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Author Topic: Child of Spring: Prologue & Chapter 1  (Read 2485 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 03 August 2012, 05:13:23 »

CHILD OF SPRING

This is the story of [Winter] and the Way of Wind and Water. He is one of the Gifted, those rare individuals born with natural magical ability. He has lived the life of a Krean monk since he entered the monastery at age six, but his heart is in Nybelmarasa, the last place in the world where the magic of the Ancient Krean still lives. In a year he will leave [White Mountain], a place which has been home for seventeen years, and make the long journey to the Academy. Here he will learn the ways of magic from the mages of Nybelmarasa as they have been passed from the legendary emperor Dearan Asaen himself. Or so he hopes. It is said that our gifts define us, make us who we are. What would you do if you lost yours and how far would you go to get it back?



Chapter 2 and chapter summaries to follow tomorrow. Hopefully, some time this week, [Winter], the narrator, will find himself a name.


Edit:

CHAPTER SUMMARIES

Chapter 1: The Songs of Wind
In which we meet Winter. Into the peace of the mountain, a new song has come on the Wind.

Chapter 2: Meditating on the Breath
On his way to the monastery, Winter runs into a friend. Why is Orange out of breath and what is he searching for?

Chapter 3: Song of the Family
In which Winter remembers. The two monks discuss the change that looms over White Mountain.

Chapter 4: War and Peace
Winter and Orange disagree about the coming war. Winter is troubled by the change that has come over his friend.



Edit 2: Oh, a teaser - or, I suppose, an easter-egg: Arti's Windsingers will feature in Ch 11. To build up to it, I tried to drop a few subtle (not very buck) hints here and there. (Mainly, here.) A small tribute to one of my favourite concepts/entries on the site. :)
« Last Edit: 10 November 2012, 18:36:17 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 03 August 2012, 05:15:20 »

PROLOGUE

"You are a child of spring, but winter reigns in your heart."

He held my hand between his hands, right thumb pressed against the centre of my palm, drawing absent-minded circles. Then, he turned my palm down and patted my hand gently before he let go.

Now, in all fairness, I am not a man prone to hatred or petty emotion. But there is something particularly provocative about old men on mountaintops, with their back against a tree, the sun on their face, and the sounds of the sea all around, who think they can know the soul of a man they have never met, and pronounce it in twelve words.

There is more to a soul than meets the eye. I refuse to believe that an entire life can be captured in one sentence. Our memories, our dreams, our stories, our sense of self - can they be squeezed into a sentence, distilled into metaphor and stored in an aphorism? There is more to me than twelve words.

"Mmm." I said, stubbornly noncommittal.
« Last Edit: 06 September 2012, 04:46:05 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #2 on: 03 August 2012, 05:20:52 »

CHAPTER 1
The Songs of Wind

I sat in the near dark beneath the hawthorn tree and slowly rose to the waking world. Though my eyes were closed, I could see the mountain around me, and the valleys beneath, transformed in the beneficent presence of the early morning wind. I opened my eyes and traced the lines of my palms. The day had drawn only a pale wash of light to the east. Perhaps it was not the wind but the quality of the light, in those hours between Shadowleave and Firstflame, when the distinction between sky and water becomes uncertain, when the whole of space becomes opalescent in a sort of pearly, luminous grey. I let my gaze settle back on my hands and traced the lines again, backwards. When I was satisfied that I had not awoken into a dream, I turned my attention outward.

The roosters had been crowing for some time and the early squirrels would soon begin their ceaseless turning of twigs and bits of wood to see whether anything to eat had been overlooked.

Resting my mind on the out-breath, I began to peel the sounds of the mountain: the rush of the stream... a branch crackling a ped or so above my head and the sudden flutter of birds taking off... a distant howling somewhere to my left and the answering calls from the other peaks... the wind greeting the trees in a sweeping arc across the valley below and the rustling response of the canopy... I sat there and the world peeled away until I finally heard the little splash of morning waves on the beach, at the foot of the mountains and beyond.

The dawn came quickly now, a wash, a glow, a lightness and then an explosion of fire as the sun arose out of the sea. The wind stirred and brought the rich smell of soil and pine. A wolf cub came close, and at a soft word from the wind, curled up, arranged its tail neatly over its feet, and laid its chin delicately on its paws. And all around the wind sang the Song of the Mountain. It was a morning like other mornings and yet perfect among mornings.

I watched the baby wolf for a moment, and then my eyes went up to a flock of wild geese heading inland to the heart of the mountains. The world was awake now, and I rose and stretched and moved through Flowing Water, Short Form.

