Chapter One

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Chapter One

Post by LavenderYuki on 2011-04-07, 15:16

Thank you guys for giving me this chance to share with you my project. So here it is. Be warned, it's very long. I tend to write too long for my own good.

Please don't be afraid to give me your thoughts on whether you like it or don't. I need the feedback.

EDIT: Do they keep wine in barrels? IDK cuz wine is not something we see easily where I came from. I just realized how silly the scene was lol

Spoiler:
This is my first writing that I'm definitely going to put my whole efforts on. English is my second language thus I'm not so confident with my grammar and all those particulars about English that I should know of before attempting to write. Names and terms are not final, and I'd change it if I think it's not original enough. The one's I'm using are borrowed until I can create my own original ones. Expect irregularities and confusing phrases, also redundancy and repetition. I corrected the some I can, but there are others I’m not quite sure how. Any supportive or critical reviews are welcome.

Once in a far away land, there was country named Ophelinaz. A small island it was though limited of fertile lands, it is rich with precious stones in its mines. The people worked hard to make a good use of what they have. They mine for gold and silver, farm animals and grow wheat and grains from the little space they can manage. Surrounded by a much calm warm sea, they fish for the various bounty natures provided them. At the heart of the island lies the main city, Ophel. There sit the Azure Market that was always bustling with bellowing sellers and persistent buyers. Near to the main trading post it was, foreigners from all over the world met there to trade. Cloths and spices what they have and silver and gold are they after. For this honest trade, the country prospered with moderate wealth and peace. And yet, if a foreigner step inside Ophelinaz for the first time would notice one of the most apparent differences of the people of Ophelinaz than other outsiders. It’s not that they were any different than any human, but yet one would notice how a 10 year old can own a fish stall, standing on a high stool to make sure he was heard and met the buyer’s eye that usually twice or thrice his height. How a fifteen year old girl be the head of the trading scout to make sure business is going smoothly and honest, or another manages their own inns and bars with rowdy customers old enough to be called grandfathers or uncles? Everywhere an outsider may look, he or she will not see anyone older than 20 or so to be in charge with anything. Truth be told, Ophelinaz is also known as the Island of Children.

A girl in her early 20’s is hurrying her pace through the crowd of people, trying her best not to drop the basketful of freshly baked bread and jugs of milk she held with two hands in front of her. Her dull colored dress billowed by the winds and her white laces hood almost came off as she accidentally hit a large barrel of wine carried by strong laborer on his shoulders. Rubbing the spot with one hand, she quickly makes sure to him that she was alright and he needs not to worry with smiles and giggles to herself. When will I ever learn to look to where I was going, she mocked herself, this is the second time I almost plant my face to the ground! To make matters more laughable, the first incident was just ten minutes ago, right after she got out of the bakery shop. She lost one good loaf of bread to the stray dog which happens to patiently sitting there, as if anticipating something like that to happen. She only watched it snatched the soiled loaf and hurried off to wherever she couldn’t quite see from where fall. No use crying over spilt milk, or stolen bread for that matter, she said to herself. After convincing the worried young man she just crashed into that she’s fine, she dashed straight towards where she was heading before he could say anything.

The summer sun’s glared in her eyes but she took a deep breath in awe of the majestic building standing up front. Made with dark granite stones quarried from the Galas Mountain by people long ago though now covered with dark moss and green crawlers at some parts, the Moonlit Castle still captures the marvels of anyone who looked. Of nine stories tall and three hundred paces width and length, it is the symbol of strength for the people of Ophelinaz. The girl hurried to the main gate, slide off her hood to bare her face to the guards – no older herself, most of them – to prove that she’s not an outsider, and not just a commoner with a request for an audience too. With what sweet smile the juvenile bearded men can muster, they let her in and went straight to the rear area that housed the general kitchen and the practice yard. Placing her basket and jugs of milk on top of the long serving table inside, she gestured to one of the present helpers there to take care of it and immediately run off to the yard where the guards’ barrack is also situated. She hid first in the tall bushes surrounding the open space – freshly trimmed by the obsessive gardeners who would jump at the first mention of weeds and stray branches – to make sure whom she expects was there. A few trainee guards were training in this late afternoon, the young men and a few women were as much as obsessive as the gardeners. Be it night or day, scorching hot sun or freezing cold, they would give every chance they got to practice. Well I can’t blame them; she said to herself, these people took the responsibility to protect the island to their heart. Is there a fault in being too loyal to one’s kingdom?

