smiling. Her hair was messy but presentable, Estallos still set in them, fluttering their wings with the wind. Her uniform was tattered and torn and her boots were hopelessly worn, but Vera Suis herself was very much fine. “Veraline now,” she corrected, accepting a drink of water from a flask Nem offered.
“I learned a lot in Shalenfear,” she started, “and I figured out how to use my abilities to keep myself alive. I talked to the trees to find out where you were. How did you know I was coming?”
He led her past the last tree before the camp and she gasped. “You’re living with natives?”
“Yes. This is the Karmiti Tribe; the chief’s daughter talks to trees and told me someone was looking for me.”
They continued through the camp, sharing tidbits of news.
They had arrived where Tsiyone was working with Tasuke and Evangeline. “Veraline, this is Tazanna Tsiyone, the daughter of the chief, whom I told you about.”
Tsiyone stood and bowed, the traditional hand-over-fist sign of respect. Vera started to salute, as she had been trained to do as a Cordelian, but stopped and remembered the native salute Nem had taught her so long ago. “Pahan Veraline, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
Evangeline and Tasuke also bowed, the latter from his sitting position since he could not stand. “Tasuke,” Nem said, indicating the sitting boy. The two glanced at each other and smiled politely.
“Evangeline,” Nem introduced, but the indicated girl had come over to shake Vera’s hand personally. “I’ve heard a lot about you cousin. Welcome.”
Artist's Note: Yea...Finally done :) Sorry for the late update :P
I dunno what to do about Tsiyone's part, but that's the next major thread for me... unless I get tired of writing character profiles sometime and throw in a random non-character-background thing XD
The following should be defined in Tsiyone's part, but for clarity, this is the translation of the words in native (NOTE: I made these up; they aren't actual native indian words and aren't supposed to be the same as any other author's terminology)
Tazanna--Title for the daughter of the chief
Pahan--Non-native-born brother or sister (I realize this Pahan is also "mage" in Street Magic by Tamora Pierce. This was not intentional.)
@Minsat--thank you for the compliment you wrote on a comment for "Point of an Eraser". <3