When I finished, my eye caught on an ant and its mighty struggle. It had loaded its package on a leaf and was furiously paddling across a generous pool of rain water with its front feet. It had paddled a palmspan or so when the breeze picked up and pushed the leaf back to the shore. The ant made another start, but the breeze shifted and the leaf began whirling around in wild circles. Clever paddling in the opposite direction gradually stilled the leafy boat. After a studious effort the ant managed to cross halfway across but the breeze drove it all the way back again.

Standing there I thought of the opening lines of the Book of the Sea:

Great Friend
be kind to me...
The sea is so wide,
and my boat so small.


I scooped the leaf gently out of the water and carried it across.

***

The wind shifted and a new song had come in the wind. It spoke of timber and resin and the beating of drums. Of a forest on the sea. It was a song of war.

In an hour the ships would be spotted from Cape Cloud. A few hours after that, perhaps after Lighthrive, they would reach the skerries around the Port of Nor. The fleet would make landfall by Sunreign. Death would come today and stain sand and surf. Pointless, the wars of Men.

A fish splashed in the water, dove back again and was gone. The stream is strong here, at the source of his waters. It calms as it winds across the mountain and follows the lay of the land, bending where it bends, rising where it rises. Somewhere in the distance, gently now, it flows through the monastery.

My mind went to Master Kao for a moment, and wondered where he was. An answer came from the stream, somewhat apologetically:

I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said, 'The master's gone alone
Herb-picking somewhere on the mount,
Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown.'


Of course. He too had heard the wind, and long before I did. I listened to the wind again, to the Song of the Forest on the Sea. Beyond it I heard another song, far, far away. It was a song of the East. The Song of the Sea Witch. The Song of Aca Santerra.

But what froze my blood was the song I did not hear: the Song of Essalui Thareliath.

My robes had caught the wind, the cloth billowing in the air, dancing in wide arcs to my right. Every now and again I would feel it tugging, now gently, now more insistently, against my neck, against my torso, against the left side of my body where it circumnavigated the waist and flowed around my back.

I threw the shawl over my left shoulder and headed towards the monastery.
« Last Edit: 06 September 2012, 04:46:23 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #3 on: 03 August 2012, 05:27:01 »

Easter Eggs

  • SEARCHING FOR THE HERMIT IN VAIN

    I asked the boy beneath the pines.
    He said, "The master's gone alone
    Herb-picking somewhere on the mount,
    Cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown."

    Chia Tao (777-841)
    Trans. Lin Yutang
  • Chapter 2: "Everything flows" - from the Greek "Panta Rhei". Simplicius summarising Heraclitus's philosophy.

« Last Edit: 12 August 2012, 00:03:38 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #4 on: 03 August 2012, 05:47:18 »

*waiting patiently for more*
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #5 on: 03 August 2012, 06:33:13 »

Library teaser and Ch 1 just posted. Ch 2 and chapter summaries to follow tomorrow. :)
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #6 on: 11 August 2012, 00:35:28 »

Finally I've managed to begin reading Child of Spring. I'm planning to read your text chapter by tiny chapter: a morsel of goodness a day, as it were!

Anyway, aura from me - it's a great start! I enjoyed the prologue: I like a text that throws me right into the waters of its world, and lets me learn to swim by myself - and that's brilliantly and wittily achieved here. Chapter 1 strikes me as a deft piece of characterization: The most important things are said between the lines, and the reader has to look and listen and think. I'm impressed!

I have one stylistic suggestion, which you should of course feel free to ignore. In the prologue, I wonder if you can leave out a paragraph and thereby achieve an even more striking effect:

Quote
Now, in all fairness, I am not a man prone to hatred or petty emotion. But there is something particularly provocative about old men on mountaintops, with their back against a tree, the sun on their face, and the sounds of the sea all around, who think they can know the soul of a man they have never met, and pronounce it in twelve words.

"Mmm." I said, stubbornly noncommittal.

Methinks that says everything you need to say? The extra paragraph isn't bad at all in itself, but methinks it repeats the thought you've already expressed (and also contains some word repetition, by the way); and insofar as it elaborates, it says nothing that the reader could not work out by himself or herself. No?

Anyway, whatever you think about that point: Well done, and I'll continue my journey through the chapters soon!
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #7 on: 11 August 2012, 00:36:11 »

PS: Good to have you and your writing back on the Development Board!
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #8 on: 11 August 2012, 03:12:39 »

Shabakuk! Great to hear from you! You inspire me with your lavish praise - but above all, with your ever-present kindness, with the skill with which you put together your comments and express your appreciation others' work.

Wow. You are such an astute reader. And your analysis is incisive as always. Re the prologue: I've read  it over again and you are absolutely right.

Do let me know if anything else comes to mind as you progress through the chapters. The text will be much better for it.

Heart-felt thanks!


EDIT: Oh - and a teaser: The prologue is kind of the beginning of Act 2. ;)
« Last Edit: 11 August 2012, 03:18:52 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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