7:45 AM

NaNoWriMo09 Excerpt 2: Legend of the Broken Sword

(This has been the hardest month of my life, I swear. Nothing has worked out the way I wanted it to. But, I have something I wrote yesterday that I think is pretty good, so I thought I'd share. This isn't edited yet, so be gentle!)

The moon rose over the trees, the fire crackled and popped and sent up yellow sparks in to the night sky while the stars twinkled down at them.
In her bedroll, Xia stirred and then opened her eyes. She sat up and looked around, suddenly awake. The fire was still there, but as she turned her head she noticed that there was no one else in the clearing but her. The rest of the adventurers were gone, bedrolls and all, and so were the horses. Before she had time to jump up and start looking for them, before panic really had a chance to settle in, she heard something from the end of her bedroll. Looking up, she saw a black wolf standing by her feet, it eerie yellow eyes glowing in the light of the fire as it stared at her intently.
Xia gulped as she looked at the wolf, then she closed her eyes. She reasoned with herself that this had to be a dream. The others wouldn't have left her, they were too honorable for that. They wouldn't have stolen away in the middle of the night and left her with nothing but a fire. It just wasn't their natures. If anyone was going to wander off in the middle of the night, it would be her, and she hadn't felt like the situation was that bad. Yet. So this had to be a dream, and dreams couldn't hurt you, so she would just lay down and go back to sleep and then she'd wake up and it would be morning.
She didn't move. Something wasn't right, her brain was screaming at her. This should be a dream but it didn't feel like one. Xia opened her eyes again to look at the wolf.
The wolf wasn't there. Instead, leaning against her bedroll, one elbow on the ground and the other arm draped lazily across his chest, was a very handsome man. His face was like a painting of the greatest of heroes, done by the best artist in all the world. He was idealized in every way, from the long flowing hair that cascaded in soft piles around his face and pooled over his shoulders, to the dark eyes that seemed to look directyl in to Xia's soul. She found herself captivated, intoxicated even in a way that she had never felt before. Her breath caught in her throat and then she didn't breathe at all. She simply forgot to because looking at him was far more important.
He wore long, elegant silk robes in dark colors that swirled over his body and pooled on the ground beneath him. His lips were in what seemed to be a permanent knowing grin as he stared at her. The darkness of his eyes had Xia feeling like she was drowning in a dark ocean, but she was welcoming the waters. She didn't remember to breathe again until she realized that she was about to pass out from the lack of air. The entire time he just lounged there, staring at her with that grin on her face. Finally, onec some semblance of her senses had returned to her, Xia found the capacity to speak again.
"What are you doing here," she asked, her voice soft, "Who are you?"
He sat up and leaned forward, his hand coming up to her cheek. "You must be the lovely Xia Redmoon. I'm so glad I found you." His voice was soft, seductive, like silk on silk, or the rustling of fine curtains in a summer breeze. She was taken aback and speechless, staring deeply in to his eyes again as she lost herself in their gaze.
Xia stammered, trying to find something intelligent to say before he continued. "I've come to help you, Xia. I know of what you seek, and I can give it to you."
Xia's brain slammed back in to action quickly. There was only one thing she was looking for, and that was him. If this person, whoever he was, knew about it, then there had to be a way he had found out. Thet made her blood freeze in her veins. "How... do you know what I'm seeking?" She put a hand up to her chest, lightly touching her necklace as she pulled back away from the man in the dark colored silk robes.
He chuckled, sounding like a bubbling spring. "I have my ways. I can tell you where to find him, Xia Redmoon. The man who ruined your life. The one who made you suffer and then took your mother away. I could give him to you on a silver platter."
That sort of offer always ended up being one that you regretted later, but she had to admit that she was curious. Oh, was she curious. Any offer that good had to have a catch, and she immediately asked what it was.
"All I wish is for you to bring Lady Karen and Tam Selhana to a specific shop in Selundria. That's it. I only wish to see them and talk to them. I won't harm them at all, if you fear that I would."
"Uh huh," Xia said, waving her hand in the air. "And what guarantee do I have of that? You say that you can do all this, but I don't even know that you can follow through on a payment for me doing this. What if the man I'm looking for isn't even on this plane? I've chased him across so many so far that I've lost count. He could be far away from here on the plane of giant talking butterflies for all I know and you might just be playing with weighted dice." She leveled her emerald eyes at him, looking incredibly serious. It wasn't a look that she got often, but she used when she had to.
He chuckled, sounding like a gently bubbling brook. "I didn't expect you to take my word. You don't know me, so of course you would be cautious. So, instead," he tossed a bag in to her lap that chinked with the familiar sound of coin. "I offer you a down payment. And I will show you the one you're looking for."
