Introduction & NaNoWriMo Chapter 1

Intro: Hello, I am beach, and I am new here! I have heard great things about this community, and have been meaning to integrate for a while. With NaNoWriMo upon us, I decided to take the opportunity to give myself a kick in the bum and finally actually write a story that has been taking up an incredible amount of space in my head for years.

Disclaimer: In the spirit of NaNoWriMo I am primarily free writing. All names are temporary placeholders or simple explanations of concepts, and there has been no editing beyond a simple spell check. Who knows if this draft will ever amount to anything, but it has been fun to write so far!

Story Words: 1,275


Two men stood in a small, dark room in the depths of a remote citadel, high in boundary mountains. Only one of them would be leaving this room, and only one of them knew it.

On a table between them sat an odd-looking object, about the size of a human head. It was, evidently, a crudely wrought metallic ball, though both men had a hard time believing so much metal could exist in one place, and of such pure quality.

“You have tested it… thoroughly?” asked the man who was standing closest to the door.

“I have, I can guarantee you it will work. Just be sure no one important is around when it does.”

The first man strode toward the egglike thing and reached his hand out to touch it, causing the other man to jerk in tense anticipation. When the first man’s hand rested on the cool metallic surface and nothing happened, he relaxed.

“Pity it's so small,” The first man remarked, causing his counterpart to cower.

“You, you do understand how it is grown, no? We didn’t make it any bigger than it had to be.”

“Had to be? Ha! I didn’t expect you of all people to want to put a limit on science.” the first man barked a laugh.

“There should be a limit on all things, power especially. This is sufficiently large enough to keep us safe should we lose the pass this winter.”

“Don’t worry my good friend, we won’t lose the pass this year, or ever. You have made sure of that”

The first man turned abruptly and stepped out of the room. Two men with ironwood pikes stepped in right after.

Realization dawned on the man and he lunged for the orangeish metallic object. He was too slow, however, and one of the men's spears pierced his shoulder, pinning him to the dark wood of the table.

A second blow caused his sight to darken. He released his intent from his flesh and remembered too late that it was in vain.

Chapter 1:

No vessels were allowed to leave the port this morning, they were all on lockdown. Or at least those were the orders that he’s been given when he’d picked up the last of the outbound mail.

At this rate, Weeks would never make the channel on time– even he had to leave before sunrise to make it that far north in one day. By now the first beams were already beginning to chalk the calm slate water in their pastel glow. It made him anxious, feeling the world’s vague consciousness awake around him, when he himself was tied to the dock, not even bobbing on waves.

Of course, the true source of his anxiety wasn’t the light at all, but the dark set of masts and sails that pierced the heart of the morning. A ship from Grandalia, the largest that their engineers had been able to produce. He couldn't make out the impressive details through the fog, but he had seen them up close on his postal routes. Immense timbers from where the jungle met the mountains were held together by a complex lattice of pins and weaves.

He’d never seen one this large this far south, however, and judging by the dark look on Dale, the harbormaster’s face this morning, neither had he. Yet, there it was, nearly blocking the entire entry to the bay that contained the Sacran harbor. Did they really think that the Deserin would travel all the way down to the southern point and attack from below?

No, something was wrong. Something beyond the vague threat of invaders finally making their move on this part of the continent. He was sure Dale had been considering not letting him through to his boat at all that morning, Dale, the man who could be thanked for introducing Weeks to the sea in the first place.

He leaned back against the mast of his postal boat. It was designed to be piloted by two and had room for another couple in the small cabin below, but he had grown quite adept at piloting it himself with the help of a series of ropes he’d fashioned around the boom. He doubted if there were anyone on this side of the continent that could beat him in a one-manned race from the southern tip to the channel mouth.

Its deck was a work of art, a seamless masterpiece of precision and ancient knowledge. It paid to be on friendly terms with such a wide variety of people. Being a naval courier did have its perks, besides of course getting him out to sea and away from this bustling droll of the continent.

The true beauty of his craft though were the sails, gifts given to him by the Continued Council, from the swamplands to the north of the channel mouth. For now, though, they draped unmoving in the morning light.


It was late afternoon by the time the Grandalian ship unfurled its sails and resumed its plodding course down the coast. If there was anything elegant about the ship, it was that something so unwieldy was still able to operate. By his estimation, anything that took a crew of 500 to pilot was hardly worth sailing.

This late in the day he wouldn’t get much distance in before having to stop anyway. Even if he waited until morning, he’d still get the mail to where it needed to be as fast or faster than any other ship or horseback, and cheaper than both as well.

He locked the small assortment of letters and packages and stashed them in a small safe beneath the deck, then pulled in the lines that tethered him to the docks. Finally, he was free, and the warm winds from the north were just right for an afternoon of lazily sailing through the flat rocky islands that dotted the coast in this part of Abzahan. He gave the planks of the harbor one last shove with his long oar to set himself out toward the open ocean.

It was more difficult to navigate this part of the float alone than it would be if he’d had a couple of crew members to row. Luckily this boat was designed with a shallow bow and an adjustable keel. While he much preferred the breathtaking winds of the coast, it was important that he be able to traverse the knee-deep rivers and canals of the inner continent when the job called for it.

Because of this design, he was positioned lower in the water than many boats and could use an elongated oar to push the boat forward off the bottom of the bay. Once he had passed the tips of the docks though, he pulled hard on the halyard and his sails bloomed into existence.

While most sails were dirty, pale, and worn, his were vibrant and green. A tapestry of vines and algae had grown along a carefully proportioned mesh of silks. It was truly a spectacle that only the people who lived among the mangroves could have accomplished.

These sails were stronger, more pliable, and resistant to the weather. With a little care they would long outlast regular sails, and maybe even last forever. Even better, once every few weeks the whole sail blossoms in color, an explosion of petals.

The ghastliness of that ship and the dreadful morning has passed, blown down the coast by the breeze, just as everything else in this world would be. Tomorrow he’d get back to work, but for now, he would enjoy the freedom of life at the mercy of the wind.

Chapter Drafts 2-4 are now up here: @beachbot/nanowrimo

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