The Bright Children, Chapter 3-2 “Meat and Bone”

“So,” Aphella said, breaking the silence, “what do you think of our town?” “Well,” Frey said, scratching his chin with the blunt end of his fork. “I suppose I appreciate it. Your architecture, the people, the way you talk, and of course your clothes all have an ancient quality to them. I haven’t been out this way in quite some time. It’s nice to see old tastes haven’t changed.” Aphella glared at him, but all he did was smile back. “I’ll have you know-” She began, before being cut off by a raised, gentle hand. “It is a compliment,” Frey…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 3-1, “Meat and Bone”

Chapter 3: Meat and Bone The world was full of beasts. Some walked on four legs, creatures of hoof and paw that were covered with skin or fur, like the snufflers that provided meat for the eating, bone for the crafting, as well as leather and fur for when the cold crept in. Other creatures walked on six, eight, or too many legs to be counted; small creatures of chitin that crept along the ground or hid in shallow water. These were snacks and little more, loved neither for their taste or texture.  There were also creatures with no legs…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 2-4 “Eld of the Light”

The stones over the long cook pit glowed a pale red, sending out radiant heat that tingled Aphella’s face as she sat nearby;  it vanquished the chill of the open square, but also threatened sweat on Aphella’s neck and arms. She watched her father and Talcho, another one of the town’s husbandmen and a butcher, as they walked from end to end of the twenty pace-long pit, laying down and turning over long cuts of meat gleaned from the dreadtusk upon grates of iron. Occasionally one of them would find a cool spot in the stones and breath more heat…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, chapter 2-3 “Eld of the Light”

“Thank you Tyterus,” Zyteus said, looking to his son. Aphella rarely heard Ty’s full name spoken, and usually that was when he was in trouble, never with such a neutral intonation. “It is good to see you well, Aphella,” Warka said, smiling warmly. “I am sorry I could not be quicker out the gate to help you.” She gestured to an empty seat opposite hers, near at hand to the strangers. “Please, have a seat.” Aphella nodded and sat in one of the wrought chairs, leaving two empty between herself and the large, grey-haired dim-man. “We were lucky Frey and…

Continue reading

Bright Children, Chapter 2-2 “Eld of the Light”

They stopped in front of the town meeting hall, an ancient building of carved stone lit with many small crystal lamps and home to the town’s beacon, as well as the central foci. Above the large steel double doors was carved in ornate, flowing letters the name of the town, Twillanya, along with the province it was part of, Bolaya, back when there was an actual kingdom in the east. So long had it been since Twillanya was part of a nation that notions of kingdom and empire were relegated to the realm of folklore and legend, rather than memory.…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 2-1 “Eld of the Light”

Chapter 2: Eld of the Light   “I’m sorry.” Aphella held the butt end of her bone spear in her hands as she sat bent over on the stone entryway bench. The other half of the spear, itself split into two fractured segments, leaned against her thigh, each stained red and sickly green from the blood and bile of the dreadtusk. “Even objects of power are mere objects,” Aphella’s father, Dolmar said. “I would much rather lose the spear than lose you.” He sat himself down beside her, holding a steaming cup of thistle tea in each hand. He handed…

Continue reading

Bright Children, Chapter 1-4 “Dreadtusk”

“I’ve never heard of more than one coming this far upland,” Shaenyll said. She held out her own focus, a long intricately carved piece of ivory with a narrow tip, in the same manner as Hamon. “I know what I hear,” Hamon said. He drew his focus, a square piece of knotted bone terminating in a series of blunted spikes, back and forth, his eyes looking over it at the horizon. “I know what I feel in the lines two. There are more coming. Two. Three?” His throat grated slightly as he inhaled. “Get the livestock inside the walls,” Shaenyll…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 1-3 “Dreadtusk”

Aphella froze. She could feel her heart beating, but everything else on her body seemed locked up, stiff, cold. Never had she encountered a beast of the wild that did not succumb to fire and heat, but the roaring mass of muscle and twisted hide on the other end of the pit was prove fire did not quell all life. The dreadtusk ended its roar and ground its feet into the wet earth of the pit. It shook its head and grunted, then vomited up part of the snuffler it had devoured a scant minute earlier. It appeared as a…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 1-2 “Dreadtusk”

“The elders are up, yes? Go get them,” Aphella said. “It’s a dreadtusk.” She picked up her spear and bent her knees. Softly she began to incant, and the broad bone head of the spear gave off a pale green light. “What?” Ty said. He fumbled with his lantern, nearly dropping it on the rocks, then held it out as if it too were a spear. A roar like a deep, guttural drum shook them. Ripples appeared from the water as if dozens of rocks had been thrown into the pool. On the far side of the pool, the silhouette…

Continue reading

The Bright Children, Chapter 1-1

Chapter 1: Dreadtusk Aphella sat on the rocks, watching the hold’s herd of snufflers amble about in the moss pit. Beyond it was impenetrable, unending darkness. Above, there was nothingness. Behind her, the village was alive with light, though she knew the greater majority of the people there would be sleeping. That light of the village gave only a faint image of the moss pit, and ever Aphella’s gaze fell on the end of that light. The dimness and the loneliness was what made times up on the wall, watching the animals, boring and frightening at the same time. The…

Continue reading