Her fingers went immediately to the bag. She unded the cord that held it closed and upended it in to her lap. Coins scattered across her bedroll, gittering in the light of the fire. She counted quickly and came up with thirtf platinum. Xia tried not to drool or look impressed, but she was already calculating how much she could buy with the small fortune in her lap right now. Magic weapons. Maybe magic armor that would protect her more thoroughly and not interfere with her thieving? There was a world of possibilities there in her lap, and it was tempting. She shoved the coins in the bag and looked up at the man. "I'm ready to see him now," she said, keeping her voice level.
He held out his hand toward her, palm up and his fingers at chin level to her. Magic coilde up from his palm, gold and silver and white with stars and steams coming from it. She watched as it formed an oval above his hand about the size of a hand mirror. The oval filled with white light before clearing and showing Xia a room far away. She could tell that it was in a palace of some sort, or at least a very nice house of some kind. The desk that the man in the center of the oval was sitting at was massive and made from wood that looked as though it had been grown in the shape of the piece of furniture. He was hunched over a pile of massive leather bound tomes, wearing the robes of a mage. He had dark black hair that was catching the light of the single candle on the desk, making it look like it was alight in certain spots around his face. His hair was long and braided in to a thick plait, dangling over his shoulder and hanging down to his waist. From the side his face was angular and he looked distressed. His green eyes were focused on his research, and his lips were pressed in a thin line.
Xia did her best not to gasp as she realized that, yes, he really did look just like her. If he were younger, and not a man, they could have been twins. He had the same green eyes, the same qualities to his face and the same nose that she did. His cheekbones were the same as well. The only things that were different between them was that the angle of his eyes and the exotic shape of them was less pronounced than his, and he had the long, pointed ears of a full elf. Her ears were just the slightly elongated and pointed ones of a half elf, because that was all she had inherited from her human mother.
Her hand went to her necklace, her fingers brushing against it as the man in the magic viewing portal looked up suddenly. She just caught a glimpse of a necklace in the shape of a red crescent moon hanging in front of his chest as he looked straight at her through the spell and then it vanished.
Xia wasn't sure when she had put her hand up as though to touch the spell, but now she dropped the hand back to her lap and took a deep breath. He was here. She had seen him at last, and now she could understand so much about what she had gone through, though it still didn't make it any better than it had been. Her heart was aching now. She looked down and got a hold of herself after a moment, then looked back up at the man.
"And that spell can't go through planes, can it? He really is here?"
The man chuckled again. "Of course. I could give you directions to him, as well, once you carry out your end of our bargain. You just have to bring them to me and then you get him. To do whatever you wish with. Even kill, I don't care."
The blood was rushing in her ears, excitement boiling up in her. She was close now, at least she had found the right plane this time. Now that that was done, she just had to get close enough to get to him. And once she did, he would pay. Oh yes, he would pay. She squeezed the crescent moon necklace under her shirt at the thought of whta she would do to him once she got to him.
"Alright," she was agreeing before she had even really thought about it. "You have a deal. Tell me where to bring them and they'll be there. You'd better come through though." She frowned at him and made a serious face that told him she meant what she said. She would be most unhappy if he crossed her.
He reached out and stroked her cheek again, telling her the precise shop to bring them to. "And don't worry. You'll get your chance to deal with him, my dear. Soon you'll have him and you can make him pay."
Xia woke suddenly, laying in her bedroll. The last thing she had remembered from the dream was the man's dark, all encompassing eyes. She had been drowning in them again, and then it was morning and she was sitting up next to Anya as she cooked breakfast. The half elf blinked in confusion, figuring that her conversation with the man had been a dream after all. Just a very vivid, very strange dream.
She went to move, however, and realized that there was a bag of coins in her lap. Xia peeled back the bedroll carefully, looking down an the bag of thirty platinum. Her eyes widened as she stared down at it.
"Everything alright, Xia?"
The thief looked up at Tam, jerking the bedroll back to hide the bag of coins. "Moring, Tam! Yes, everything's wonderful! Just had a strange dream, but I'm okay now!" She giggled and gave the fighter a goofy grin that made the warrior grin and chuckle.
"Alright then, get up and get ready to go. We should get to Selundria by tomorrow morning, so long as we get moving in enough time tonight.
Xia nodded as Tam moved on, then she looked back down at the bag and picked it up, holding it up to her face as she stared wide-eyed. It hadn't been a dream. Not at all. She couldn't explain it, but she had the platinum, didn't she? That man in the spell had really been him. It was really her father. He was here, on Draco-Terramada, and soon she would be with him.
She tucked the bag in to her pack and got up, preparing to leave.