I Am A Writer

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Author’s Note: The assignment was to write a Shakespearean sonnet poem, meaning 14 lines, with 10 syllables per line. I was told others had written their poems about their love for their significant other, their passion for doughnuts, or even their hate for poetry itself. I wrote the only thing that came naturally to me 🙂 

 

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And just in case you can’t read the mess that is my handwriting, here it is in print 🙂

 

“I was born a writer inside my blood

For deep within my soul these words have slept

In my brain a story begins to bud

Begging to be heard, listened to, and kept.

The pen flies madly across the paper

Too many thoughts and not near enough time

Although my motivation may soon taper

It is no excuse; instead it is crime.

My character’s story will soon be heard

Their journey splattered across this blank page

Out of the nothing this conflict was stirred

This literature of mine has no age.

For once a story is written, it’s true

Its lessons stain your skin like a tattoo.”

All the King’s Horses pt. 2

Author’s Note: I don’t know that this is the scene that follows right after the first part I posted, but it’s pretty soon after, and this scene is important to Xylia’s anxiety in part one. 

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Twelve men gather around a circular table in the massive stone castle, their cheers and laughter echoing off the walls. Vintage wine bottles are exchanged and poured, and plates of food are passed around. The men are dressed quite eloquently, with velvet tunics, jewel encrusted belt buckles, and shiny, metal plated boots, contrasting the dreary scenery of the room around them.

Rickensold smiles from the shadows of the doorway, pleased that all the Guild Masters have shown up early as always. Well, he surmises to himself, almost all the Guild Masters. He looks around, searching for a very specific, very female face. She’s his strongest Master, but definitely with a spirit all her own. She cannot be controlled, especially not by her male counterparts, and that’s why Rickensold likes her. She’s an invaluable asset, both on and off the field.

He pushes his shoulder off the wall and dusts his black leather vest, deciding she will show up when she’s ready, and not a moment sooner. The sunlight hits his face as Rickensold enters the room, accentuating the fine dusting of glitter one of his servants has powdered on his face, and the room erupts into applause at the entrance of their Guild King. He crosses the room with confident strides and a radiant smile before settling himself into one of the thirteen identical chairs around the table. The Guild Masters follow suit.

“My brothers!” Rickensold begins as the applause subside. He neglects the sensual, “my sister” he’d normally offer the woman.

The men respond with a chorus of “Your Grace,” “Your Honor,” “Your Excellency,” “Milord,” and other royalty worthy formalities, and Rickensold stifles his snicker. He is no king; he’s got not one drop of royal blood in his muscled body, and yet over the course of seven years, he’s got the Bandit Towns convinced of his reign.

“You’re all looking well,” he coos, folding his hands and baring his brilliant white teeth in an innocent, friendly smile. “I bring tidings- the gift of good news.” The men answer with raised glasses and toasts. “But first!” he cuts them off with a raised hand. “Status report.” He gestures left, indicating the short, stout man with a mop of curly hair.

The man folds his arms gingerly across his chest. “My men in eastern Andermar are seeking out a new hunting grounds as we speak, My Lord,” he begins, his nasally voice filling the room. “The small village by the name of Craigenfare rumored to hide a secret treasure proved to be no more than a cupboard of wooden relics from a few decades past.”

“Not valuable?” Rickensold asks.

“Not enough, My Lord,” he answers.

“Very well.” He nods at the next man in line, a tall, burly man with a shaved head to show off the rippled scar along his skull. “Master Morlond, what news from the Gate?”

Master Morlond gulps a swallow of wine, sighing in satisfaction, before speaking. “We’ve found seventy six more recruits, Your Grace. Given six months for training, they’ll be fine additions to any guild of your choice.”

Rickensold leans back in his seat, setting his hands in his lap. “Tell me,” he asks. “Where did these recruits come from?”

Morlond points across the table at a large man with a sizable black beard, a different colored ring on every finger. “Courtesy of Master Calt, Your Grace. The Black Claw reclaimed Yenden from those tyrant Witch Men; I simply scooped up the stragglers.”

Rickensold considers this for a moment. The Witch Men are powerful, with half of their strength in their numbers. They spread themselves far and wide to ensure that if some of them are discovered, not all of them are captured. Their network is expansive, and they are one of the few groups that Rickensold fears, regardless of their ridiculous outfits. He licks his lips, maintaining an emotionless expression. Master Calt may have done a thorough job with Yenden, but if Master Morlond happened to scoop up any of the wizards, the entire castle- nay, the entire kingdom- was in for a world of hurt.

