EWW Week 1 - Vignette Assignment 2013: Introduce a central character to a familiar world.
|Donieal's Vignette - In connection with:
He saw the brilliant glow of their magic, felt the heat of their exertion, heard the breaking of the barrier and still it was difficult to believe. They had done it! These three stranger mages, four - if his suspicions were correct and the wind mage had been connected to them from afar - had bested Ishabal Ladyhammer, and by extension Berenene, the Empress herself!
He glanced down at the puddle of mud surrounding his ankles. He lifted his head to gaze at the singed and windswept vegetation around him. His own powers had become restless in the midst of the ordeal, he had to move before someone took notice of the altered area. Though he thought it, actually performing the duty and moving his body proved difficult. Had he used that much magic or was it just whiplash from the foursomes workings? He decided to ask them on the other side. Outside of Namorn and into his new life, but first he had to move. After a few seconds and little progress he forced himself to still. He closed his eyes and sought out the elements. The faintest of breezes was blowing from the west, his direction of travel. He abstemiously drew from the zephyr's powers, careful not to draw too quickly and appear greedy, though his instincts screamed at him to suck the breeze dry. He knew from experience, the elements did not appreciate avarice. He was in no immediate danger, there was no need to act hastily. After accepting almost half of the winds offerings he moved his power out into the air in search of heat. It was a fairly mild day, around 60 degrees, neither uncomfortably hot or chillingly cold. Deciding it best to not borrow from the days heat he moved on to the earth. He sought out the vegetation and soil currently untouched by the magic that had spewed from him earlier, during The Event, as he would now refer to the breaking of the barrier. He overlooked the saplings, he couldn't borrow from such young creations, it was like begging for the food from an infants mouth. Finally he came upon a sturdy young tree with bountiful liquid deposits in and around it's roots. He introduced himself to the tree and asked for some of it's strength, his new friend was happy to oblige. He drew what he could from the tree and earth surrounding it. After checking to ensure he had not excessively weakened the tree and that it would soon regain it's strength with the next rain, he withdrew back to his body.
His eyes were shocked open when his magically mind rejoined his body. It wasn't as if the trance had been that deep but it was always a shock when his physical body absorbed his new magic collections. He wondered if he would ever get used to the feeling. Perhaps if he was able to practice however much and long he desired it would become more...natural. He didn't know, he had never been given the luxury. He could have that on the other side, or so he told himself. He had to try, he had to move. This time his body dutifully obeyed his command. His joints ached and were sore from the strained immobility, but he was moving. Half stumbling, half running, he made it to the barrier without incident. He felt an itch between his shoulder blades, the tale tell sign that he was being watched but he didn't stop or falter. To look back would have indicated both that he expected to be watched and an admission of guilt. As it were he planned to claim ignorance of the Empress' desires, he had been absent from court for an entire month once and she hadn't noticed, why should he think she would begrudge him a trip to the other side. He hadn't planned on staying away forever, it just developed that way. That's what he would say if confronted.
He passed through the barrier opening. The remaining barrier, a half mile off in either direction, hummed quietly in both his ears until he was a few hundred feet past it and on the other side. He calmly walked down the hill as if he hadn't a care in the world. Once he reached the foot of hill he took a deep breath and casually glanced behind him. There wasn't a soul in sight, no hint of fellow travelers or hidden spies. He was free, or so he felt. Without waiting to test his fortune he turned and ran.
Donieal did not stop jogging until he came into view of [village name]. The quaint little town looked lively even from half a mile out. People bustled in the streets, in and out of shops. As far away as he was Donieal noticed how animated the villagers were in their conversation. Once he reached the outskirts and passed a few people he was able to overhear some of the latest gossip.
"I'm telling you Martha it's true, those three children, the noble bunch, they just escaped the Namornese Empress." said one milk maid excitedly to another.
"Come off it Ann, there's no way, she let them go." The milk maids speaking companion was a buxom full figured woman that had the look of a bakers wife, what with her flour coated apron and strong kneading arms.
"Believe what you will," chided Ann "but Igram was only half way down the hill when he heard and felt them break down the barrier. And you know he's not one to go around spreading tall tales." Martha seemed to turn this news over in her head.