Light grunts and jeer yells filled the most of the late afternoon’s air. Here and there the trainees are having a one-on-one with one another. Most of the men bare their chest, while the few women trainees clad in a tight breeches and a ridiculously short skirt if not the men’s breeches. They say it made it easier to move in, but she didn’t quite agree. The idea of baring their thigh like that just makes her cringe. And surely it’ll left the bottom cold, especially in winter.

“Peeking again, Emmea?” a throaty male voice came from behind her ears and startled her. She turned around so quickly she nearly lost her balance and fell, but the man’s firm pair of arms circling around her waist was already there to stop it. Feeling her cheeks getting warm with embarrassment, Emmea mumbled her thanks. “I’m sorry I surprised you, Emmea” he chuckled. “But we agreed with one another that if you looked at us any harder we wouldn’t be able to focus. The girls too, I’m afraid. They say you’re too intense when you stare, it’s making them antsy.” She immediately let go of his arms an pat off imaginary creases on her skirts. This close to him, her nose was unpleasantly attacked by the strong smell of sweat and dirt. She took a step away and pretended not to hear the suppressed giggles coming from behind. All these times I had been here spying the training yard, don’t tell me they’ve noticed me all along! She mentally kicked herself silly. She should have considered that they are trained to be as sharp to notice anything that hides. “Really, Emmea, if you ought to peek again, you should have remembered your feet are showing under the bushes.” He laughed softly, adding more spots on her cheeks. She mentally gave herself another strong kick. How had she forgotten the bushes are about a hand tall from the ground?

She dared to slowly looking up to the man in front of her. Owen is one of the most influential soldiers among them. Though he usually mild mannered compared to the others, he has his share of mischief and the desire to make her look foolish. She heard talks that he is second to Grand General Richard Fanfallar in terms of maritime tactical knowledge and the way of the swords, and also known as the primary reason she made observing – not peeking! Observing! – the training yard her daily routine. Emmea was about to blurt out some lame excuses her brain can conjure up at the moment, but then Owen just flashed a smile and skittered back to the field, wielding his wooden sword for training. With a look that almost forced to make him look busy, she can only think of one thing that can make him do it. Quite a few paces away from where she was standing are the Grand General himself.

A full two hands taller than her if they stood side-to-side, he possessed hard muscles under those light leather armor he usually wore during informal activities. The ruby brooch in a shape of a crescent moon he wore on his right shoulder guard – the official mark of his title for the island’s top commanding officer for the Princess’ Shield army and battleships’ fleet – sparkled dimly by the weakening daylight, the wooden practice staff at his side in place of his personal sword he might have left behind at his office. Short, light brown hair matted with sweat and a face that seems to be carved in stone if his blue eyes did not have that soft gaze. A horrible scar lined across his right eye that will never open again. That scar made her cringe. It reminded her of something so horrible that he has to face to lose it. The Grand General saw her from the distance and started to call out and walked to her direction. Remembering the position she was in she pretended not to notice and scurried away to the inner passageway of the castle towards the workers’ area.

“I saw that.” Her heart as if ripped from its cozy nestles between her breasts when she heard the voice that belonged to a pony-tailed redheaded girl about her age, standing firmly behind her. She giggled behind her fingers over her small mouth. Freckled and dimpled cheeks, the other girl was in the formal blue-and-white clothes and apron. Balanced on her side was a basketful of dirty breeches and towels, most probably from the training guards. That meant that she had seen the whole thing too. “Caught peeking from Owen, of all people. Sweet Dian, he might be the slowest person to ever notice anything, but you just prove me wrong. You are the slowest person ever on this island, Emmea.” she said, emphasizing on ‘you’ only to add salt to her wound. “And I know you purposely ran away from the Grand General, Emmea Walters. What is that all about? I thought most of the female population of Ophel is dying to catch their attention, but you just turn him away. Trying to play hard to get? That’s what the recent talks about you are right now, that you’re only putting some distance between him just so to make him chase you.”

