I don't know how some bloggers do it. Once-a-week postings? I could do this daily! But then again, I don't work on The Proxy Wars daily. *I'm in college remember?* So, I've just recently gotten some downtime, and before I go off to pray one of the five daily prayers I think I'll post a little snippet from Book 1: Dramatis Personae. It's from Chapter Five: The Ties That Bind.
A little history on the title, it's a Christian tradition coming from a Protestant hymn that states, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds." I thought it was very beautiful to show in this chapter how love can both bind people together, and drive them wildly apart. I'm only posting a short snippet here, not the whole chapter. Just to provide some context, the scene takes place at a graveyard called The Burial Mound. This place is where the six Magna Beasts who have ruled Atlantis as monarchs since the island's foundation in the year 2555 are buried. Hopefully, I've mentioned beforehand that the whole story takes place from August 3096 - May 3097 (That's to say, the whole of Book 1 takes place during that time.), so considering the Magna Beast's prolonged lifetime it makes sense how there are only six monarchs. At the Burial Mound, Briok is mourning his father with his mother, the Queen of Atlantis Sheba Cwartel. *Sheba is human, while Briok's father is the Mag*
I'll explain how an alien species mated with a human one in a later post. Don't get wigged out, it doesn't involve sex. *Is anyone else still getting shivers from District 9's concept of Nigerian prostitutes and alien suitors? I am*
If you have any criticism, please post/comment below after the jump. I appreciate all criticism and check out my query letter summary from the previous post. Please critique that one as well. Tell me if it grabs your attention, if it seems like a standout storyline different from others you've heard, and if it compels you to read further. Thanks to the two people who read this continuously so far! You know who you are. Until next time then.
It was early morning Monday, the first day of school for Atlantian children. Just the night before, Briok Cwartel had learned that he was a Prophet, a warrior, and a leader of an entire species. His eyes were still red, still swollen with sorrow. “Briok? Briok, it’s time to leave,” Sheba Cwartel gently touched her son’s shoulder. Time was showing its heavy toll on his weary face. His brow was creased, his eyes full of both contempt and sorrow. His hair was unnaturally dull in color.
Sheba tried pulling her son up, but he pushed her off, still staring at his father’s grave. Straightening her black coat, she looked at her watch. It was nearly noon, and they had spent several hours at the grave already. Her wary eyes scanned the surrounding area, dark sunglasses hiding her pain.
The Burial Mound was at the top of a hill in Atlantia sitting on the edge of Atlantis’ beautiful coastline. Waves rolled back and forth against the slope where six Atlantian monarchs, Magna Beasts all, lay dead, dispatched at the hands of the Howlas. The grass grew green atop the buried coffins, and the flowers had bloomed beautifully. But a pall persisted. A constant wind blew across the dewy grass, ever-present clouds clapped together from time to time, and the quiet never lifted. Each gave the Burial Mound an exquisitely sad character.
Sheba returned her gaze to Briok, whose face reflected the pall of the Burial Mound. She looked up into the stone eyes of her husband, his likeness erected in beautiful marble over his grave. He was holding a sword in one hand, an olive branch in the other, and his face was looking into the distance as it always did. She barely contained the gasp of pain that escaped her lips. Looking away, she caught sight of her son silently repeating something to himself.
He was reading the tombstone with such intensity, his eyes burning into it,
“Only among the aisles of the cathedral, only as we gaze upon their silent figures sleeping on their tombs, some faint conceptions float before us of what these men were when they were alive. – J.A. Froude”
“That was your father’s favorite quote.” She crouched down to Briok’s level, “He lived his life by that quote. He wanted very much to mean something.”
Briok quivered, “One thing I inherited from him then, right?”
Sheba smiled, “Your ambition is not the only thing he gave you. You have his ridiculous hair,” she ruffled it gently, “you keep everything to yourself, much like he did. You even inherited his beautiful smile.”
Briok seemed to have sunken into an even deeper depression with this litany. “I even inherited his curse.”
Not one inch of her flinched, but Sheba’s eyes cried out, her silence roared with a mother’s fury for her child. “Briok,” she gasped finally, “It doesn’t have to be a curse. You aren’t going to go through this alone, I promise you. Whatever Amar does with you, I will be here.” She pulled him closer, “You are my son. You are not cursed. And even if you are, where did that fire go? Hm? I didn’t raise you to give up now did I? You can be the greatest one to have ever lived. You can be the best, better than any of them!” When Briok’s eyes did not meet hers, Sheba gently took his head and pushed it in her direction. “Where’s my happy Briok? Where’s the strong man that I raised?”
“I can’t, Mom,” he pushed her away, “I can’t…I can’t fight a war, I can’t kill…” With this, Briok seemed to have finally lost his will. Slumping to the ground, his head buried beneath his arms, he began to sob. The din was the only break in the silence, the loudest noise amongst the echoes of the dead. Sheba could do nothing but sit next to him, silently cradling her grieving son.
After several moments, epochs, of maimed cries ringing along the Burial Mound’s sloping turf, Sheba took control. Slowly, with effort bridled, she helped Briok rise and the pair left the memories behind. They drove away in silence, seeking only the company of their own minds. When they had both finally arrived at the Villa, Briok hurriedly removed his shoes and threw them into his cubby in the garage. Forcing the door open, Briok rushed to his room and went to his desk. Burying his head again, he sat there for hours on end while Sheba prepared soup in the kitchen.
She carried a large tray with the soup and a few slices of bread to Briok’s room, setting it down quietly next to him. Stroking his untamed hair, she whispered to him that she was going to the Palace to take care of some affairs. “I’ll be gone tomorrow to the Senate building. I’ll be back before dinner. Eat your soup, and get some rest.” When Briok did not reply, Sheba gently squeezed his shoulders, “You can’t forget that you are still alive, Briok. You still have things to do. You’re fourteen years old, you are not a child. When I come back, I want to see you cleaned up and in bed. You of all people need the rest.” Exiting the room, she turned on the lights. Sundown was settling itself in, the deep shades of dusk spreading their fingers across the nighttime sky.