Guys it was the first day of NaNoWriMo! So my plan is to post what I write each day with the word count at the bottom. I hope to also do a short video each day talking about my feelings about that day of writing. So my story has a tentative title, it may change. Let me introduce you to “A Forest in Flames”
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Tall forest pine and thick oaks, trunks thick and hearty surround the stone walls of the town in a half-moon. Tall mountain peaks surround the forest behind the town, layering the town as if it were the earth’s crust. The sun began to rise, beginning its ascent to the sky.
It was 5 o’clock in the morning and Dara stood on the balcony outside her room, leaning against the wall, little sparkles of fire twinkled around her as she breathed in the cool air, her breath coloring the air in a faint shade of grey. A knock was heard on her door she turned and walked back inside and headed towards the door. Opening it just a crack, she peaked through the opening, a tall woman with long, straight blond hair clothed in a long billowy white robe with a gold chain around her middle floated in front of her.
“Good morning Dara. I thought I would stop by and say hi.”
“Morning Lywyn, come in before someone else walks by and sees me in my dressing gown.”
Lywyn chuckled at her friend. Smiling she followed her friend inside to her room, instantly feeling at home. Although Dara came across as prickly and fiery, she had the most comforting and calming feeling rooms in the whole temple. She took a seat next to her friend by the roaring fireplace. The contrast of the warm fire with the cool morning breeze filtering in from the open door made Lywyn shake her head at how much it reminded her of her friend’s personality.
“So. . . Dara how are you feeling this morning?” Lywyn asked her friend, wondering how long it would take to pry out her true feelings. She knew Dara was feeling some emotion strongly, if the tiny sparkling fires floating around her were any indication. She would say it was nervousness.
Dara sighed, shoulders sagging and her eyes seemingly to be staring into the fiery abyss of the fireplace. She stayed like that for several minutes before responding.
“Since I know you well enough to know you will keep bugging me until I say exactly how I feel here it goes. I’m nervous Lywyn. I’m scared. I don’t know why this is happening. I went and saw the Scryers, and if they are correct and I’m actually chosen, I don’t know what I am going to do. I know it’s about who the magic chooses, but I don’t know why it would choose me. Why didn’t someone say something when I was nominated.? Why didn’t someone tell them it can’t be right?”
Lywyn reached over and grabbed her friend’s hand, forcing Dara to look at her. Squeezing Dara’s hand she thought back to the week before. The nomination ceremony for the High Priestess position. All priests and priestess must attend, because that position may turn into the position of the High Priest, it just hadn’t happened yet in 500 years. No one had said anything when Dara was nominated. To be honest, it was most likely because everyone was shocked. She was the youngest person to ever be nominated and probably the least likely person to do the job.
“Oh Dara, I’m sorry. I will say, I appreciate when I don’t have to metaphorically beat out an honest answer out of you. So, thanks for telling me on your own. I swear the only emotion you show to people is anger and occasionally if we’re lucky, some laughter. I’m so proud of you.” said Lywyn, her eyes twinkling with mirth. Dara rolled her eyes at her friend.
“But, in all seriousness, even if someone wanted to say something Dara, you know we can’t question the nominations, just like we can’t question who is actually chosen.” replied Lywyn
“I know, but that doesn’t change how I feel. I feel fire in my belly and it isn’t the good kind. I have never been more nervous or scared in my life.”
Tiny little tears began to run down Dara’s face. Lywyn eyed her friend. Her long, thick, and very curly raven colored hair was alight with a red glow, her black eyes were red and puffy. One thing was for sure, Dara did not pull of the still looking beautiful while crying at all. She squeezed Dara’s hand and as she did, the tears that had been trickling down her face started to pour down in streams and her shoulders shook as she sobbed quietly. Lywyn got off the chair and wrapped her friend in a big hug, holding her close while the sobs, so silent, wracked her thin frame.
“Oh Dara. Just let it all out dear, it’s okay to cry. Just let it out and let it go.”
Dara continued to sob for several more minutes. Lywyn wondered if it were possible that there was any water left in her, although she had a feeling Dara did not do this very often. Who knows how long she had been pent up and needed a good cry. As Dara began to sniffle, Lywyn gently rubbed her back, small little circles aimed at soothing her friend. Slowing taking the cool breeze of the morning and filtering it towards her friend, cocooning her in a cool breeze. Dara began to breathe deeply and Lywyn knew she had fallen asleep. Standing up, she levitated her friend to her bed and tucked her in.
“Rest dear. I will be back later on to help you get ready. I’ll bring Kali with me.”
Dara didn’t make a sound. The crying had completely knocked her out. Lywyn smiled sadly as she looked at her friend. They had been through so much together and they potentially would be going to be entering a new chapter of their lives. Moving some of her curls away from her eyes she leaned down and kissed the top of her head. Standing back up she walked towards the door, opening it, she walked out, closing the door softly behind her, even though she knew the sound wouldn’t wake up her friend.
An hour and a half later, Lywyn was back outside Dara’s door but this time she had Kali with her. The Priestess always seemed to be filled with hidden energy and never seemed bothered by Dara’s seeming prickliness like others were. Her bubbly personality and ability to carry on a conversation for hours on end almost seemed you were seeing a babbling brook. Softly opening the door they walked into the room and closed the door behind them. Walking over to the bed, they saw Dara tossing and turning. Fire crackled around her and her frequently untamable hair was standing out on end. Ever so gently Lywyn reached out and gently touched Dara’s shoulder. The young woman shot up in the bed so fast, it was as if she had been hit with lightening. Her eyes were wild and unfocused. Lywyn knew she would have to tread carefully as her friend may not be out of her nightmare.