“I’d like to see these new recruits with my own eyes at the closure of this gathering,” he says smoothly, covering his anxiety with a coy smile.

“As you wish, Your Grace.” Master Morlond acknowledges.

The cycle then continues as each man relays what information they can to each other and their king. A stocky man with a nicely trimmed beard tells of success in negotiations with the Slox Tribe; A lanky, balding man missing two fingers brags victory in a death competition, his prize being a village to add to the vast collection of Bandit Towns. One by one, every man speaks until conversation returns to what Rickensold offers.

Rickensold forces his fear for the Witch Men to the back of his mind and cracks his knuckles, slowly pushing himself to a stand. He paces his band of followers, barely containing his outrageous cockiness as every eye follows him. He may have began his rule with intimidation, taking superiority by striking fear in the hearts of those around him, but he quickly learned that love is a much more dangerous attachment. A man who loves his king will die for his king, and men who will die for him is what he desires.

“My brothers.” He keeps his voice low, serious. “Long have we waited for the day we’d be accepted by other kingdoms. Long have we suffered the enduring pain of expanding our kingdom through mediocre methods, struggling to trade and negotiate because we have been deemed not credible. Long have we had our rivalry,” he pauses, waiting for the suspense to build. “Our rivalry… with The Holy Brotherhood.” The collective stifled gasp that erupts from the small crowd makes Rickensold’s heart glow, his chest expand with anticipation.

“My brothers. I have found them.”

The men roar. They stand and pound on their chests like animals, banging their cups together and screaming obscenities at the top of their lungs. The Holy Brotherhood has stood in the Bandit’s way for years now, preventing their guilds from expanding west, killing their men whenever they get the chance. They’ve waited a long time to find them, and finally, Rickensold has them headed exactly where he wants them. Durmark.

“Today, we rest,” he tells his men. “For tomorrow, we ride west.” He picks up his wine glass, the fine red liquid making his mouth water. He holds his cup high. “To war!”

The men scream gleefully in return, chanting in ecstasy.

“TO WAR!”

Dying

There’s a million ways to die, but what scares people about death is that nobody actually knows what it feels like until it happens to them.

The thing is though, most people only die once. Maybe twice if they’re lucky enough- or unlucky enough- to be resuscitated the first time. But that’s only if they don’t die of old age or other natural causes. 

 Personally, I have yet to die of old age. He won’t let me go that easily. I’ve died 87 times, 87 different ways. Car accident, heart attack, drowning, asphyxiation- you name it, I’ve died it.

But he won’t let me die of old age. 

And I can’t figure out why for the life of me. 

I Am Angry

Author’s Note: This is not an excerpt. This is not a writing piece that I would usually post here. This is me. Real, raw, unedited, me. 

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I am angry.

Constantly. Every waking second of every day I am angry. At myself. At others. At no one in particular. I am always angry.

But today I am angry with good reason.

I am a senior in high school. I am a person who tries to earn the respect of others instead of demanding it. I am a girl who writes instead of cutting. I am a human, though sometimes I am a poor excuse for one. I have a job. I can drive a manual. I cook and clean and take care of the house that I live in because it is needed, not because it is asked of me. I am a young woman striving for the next part of her life, a better, more stable, part of her life.

I am also treated like a child.

At 17 years old, I have to ask permission to go to speak. To go to the bathroom. To call my mother. To take a step outside to calm my anxiety attack.

At 17 years old, I am looked down upon by adults not because I am short (though I’m told every day that I am) but because they find me naive. Uneducated. Immature. Irresponsible. Helpless. Mentally and emotionally handicapped.

At 17 years old, I am a prisoner.

I am more than the numbers on my report card. I am more than the number of loads of dishes I’ve done today. I am more than a girl with a head full of fantasies (though, being a writer, I have a lot of those).

I am smart. I am brave. I am defiant when it is called for. I am determined.

And yet I am treated as though I am nothing more than a shadow. A stranger in a room full of friends. A wildflower in a field of roses.

Worse yet, I am treated like a criminal.

“Teenagers can’t be trusted!” I’m told.

“Kids your age are reckless!” they say.

“Wait until you get out in the real world.”

“You’re too young to understand.”

“You don’t know what’s best for you; ask an adult for help.”

I am suffocated by stifled creativity and lack of real guidance. I am smothered by rules and regulations and consequences when I don’t measure up to perfection. I am prevented from happiness because I am drowning in responsibilities without being allowed privileges. I am dying.

My opinions are devalued on a daily basis because what I think doesn’t align with what you think, and for some reason that makes me wrong. More than that, it decreases my credibility. If I’m wrong one time, I’m wrong every time.

