The prologue of my newest project. Please tell me any thoughts or suggestions?
Verity Tavares stands on a hilltop that perfectly overlooks the Sleeping Fields.
The once vibrant meadow, lush with the life she had so painstakingly cared for was now charred black and barren with small, but blazing fires. The vicious war raged on with no sign of stopping, and any truce was far from being signed. King William Angelo’s line had ascended to the throne many years ago, but the dark lands had timed their destruction perfectly, spreading chaos and fear swiftly through the lands. In the distance, the Glass Castle of Auchendale looks sullen and cold, glinting with sunlight that gleamed off of the massive towers, creating feeble warmth. Even the fires in the field and the weak light couldn’t diminish the chill in Verity’s bones; as a loyal mage to her kingdom, her life force was tied to the lands, and she felt the seemingly interminable anguish of all things in her territory.
The mage jerks and whips around to see conflict in the distant horizon, raging soldiers clashing as flame hurtles down, seemingly from the heavens. The only water in sight from the hill is a thin trickle a muddy stream snaking its way through the Sleeping Fields.
Verity sighs. Fingering the jagged white scars on her neck, she thinks of how humdrum the sounds of battle should be by now. A war that stretches for almost six decades should not be so shocking. But it is, she thinks, as she portals to the Castle of Glass, to prepare for an interrogation with a traitorous advisor.
Walking through the streets, Verity sees the sparkling pieces of shattered, translucent shards, renovating the roads and buildings with a flick of her wrist as she passes. Glass floats and whips through the air in a chaotic albeit orderly way before assembling into their original state, not a crack or blemish in sight. White faces stare out of glittering homes as she trudges up the castle steps.
Portaling one last time in a blinding flash of white light, Verity is in the interrogation room. A castle guard hands her a brief summary of all they had managed to find from the traitor before scurrying out of the room. She smiles saccharine sweet at the bruised advisor sitting captive and bound tight in a wooden chair.
“Hello, Baxley,” she says, not unkindly. “I am High Mage Verity Tavares, and I have a few questions for you.”
He spits blood from his mouth and grins devilishly. “Well I got a question for you,” he drawls mockingly, as though he isn’t in a position of disadvantage. “How’d you get those scars?” He nods to her neck.
She expression changes from sweet to venomous in the time span of a single blink. “Dragon,” she answers. “How’d you get that broken nose?”
She drives her fist squarely into his nose.
Outside, the castle guard and his Captain Eli watch as Baxley squawks in surprise and agony. His nose seems quite broken. He can hear Mage Tavares barking something about her being “the only one to ask questions from now on, are we clear?”
“Crystal,” the man croaks faintly.
Concerned, he asks his superior, “What is she doing, sir?”
“What she does best,” the captain says, smiling.
By the time Verity Tavares is finished, the advisor has said everything he knows. She exits the interrogation room, smiling as she hears him blubbering softly before she shuts the door.
“Did you get it all down?” she inquires the castle guard.
He stutters, feeling slightly intimidated by the woman that had an incredibly short stature, but a lioness’ heart. “Y-yes, ma’am,” he manages.
Verity and the captain share an amused grin before the captain dismisses his minor. The mage and the man start down the stone corridor, towards the glass steps. “How many men did you send to the Southern Fields?” she asks the captain.
He sighs, clearly having anticipated the question, but dreading to answer. “Eight hundred,” he says. Verity stops on her way up the stairs, and with the glass material being not being visible and only known to be there by the glittering sunlight shining on it, she appears to be standing on light.
“Eight hundred?” she echoes in a weary voice. “Eli,” she tells the captain, “you cannot give up your men that easily and that readily. You know what happened in Avolire; they are nearly run over with Baroaghus. Patience is virtue.”
Eli’s eyes are two pools of sorrow set in a strong face. “A good proverb,” he says eventually. “But like most proverbs, it sounds wise but does not actually clarify anything. Or,” he says, pausing, “help in situations like these.”
Verity looks at the man, and then continues, Eli following after a few moments. “I think,” she says, “that you should wait until your men who are already at war are truly in dire need of reinforcements. Surely you have seen what destruction the enemy can make to even a thousand well-trained soldiers.”
“I have seen the destruction of ten thousand,” the captain tells her, “and I will see it more if I do not give it my all now. Better to crush the disturbance soon than to let it grow into something stronger and far more evil.”
“This war has been raging for two decades,” Verity tells him. “Better to spare the lives of innocent men and boys from a hopeless battle and recuperate before sending them in again than to recklessly ship them all off at once—“
She stops, seeing his expression.
As she had spoken, his face had slowly crumpled until he no longer appeared to be the determined and brave captain of the guard, and rather just Eli, her old friend again. Verity remembers how it used to be when they were younger, when she was taller than him by a head and his arms and legs were stick thin. At that time, his eyes had dominated his face, and he had been more happy and carefree, dedicating his time to spending it with her, training with his broadsword, or painting on hundreds of white canvases.
At that time, he didn’t have a son. And at this time, he did.
“Oh, Eli,” she says. “You know that Joseph was not your fault. I did not mean to imply—“
“It is all right,” he says in a gruff voice. “The past is the past. Also, Mage Pyrus wished for me to tell you that an army of about two hundred Baroaghus have taken Dul Badhir. You know what this means, do you not?”
“Yes,” she says tiredly. “Now the dwarves have been robbed of all but one of their mountains.”
“This also means that we have lost almost all of our sources for weapons against the Demon King. Only the metal Ocatrite can harm him and his Rezinov in any way. Any other weapon in Estra Galione is useless.”
They have reached the top of the stairs, and are now overlooking the Sleeping Fields, and, in the distance, the Southern Plains. Verity looks at the almost non-existent line of blue in the horizon, the ocean. She turns and searches Eli’s face. “Why not,” she says, “go to Cuidvaria, and ask The Lady Angela of a weapon like one of Ocatrite?”
The captain of the guard looks at her as though she is insane. “Verity,” he tells her. “You of all people should know that the Angeli of Cuidvaria dislike involving themselves with the matters of Estra Galione, no matter the situation. We would be lucky to set foot on the land without being sunk during the voyage or struck down by heavenly fire.”
“This is the greatest threat our lands have seen for centuries,” Verity insists. “Surely the Angeli will be understanding and grant us a little advice.” Eli searches her face, and then gazes out to the faraway ocean. “I suppose it would be worth trying,” he relents.
As if an unseen force demands their attention, they both turn to the horizon. The telltale glint of blue and silver shines distantly as the eight hundred brave men march their way to the battle, and, without any miracle, their doom.