“Oh shut up, Kim. I don’t need more talks behind my back than I have right now. Sheesh, being popular is so demanding.” Fanning herself with her hands, Emmea then stuck her tongue out at Kim and added her own giggles with hers. “I know you’re just jealous.” The taller girl pinched her sides in reply.

“Ha ha. Very funny.” Kim mocked. “I know you are just as enamored towards the Grand General just as most of us do, Emmea. I know ten or more that made him their life’s mission to conquest. Though the man in question has never said what kind of girl he likes, that never stopped anyone from trying to get him to look at their direction. Most failed miserably, but you happen to be in his sight every single time he turns around and this does not fare well with the whole other obsessed fan of his.” Adjusting the obviously heavy – and of course, smelly – load on her hip, she managed to shake one finger at Emmea’s nose. Kim may be all bony and slim, but her bones are rock hard. And she is impossibly strong too for someone with lack of meat like her. She very nearly made the basket looked ten times lighter than it should be. Her pinches were usually painful, thanks to her last experiences, but a knock of that finger on her nose could surely jerk a tear out of her eyes. So Emmea tried her best dodging of what it seemed to be a hard pull on her precious nose. Kim was faster. “And you, Miss Emmea Walters, just kept on playing dumb with the whole situation, and this make me want to choke the answer out of you. Do you or do you not have something going on with Grand General Richard that involves romance?”

Kimberly, or Kim, is one of Emmea’s close friends in the palace. Though she only knew her for a few weeks, they bonded like childhood friends. They shared the same love for pranks and gossips, and since they shared the same dormitory in the maid’s residential area, they quickly become closest friends. She has the tendency to literally choke an answer out of anyone and the first sign to suggest she’s about to do any choking is when she voiced her intentions. Emmea decided not to try her chance being forced an answer out of her mouth and only flashed a big grin that might translate to anything the other girl might interpret into. For some reason, Kim let her go. Impressive, she thought.

She eyed Emmea from top to bottom. “As I have might mention you before or not, you are late for your shift and you have an ugly wine stains on your skirts AND hair. And from how your eyes popped out, you just realized how incredibly silly you looked like to the public.” Emmea’s thought she would have steam coming out of her ears as well as her eyes popping out when she saw for herself the wine from her fingers for checking her hair and the big patch of deep red on her skirts. Oh sweet Light of Dian, she must looked like a brainless girl. No wonder Owen was eyeing her like a strange cat, or the Grand General to notice her from a distance. She was short of being a blinding beacon in the night, except this is far more humiliating.

“Now you will be the wine-haired Emmea for the week. I have to say I am quite jealous of how easily popular you are without even trying.” Kim added and laughed quite heartily. Beet red faced or not, she could not do anything to change that fact. Not that this is the most embarrassing moments she’d been through, but it came close. But now with the stained clothes and hair she was doomed to be assaulted by the next nearest senior maids. Now she knew why the man carrying the wine barrel she run into was so apologetic.

“Emmea Walters? What under the Dian’s Light have you been into? You are late for your post and you dare come in with such…dirty improperness?” Madam ‘Cannon’ Canny, as she was secretly called between the palace maids, erupted the minute she saw her from a distance and waste no time to come straight to her face. She should be better in the archer squad for all her sharp sights instead of the leader of the Her Holiness’ chamber maids, not to mention her position as the Head Maid of the whole castle. Of all the other senior maids, Canny is one of the loudest, and the most annoying to handle. The older woman – though only about a year or two older than herself really – was blessing the Dian as well as pleading Her Light to help her give her strength to deal with her – Emmea’s – sort. She slapped her own forehead a few times and shook her head with every breath. Surely Canny’s a few dozen of early grey in her hair was the result of her sort. “Dian’s mercy on my poor soul... Emmea, go and clean yourself up and immediately go to your duties. Her Holiness is back from her visit to the country side and she will need a bath and dressings and you want her to realize we are understaffed? Oh sweet Light of Dian, please let her Holiness not in hurry… what are your waiting for, Emmea? Now! NOW!” The last part was almost like a blast from a real cannon and it made her jump. Gathering her bulky skirts in both hands, she darted to the washing well at the back of the kitchen and gave her head a quick dunk in the chilly water. A few splashes on the ugly stain on her clothes and she took off heading to her room on the third floor of the maids’ residential building, all dripping wet. She tried so hard to ignore the surprised stares and whispers trailing at her back.