Welcome to the life of a teenager.

What would adulthood be without having to recover from the teen years?

But hear me.

Please.

Hear me.

This is not the life I want to live. This is not the life I want to remember.

I want to be trusted. I’ve earned that much. I’ve made some bad decisions and caused some trouble, but nothing worth this cruel, enduring punishment I live through day in and day out. I want to be allowed to grow up.

Please let me grow up.

Please see my side. Please understand that I have the best of intentions. Please stop punishing me for what I cannot control. I am not others, and others are not me. Please try to understand how I feel.

Because I think if you were me…

You’d be angry too.

Broken 

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And she’ll lay down at night and wait for everyone to go to sleep, wait for the silence to feel heavier than her broken heart, and then she’ll cry. She’ll cry for every opportunity she had to say something and didn’t, for every time she denied herself and lost what she wanted in the end. She’ll cry until her throat is hoarse and her body is sore.

And then she’ll make herself some coffee, get ready for school, and face the world like she possesses the power of gods. She’ll smile at the one who broke her so he won’t know how damaged he made her, and she’ll maintain the courage to fight back the tears when they spring to her eyes at the mere thought of him and what they could have been. She’ll drive him home that afternoon and watch him disappear into a tiny speck in her rearview mirror, and she’ll punch the steering wheel and scream in agony and frustration and lust. She’ll compose herself in the driveway and walk into the house to tell her father she got stuck in traffic instead of in her emotions.

And then she’ll lay down that night. Wait for everyone to go to bed. For the silence to be heavier than her broken heart. And she’ll cry. For tearing herself apart inside with a vision of something that will never exist. For stoking the flames of a false hope just because it keeps her from the brink of insanity. She’ll cry until she’s dehydrated and exhausted. And then she’ll shower, wash away the guilt and the shame and the salt. And she’ll go to school to face him once again. And he’ll never realize what he did to her because she’ll smile at him. And she’ll hold back the emotions with a battered flood gate. Hold them back… just a little longer….

And she’ll lay down that night. Wait for everyone to go to sleep. For the silence to be heavier than her broken heart. And she’ll stare at the ceiling because she’s too far gone to cry, lost between a girlish fantasy of love and the cold reality of isolation. And she’ll get up to drive to school. And her hands will go numb as they press the gun into her temple. Click. Bang. Crash.

She’ll be lowered to her final bed that night. Black tie affair. A closed casket. And he’ll be there. Oh yes, he will be there. Because no, he didn’t know he broke her. But he understood all too well.

Because he was broken too.

Nevermore

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“I love you.” he chokes out, tears streaming uninhibited down his face. He shivers, then wraps his arms around himself to brace against the cold. She always told him he needed to wear a jacket. “I’ve never loved anything more in my entire life.” 

She can only look back at him and smile, the light not quite reaching her eyes- it never does anymore. Her hand grips the open door of her truck, and her fingertips turn a ghostly white. “I’m sorry,” she says after long a pause, her voice barely audible over the distance between them, “but I don’t feel anything anymore.” 

All the King’s Horses pt. 1

Author’s Note: ALL FEEDBACK WELCOMED. I’m thinking this is the beginning of a book that I’ve had in mind for a while now, but I’m not sure if I’ve found the hook the story deserves. Also, this is my first time trying my luck with fantasy writing, so any advice you can give me is welcomed and appreciated. I hope you enjoy! 

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I reposition my leg underneath me in the uncomfortable chair of the inn. 5 of my guild members are strewn about the room, three in beds, two on the floor. I’d ordered them to bed earlier after a six-hour trek from Landercross, and not a one of them complained.

I unwrap the red stained bandage from my shoulder to peek at the wound underneath, and it oozes fresh blood from the lack of pressure. I need to rebandage it- my makeshift, on the road doctoring of the hole was just a half-assed effort to not bleed out since our destination was still three hours out. Sighing, I force my leaden legs to hold my weight, and I shuffle to my bag, rifling through the contents for a new roll of gauze and tape. A half empty bottle of pills tumbles from my grip before I can grab it and it lands on the floor loudly. I grimace, waiting for the response of any or all of my people to react, but none of them does. I release a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding and stoop to pick it up, returning to my chair to finish what I started.

