Slumber of the Moon • the first story

Tale of the Princess

{an explanation}

Long ago, a princess acted wicked and then world was broken. To preserve a piece of the pristine paradise, the prince wove a protective veil around the last sliver. Within the dulcet, temperate spring, tiny towns and then grand translucent castles emerged, radiated forth from the seed of paradise. Thus, a fragment of Eternity and True Beauty survived. Until a forlorn stranger waylaid the princess to corruption.

Chapter One: Maiden in the Woods {Jeune femme au bois[1]}

Iren squinted through the gray haze; great furry shapes, outlined in silver dewdrops, prowled on the edge of his vision. The shapes circled a slender, dark-skinned woman, whose long hair glistened like moonlight. Her eyes, which met his for a fleeting moment, were a sweet raspberry pink. Reaching out her hand, the woman showed him her palm.

“They will guide you.”

“Wha…” he croaked, but the haze melted into the silver of the animals and the gleam of her hair until a white, wet mist was the only thing he could see.

Groaning, Iren forced up his head. The blood had crusted over his right arm, so he propped himself on the weight of his good one. An eerie stillness encased the forest. For that’s what it was now. The distant, ever-present sigh-and-hiss of the sea had vanished. Only the damp frightened slap of moisture, intersected with thick gasps of silence, was audible.

Iren crept around the wall of briars. Thick as his forearm, the vines hoisted thorns twice as long; like gleaming dirks, the thorns shone crimson in the withering light. A shuddered scampered up Iren’s back, dainty as a frightened spider. Every sense surged up to warn him to flee. This was not his place; this was not his battle. Uncertainty gnawed at his gut, nibbling at chucks of his heart.

Just as his uncertainty began to weigh out against surmounting the fence of unearthly briars, Iren glimpsed one of the luminous beasts he had seen upon waking. In the dark, brilliant shades of dusk, the lean canine, massive and sleek, called to mind the wolves that had once roamed the Caran Mountains north of Miravor. A painful vise squeezed his heart, and Iren bowed his head beneath the untimely weight of memory. But the spectral wolf darted past his downcast eyes, drawing him back to the briars. And there Iren saw a low, narrow wedge cut through the glistening thorns. Shaded by a lattice of thorns, it was nigh invisible and if not the shimmering ghost wolf, he never would have seen it.

Curiosity sparked, Iren flattened himself on the ground and wriggled through. While blossoms and fruit crowned the rest of the forest, carpeted beneath the briars were dead leaves. Withered red and gold snapped beneath him. A suffocating musk clogged his nostrils, wet, clinging cobwebs. Coughing, Iren pried himself along the tunnel. Thorns leered down at him; crimson liquid dripped off the longest, igniting smoke among the crusty, old leaves. Hacking, Iren squinted through the stinging haze. Though watering from the sting, he dared not close his eyes without knowing if more of those wicked thorns would intersect his path and impale his skull. On and on and on he plunged, (crawling on his stomach like a serpent,) until a speck of cool, silver light pierced the smoke. With a final heave, Iren tumbled out from under the briars into a quiet, moonlit garden.

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Writing Week • 10/8/17 — 10/14/17

This was a much better week.

Let’s see…

I delimited the contours of story variants. I’m not sure how to explain this other than…having a multitude of ideas all crammed together and having to sift them apart. 

I reflected back on my earliest writing that featured any content related to my demons. Re-reading that (along with reading LotR currently) has reminded me of where part of the impetus of my demons, as a created species, arose from. 

I also realized (or remembered) that the initial emotional crux wasn’t only related to the Moon. Which explains why the story was ordered the way it was in my first draft. I also will have to delete a huge hunch of material, because 1. It doesn’t fit historically, and 2. I felt it put too much of the conflict’s weight on the gods rather than the demons and that’s been a sore spot on me for awhile. 

I continue to work my way through the Nights of Heroes 100+ character compilation, finalizing names, years of birth, and rudimentary backstory.

I feel like I’m forgetting something, but this will have to do. I hope for one of these recaps’ I’ll be able to dig in a little more about what I’m talking about. More details and more personal reflection. Or maybe I should pick a stand out point and focus on that. That’s an idea. I’ll see how I feel about it.