But sweet Dian just had to make her day any worse. Way up front, a figure of a tall woman dressed in all black with two older bearded men following, talking or discussing something as they walked. The black-clad women lost her words in the middle of her speech as she finally saw Emmea. “What had happened to you, girl?” In a rare sighting, the Grand Magus Meliandrha Tanavista actually gasped and genuinely surprised. Emmea had no choice but to let her dripping self being stared at – not to mention the ‘coincidental’ passersby that decided to walk very slowly at the scene – while trying her best not to look like a complete idiot she already were. She bared her teeth just so it would be taken as a forced smile.

“I got dirty and Madam Canny wanted me clean and ready to serve Her Holiness so I took the fastest way to clean myself... Grand Magus, my Lords.... may I be excused? Madam Canny would have me sleeping on the cold floor if I cannot make it to Her Holiness’ service…” Emmea managed to explain in one breath, another impressive attempt she did for the day. She knew better than to lie to the Grand Magus, Her Holiness’ right hand and personal advisor, also the strongest magus on the isle. The woman – wore nothing but black that covered her from the neck to her toes, with an additional black lace veil over her cascading long jet black hair with countless charms dangling about, gleaming weakly – shook her head and extended her arm that was hidden underneath the heavy robe but only a fraction. A warm breath seemed to seep from inside her skin and Emmea could see steam evaporating all the wetness on her. Onlookers’ amazed gasp managed to slip to her consciousness. In a matter of seconds, she was thankfully all dry and warm.

“I am very much indebted by Grand Magus, how may I return Grand Magus’ kindness?” Emmea said as she fixed a stray hair fell to her forehead, the lace headpiece now far from doing its duty to keep them all in place. In frustration, she ripped it off and clenched it in her fists.

“You may return my help with you being sharp on your timings. Skip, girl! Her Holiness is entering the main gate as we speak! SKIP!” For the second time of the day, she skipped when she was told to. At least it was not ‘jump’, she said to herself as she made a quick curtsy and dashed to her room, nearly crashing into everyone else walking the same path. A record time of undressing and dressing in her proper chamber maid’s uniform, she gathered her hair with pins carried between her lips while at the same time running towards the mule-powered lift that will take her to the Royal bedroom on the top-most floor. She gave thanks to Dian the Deity for making the lift there on the first floor as she arrived. Fidgeting over how slow was the mules today; she tapped her toes and gripped her light blue skirts. The short boy guiding the lift tried his best not to look at her. She must have looked half as menacing as the Grand Magus during her temper outburst judging by the way he deliberately turned away.

Madam Canny was at the peak of her patience when Emmea got the best of her oh-you-will-be-sleeping-on-the-floor-alright look before shooing her to join the other chamber maids in duty of helping Her Holiness to undress. It was already quite dark by that time, and the Princess’s fair skin gleamed by the fireplace’s fire as it was bared to be draped in her cream long-sleeved night robe. Perhaps there are no official meetings tonight; else Her Holiness would be changing her dress to her evening gown. Emmea nods to herself as she helped the dainty feet to her velvet slippers. Emmea got the duty to tie the Princess’s long silver hair cascading to the floor into a loose thick braid. A few moments later, Madam Canny clapped lightly, signaling the dressing-up was neatly done. The Princess nods and Emmea and the other chamber maids backed to the walls, waiting for more orders if the Princess wishes to.