Ten minutes pass and I find I’m still struggling to make the bandage stay where I need it to. I feel nauseous from exerting my injured arm and from blood loss -although this is nothing compared to what happened last spring- and I drop the supplies into my lap, defeated. I lean my head backwards to prop against the wall and close my eyes, listening to the sounds of breathing around me. Talor’s snoring is soft, but deep, as usual. Adeline breathes noisily through her mouth- she’d caught wind of a cold on the way here and her nose has been clogged ever since. Ryver is sprawled on her back in the corner, her dagger held firmly against her chest in her sleeping hand. She makes no sound when she sleeps, which is unnerving, and some nights I check to see if she’s even still alive. Thix lays on his side on the opposite side of the room with the blanket pulled up to his chin, his even breaths creating the effect of a metronome, combining everyone’s unique sounds into a strange but intricate harmony. Adie offered Thix her bed, but he prefers the floor. I can’t understand how. I listen carefully for the last sound I’m looking for, but when I find it, it sounds irregular, definitely not how he sounds when he sleeps.

I crack one eye open and gaze around the room, having forgotten which bed he took. I find him on the one nearest to me, his eyes open slightly as he stares back at me. I open my other eye and lift my head to look at him head on, and my brow creases. “Did I wake you?” I say quietly.

He shakes his head and sits up, planting his bare feet firmly on the ground. Now his eyes don’t quite meet mine, instead flitting from my hands to my shoulder and back again. My heart clenches as I realize; he’s had another nightmare.

Eight years ago I was passing through his city on a leisure trip when a horde of bandits attacked the town, stealing and slaughtering and setting fire to every last building in sight. In the chaos I stumbled into a run down shack where I found him huddled in the corner with an arrow held defensively in his hand, trails of blood running from his mouth and nose. I’d thrown my hands into the air and kicked the door shut behind me. “I’m not a Ric.” I’d told him breathlessly. “My name is Xylia, and I can help you if you let me.” Together we’d fled the city to the nearest mountain, and atop the highest slope we’d watched his village turn to ash. Since that day, I’d never seen him cry for the loss of his people, but the nightmares from the incident have never left him.

A weakly whispered, “Are you okay, Lox?” escapes my mouth.

“I will be.” he answers gruffly, wiping a hand over his face.

He pushes himself to his feet and trudges over to me. He doesn’t say anything else, only picks up the bandages from my lap and begins the patchwork himself. I stare at the group around me as he dresses my shoulder, mulling over the information for our next gig. As far as I know, it’s a routine protection detail for a group of women. Faowind, my messenger bird, brought me news that we were to meet the women in Durmark by the second Sunday of the new month. The small strip of paper coiled in the falcon’s talon bore no signature, though it did detail a hefty sum of coin for successful completion of our duties.

I must’ve made a face, because Lox grips me under my chin and forces our eyes to meet. “Take your mind off work.”

I pull my face from his hand. “I worry for them.” I admit, glancing at our sleeping friends. “We’ve got a week to travel the last 84 miles. I hate to put that strain on them after pushing them so hard in Saeben.” Three weeks ago, the entire guild had taken it upon ourselves to cleanse Saeben, the port town of Andermar, of orcs, and, despite the extensive research and seemingly foolproof plan, the operation went awry. Kip broke her ankle, Morla lost a finger, and Alixa, having had a near fatal encounter due to a misstep in battle, left the guild. She left behind a note that told how, in the seconds that she thought she was going to die, she’d seen before her eyes all of the things that she had yet to do in her life, and that those dreams and aspirations needed to be fulfilled before she came face to face with death again. That battle damaged all of us worse than just the wounds we wore on our flesh. It destroyed our pride, our guild spirit, and our stash of supplies in one blow.

“They knew what they signed up for when they swore their oath.” Lox answers simply, taping the corner of gauze to my skin and dropping into the chair across from me. “Have faith.”

I sigh in agreeance and lower my eyes from his, trying to be discreet as I admire his impeccable posture for the fifteen-thousandth time. He sits straight-backed, his collar bones protruding from the skin like sharpened blades under his loose, faded blue tunic. He’s quite attractive, and I sometimes wonder why he’s not acquired the attention of women from every new town we venture to. If I were romantically interested in him, I would wed him, but after everything we’ve been through together, this man is my brother, and I his sister, not just in arms, but in fire and blood. We’d have it no different.

“Rest.” Lox orders quietly, pointing at the bed he just stood up from.

I shake my head. “You’ve only had a few hours.”

“I’ve had enough, and you’ve had none. Bed.”

I press my lips together. Lox is definitely not a force to reckon with, and I know I can’t out-argue him. I push myself up with leaden legs once again and climb into his bed, still warm from where he’d slept. I flip the pillow to the cold side, pull the blanket up to my shoulder blades, and concentrate on the sounds of breathing around me.