Best wishes and writing!

River-Grown

Day 31: March 3

Flowers gleam from within, radiant gems in the underground darkness. They sway, as if to an internal melody, leaves waving at the rough, weathered stone above them. Nothing else but the small meadow lives in this cavern, a patch of blossoms that grow from the bedrock, humming and dancing on roots fed by the Deep River Under the stone.

[59]

Ocean Ancestors

Day 13: Feb 13

Tales of the past — sometimes the recent past, if she’s honest — curl across the floor, dainty, almost fanciful words, so wondrous and unbelievable that they seem capable of cracking under the slightest inspection. But they are true; she knows so. She has lived part of this recent, unbelievable story herself. Though it is the older stories, the ones interwoven like flashes of silver on the sea among the recent one, that keeps her attentive: astounding voyagers across the vast ocean, colony and kingdom founders, dropping words and letters on their journey. They were the first to understand the sea and what lay beneath. A tiny silver glimmer flashes inside her; she is glad they play a part, however miniscule, in her story, too.

[123]

I have renewed these in lieu of the Refugee Ban in the USA. Inspired by the-cassandra-project and their Every Day Challenge, I am writing every day to raise money for the Urban Justice Center. You can donate here or please spread the word. Thank you.

After Alice

By Gregory Maguire

“What would Eurydice tell us if Orpheus had been able to bring her back?” (273).

First, I think I might like stories about children being lost in weird and insensible places. Full of talking animals and odd characters and unknown dangers. That sort of thing.

Second, I’ve never been fond of Maguire’s writing. But I did enjoy After Alice. Some of this is probably because of my observation above and the fact that I was able to actually understand what was happening and the build up didn’t turn out to be a commonality (such as a daydream or an illusion).

It also presents a perspective on the underworld that I had not considered (though considering a certain story, a character, and other plot points, it’s surprising I hadn’t considered it). Namely, the underworld is associated with death. It is, after all, where some people bury the deceased. It’s the tomb of the unknown. Who knows what’s down there?

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

“‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘Oh, you ca’n’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here'” (74).

This was a very odd book. But that might be expected. Although what stood out to me the most was its mix of absurdity and order. Or to be more precise, how distinct (and tyrannical) Wonderland politics were.

For one, the cards are designated by role:

“First came soldiers carrying clubs…next the ten courtiers: these were ornamented all over with diamonds… After these came the royal children: there were ten of them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along, hand in hand, in couples: they were ornamented with hearts” (92).

The impression I get from this is that there’s a hierarchy in the card suits: spades are gardens (if the picture is anything to go on), clubs are warriors and soldiers, diamonds are courtiers or nobility, and hearts are royalty. That indicates that there is actual structure to Wonderland. Even if its laws, justice, and punishment are illogical.

I think that’s what makes it so interesting from a worldbuilding point of view (which may not have been an aspect that was on Carroll’s mind when he wrote it.)

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Writing Research | Πλούτων & χθόνιος

Let’s talk about my favorite kind of deity in mythology. It’s a special Greek-based kind, deriving from χθόνιος or khthonios, which I think should mean “of the earth” and more specifically means “in or under the earth“. What fun, right?

It refers to deities that live under the earth, not to be connected with deities of the earth (or Γῆ). It’s a nice mixture of the plenty of the underworld (riches, wealth) and the somber atmosphere of the underworld (death, graves, souls).

The Greek Πλούτων /Ἅιδης1 is a nice example of this. Even though Hades is better known as Pluto in his Roman guise, the name seems to derive from a Greek word that relates to wealth. Hence it was Hades’ more positive (and wealthier) aspect. Other Greek deities include Persephone, Hecate, and Demeter.

I can’t quite explain it, but I’ve always been very partial to this idea of deities or beings. There’s an edge of danger to them, of course, but there’s also wealth and wonder. I like to picture it as vast sparkling cities under the earth with jeweled flowers or trees, but where there’s still the scent of decay and dirt and maybe the voice of ancestors. It’s important (and central) to my writing.

1 Pluton/Hades