“Dara dear. It’s okay. It’s Lywyn and Kali. Everything is going to be okay. Just take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay.” Lywyn spoke very gently as she ever so slightly wove an invisible air barrier around Kali and herself. If Dara was not able to come out of her nightmare they needed to be protected. Dara’s magic if not controlled could be very destructive. Although, in retrospect, even when controlled it was very destructive. She was the epitome of a battle mage. Although, the term of mage was no frequently used, as they preferred the term elementalist as their magic only dealt with an elements versus other forms of magic. Lywyn turned slightly to look at Kali. The older woman had a look of concentration on her face. At least Kali knew the precariousness of their situation but also realized that staying calm was tantamount to succeeding in getting Dara calm. As the two women stood there, only making slow and gentle movements the crackling flames around Dara began to intensify, they seemed to expand and grow brighter and brighter. Suddenly they expanded so suddenly and exploded before rushing back towards Dara. The two women were pushed back slightly and Dara’s eyes opened wide. She took in several gulps of air, looking around terrified. When her eyes fell on the two woman, her eyes grew wider and large drops fell from her eyes. Lywyn hurriedly disabled the barrier and the two women rushed over to Dara, wrapping their arms around her. Rubbing small circles on her back and talking as soothingly as they could, they tried to calm her down so they could find out what happened. Her sobs turned into sniffles, her eyes red once again, her face blotchy and streaked with reddish welts.
“I’m so sorry. Are you both okay? I didn’t hurt you did I?” Dara said, trying to see if she had hurt them, worry etched into her brow.
Kali batted her hands away. Giving her a stern look. The woman was not much older than them, but she sure could make them feel like small children who had disappointed their parents.
“Now you listen here young lady. We are both fine. We are worried about you though. Are you alright?” Kali asked, eyeing the younger woman with concern. Dara shook her head.
“No, I’m not, but I am going to have to be aren’t I?”
“Well, technically yes, but, taking care of yourself is most important. The elders will understand.” Lywyn popped in. Worry for her friend causing her to say things she knew weren’t quite true.
“I think your worry for me is making you delusional as usual Lywyn.” Dara replied with a small smile.
Lywyn wrinkled her nose, causing Dara and Kali to chuckle at her. Lywyn always had very expressive facial reactions. Lywyn rolled her eyes, shaking her head.
“Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want. You’ll thank me for my optimism later.”
Dara and Kali looked at each other and snorted with laughter. Lywyn glared at her friends which only made them chuckle more.
“Anyways, if you two are done laughing, we need to get you ready Dara.”
Dara sighed, nodding her head in agreement.
“I know. I was hoping you had forgotten and maybe I really could avoid this whole thing.”
Kali and Lywyn smiled sadly at her. Kali hadn’t been friends with Dara as long as Lywyn had, getting close to the the Fire Elementalist was an adventure all its own, but she considered the girl like a younger sister and knew this ceremony was the last thing Dara could ever want. The rumors going around were not helping. Even though everyone at the temple was considered family, some of the newer people did not understand Dara and didn’t understand that being nominated for the position as High Priestess was never in Dara’s plan. Being the High Priestess was essentially the leader of the Temple. That sort of responsibility was never in the younger woman’s purview.
“Alright, let’s just get this over with. If I’m lucky, all this hassle will be for nothing.”
Kali hid her face as she was not so sure. The fact the young woman had been nominated in their first place made her feel that her friend was going to get chosen.
Kali watched as Lywyn began to help Dara plait her hair into a fish-tail braid. Dara never could figure out how to do it on her own. Walking over to them, Kali grabbed Dara’s deep red robe from off the hook and handed it to her. Smiling in thanks, Dara took off her dressing gown and pulled the robe over her head, she grabbed the gold chain that was lying next to her and tied it around her waist.
“So. . . do I look okay?”
“You look just fine Dara,” replied Lywyn smiling at her friend.
Dara smiled shyly at her two friends. Even after all the time she had known Lywyn and even Kali, it was still difficult to express certain things verbally, but it was something she was working on. Taking a deep breath, it sure seemed like she was doing that a lot today.
“Thank you, both you. I know I have been more of a handful than normal, but I really do appreciate you being there for me. I don’t know what state I would be in if it wasn’t for you both and as much as I don’t want to go, I know I need to and I need to be at my best.”
Lywyn and Kali both wrapped their arms around Dara, and squeezing her tight.
“You’re welcome Dara. Always.” said Kali smiling at her friend. Wishing she could take some of the worry and stress away.
“Of course Dara. That’s what friends are for. Through thick and thin. After everything we’ve been through, we would not even think of abandoning you today.” said Lywyn, her voice strong and unwavering.
“Well, thank you again. You both are going to make me cry if you keep going. Let’s get going. I want to get this done and over with.” said Dara, standing rigidly, her eyes narrowing and her brow furrowed.
No matter what happens. Even if I am chosen. I know I have these two to support me and be there for me. Dara thought to herself. The trio left the room and heading to the main part of the temple. All three of them deep in thought and worried about what was going to happen once they arrived in the Summoning Room. Hoping against all hope that their fears would not be realized.
Word Count: 2,274