"No I suppose not, the lad never was one to spin the truth. Either way I better hurry back, whatever they were up to they worked up some beastly appetites. You have the rest of that milk I need?" Martha followed Ann into a nearby barn. Donieal had stopped a few feet away from the women pretending to 'tie his shoe' so as to hear the entire conversation. When they left he went to sit and rest on a nearby boulder. He wanted to waste time so he could follow Martha, it sounded like she was cooking for the mages. He didn't have to wait long, mere seconds later the cook and maid left the barn laden down with multiple pails of milk.
"My, these mages must have horrific appetites to need so much."
"Don't even pretend to complain, as if you aren't thrilled to have a reason to get a glimpse of them."
"I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about," said Ann in mock offense. "I am merely helping an old friend carry her burden, and should I just so happen to get a glance at some attractive strangers, then so be it." Martha scoffed.
"Forgive me if I don't fall over myself in generosity, and look out who you call old. I could carry you and all this milk without breaking a sweat." The two continued to talk and laugh jovially, not once noticing Donieal as he trailed them to the Scavengers Inn. Scavengers was a nice sized two story building in the center of town. It was obviously a popular 'place' considering the steady stream of patrons and ever present line of clientele loitering about along the terrace and in front of the establishment. Donieal watched as the two women carried their burden along the side of the building and disappeared around the back. He took a moment to collect himself as he gazed at the inn. It was now or never and 'never' wasn't an option. He steeled himself and walked in. It had been obvious from the outside that the inn was busy but even he could not have guessed just how busy. He had walked through the door and directly into one of the locals. They hadn't even turned to bat an eye at him, probably hadn't even noticed considering everyone was shoulder to shoulder in the generously sized salon.
Most of the town must be here, Don thought to himself. All of them trying to get a good look at the stranger mages that had supposedly broken the Will of the Empress. He had originally planned to order food right away but quickly gave up on that idea as he saw the throng of people waiting at the bar on his left. There wasn't an inch to squeeze in to and he wasn't apt to try. He managed to snag a chair on the far right wall near the staircase on the back wall. From his position he could see the infamous party as they dined and celebrated. The crew was stationed along most of the back wall under the stairs and overhead balcony. Don noticed that the other patrons were respecting their space, leaving at least a 3 foot radius around their collection of tables. Meanwhile they seemed content to be pushed together like sardines in a can. Don's toes were tred on repeatedly by the drunken or clumsy and more than once someone either fell or purposefully leaned on him for some reason or another. He didn't say anything, he probably could have made a fuss and flouted his nobility like most of his Namornese friends would have, but he wasn't the type to cause a scene or draw attention to himself.
A petite bar maid sidled her way over to him through the crowd, two gentleman had just relieved her of the last two beers on her serving pallet. She looked worn out but she still managed to give him a winning smile. "Hello there, welcome to Scavengers. I'm Mai, what can I get for you?" Don wasn't prepared to order, he hadn't even expected to be recognized in this raucous din. Still, he was famished, both from his journey and the expended earlier magics.
"I'll have two meat pasties and some ale please."
"Coming right up!" Mai flashed her brilliant countenance at him once more before turning and rushing back to the kitchen.
Word count: 1,687
Vignette Assignment: Write a 1-3K vignette following the prompt and post in the "Assignment Forum for Exploratory Writing" as a "bitem."
Prompt: In a world you are familiar with and passionate about, introduce a central character (CC). Give the reader or audience a look at the back story of this world and a before snapshot of the CC. Show both the problem the CC faces as well as his/her wants, needs, and/or desires. Frustration creates dramatic energy, an unstoppable emotion, a compelling inner need. Link your Character Profile Sketch/Prose Synopsis item for your CC to the static item for this vignette.
Checklist: Use this checklist to be sure you have included all of the vital aspects:
Is there one central pivotal character?
What is the character's problem?
What is character's want-need-desire?
Is the CC who the story is about?
What is the story world of the tale?
Is this a world you have experience with?
Have your provided a before snapshot of CC?
Did you link your static item for your Character Profile Sketch/Prose Synopsis on your vignette page?
Edit: Just remembered that my vignette was supposed to be similar in word count to my "Chapter Template 1" . *shrug*
To that end, this exercise is 1,687 words and my template is 1,698 so I was nearly perfect! Yay, go me.