“Head Maid Canny, I think I would retire early tonight. Perhaps you would address the maid on duty for the night watch to stay and the rest would retire,” The Princess made her first speech since Emmea had stepped into the room. Madam Canny curtsied with elaborated effort and backed away as well. She turned to Emmea and gave a sharp point of her finger. Oh so the woman actually forgetting the fact it was my turn as the night watch? A new treat for Kim, Emmea laughed in her head. She pulled her tongue towards Cannon as she and the rest of the chamber maids retreated. The Princess was making her way to the white-laced, goose-feathered bed and sat as she was whispering her grace to Dian’s Moonlight shining ever so brightly outside the balcony. Emmea walked slowly to a stool for the night’s chamber maid in duty and sat as well. The Princess smiled at her. During the duty as a night watch, a chamber maid is not supposed to fell asleep, but instead they are allowed to meditate with the silent grace of Dian. Emmea placed her hands on top of one another on her lap and closed her eyes. “The blessed Moonlight, Dian’s Moonlight. Shower us with your Light. Keep the Island safe. Keep the Heartsone safe…” Emmea repeated the words of blessings as she fell into a deep calmness. The silent was interrupted by a faint sound of the pushed open of the door with two particular footsteps advancing the chamber was nearing her…

“Emmearaldinha ‘du Collein. Awake!” a sharp but still whispered summons rang in her ears, and in an instant, a swift surge of cold and warmth filled her senses from the tip of her toes to the very end of her hair. The short wavy brown hair straightened into long cascading ones with the silver glow. Her face tickled like it always did as it stretched into its proper place that mimic the face of the Holy Princess. Even without her looking through a mirror, she knew her eyes would be the same color as her hair instead of the brown ones she had just minutes ago. She waited until all the surges dissipated before opening her eyes and took Richard’s hand offering her to stand. She smiled to him, and also to Mell and Klein. She is now Emmearaldinha ‘du Collein, the ruler of Ophelinaz.


Last edited by LavenderYuki on 2011-04-09, 16:10; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Chapter One

Post by Artesox on 2011-04-09, 07:26

Awesome *-*
I didn't finished yet, but I will soon.

Then I will use this post to do a better comment
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Re: Chapter One

Post by phio_chan on 2011-04-09, 21:49

For grammatical errors, I think yukihime is somehow more expert than me, so I'd leave that to her. :3

I noticed few things, though.

"Cloths and spices what they have and silver and gold are they after."
>>> I thought the correct term is "clothes", not "cloths"? And also, I think you need to put "what" after "gold".

"Rubbing the spot with one hand, she quickly makes sure to him that she was alright and he needs not to worry with smiles and giggles to herself. When will I ever learn to look to where I was going, she mocked herself, this is the second time I almost plant my face to the ground! "
>>> Confusion about present and past tense. I think for stories like this we use past tense, right? And maybe you can give a mark to differ the character's thoughts, be it by giving "..." or by making it in italic. It just seems somehow confusing.

"– no older herself, most of them –"
>>> You missed "than" there before "herself", I believe.

I will update this post later if I have some spare time (I need to read materials for exams as well, ahaha~). I took quick read to the chapter, and it seemed like most mistakes are only the confusion of using past tense, then switched to present tense all of a sudden, then returned to the past tense again. I think present tense can only be used for characters' spoken words or unspoken thoughts. But I could be wrong, as I have never written a story in English.

All in all, amazing job, LavenderYuki! Keep up the amazing work. smile

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Re: Chapter One

Post by Kyoki on 2011-04-14, 11:57

Teehee, I just got finished reading your story and it's good. I can't wait for more! I wanna know what happens next!
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Re: Chapter One

Post by LavenderYuki on 2011-04-15, 17:37

@freija93; thanks for the heads up. I did left out 'than' in that line, don't know why Words not warn me about it.
I actually did use italics for monologues, just that when I copy-pasta them, they were all lost. here's the .docx version if you're interested. I had made some grammatical corrections of those I can find and figure out.

Chapter One .docx version

@everyone; thanks for the comments. look out for moar!
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