Saturday, July 21, 2012

Change Yourself, Change the World: Light

Canna rested with her back pressed up against the massive oak frame that outlined the silk sheathed mattress behind her. It was but one luxury inside the lavish chamber known as the Gilded Scale Inn that Canna had called home for the past week as she recovered from her injury at the hands of her once infallible idol. Cormag had so easily shattered the bone in her leg into two, but a short prayer had enabled a cleric of Bahamut to undo the damages in mere moments. Despite the lack of pain, Canna still kept her leg tightly wrapped by bandages visible beneath clothes that had become tattered and shredded due to the teen’s frequent irrational outbursts. Her quarters bore the similar wounds as elaborate wall decorations could be found bent, shattered, or torn from their place and strewn about the floor amongst a disorganized collection of books.

Some books laid untouched while others were scavenge to the spine due to the frequent, aggressive studying of the reader. Pages of text overlapped obsolete maps and a collection of weapons that had been dropped casually to the floor once the wielder’s fingers began to bleed. The titles ranged from ancient history to reports dissecting military strategy, but so much of what was seen failed to be absorbed. Canna looked barely conscious as she stared vacantly towards the dull light at the top of her ceiling. Her eyes were shaded by thick black rings gained after days of poor sleep. Her face was pale, and her pores dripped with a steady stream of sweat that didn’t help conceal her warn appearance. By all accounts she looked hideous, but as Canna tilted her head down to stare into the mirror propped up against the wall opposite her she saw that same mocking beauty that she hated so much.

She saw the same thin cheeks that elegantly blended with a winsome smile. She glared at the hereditary ruddy tresses that enchanted strangers through the same delicate auburn eyes that had been used to judge the lives of others so carelessly. The forgery of her reflection caused the teen to grip her fists in anger, but she hung her head in shame when she studied the thin arms that struggled to resist their docile nature in front of her. Canna plucked a book off the ground and forced her attention on the pages; screaming as she mentally recited the words to herself. Her hands quivered as shrill sobs broke the silence. Moments later, droplets slipped from the teen’s face before adding to the collection of tarnished tomes that her tears had ruined before she violently threw it across the room.

The damning words of her former idol replayed in her head over and over again. Each cycle Cormag’s words became more vicious and damning as guilt overtook reality. Canna’s fingers crawled up the her ears as she desperately tried to block out the sound of Cormag’s condemning voice before he uttered the worst of his speech. Canna’s nails dug into her flesh as she desperately tried to deafen herself, but once again she had to endure the bitter truth. However, once again she would also ignore the advice.

Canna returned to her arduous studies of the lands north of the wall and what it would take to reach there. Her eyes struggled to stay open as they scanned over ancient maps Canna couldn’t begin to comprehend. Her head tilted into her chest as her muscles let the tome slip to the floor with a gentle thud. Canna struggled to keep her focus, but days of this erratic emotional hodgepodge had drained the last of her stamina. Her eyes closed, and for the first time since Cormag left she managed to drift to sleep.

The next moment her senses returned to her she was standing casually high above a bloodied battlefield, her body simply floating as though it had been plucked from the earth. The ruddy warzone beneath her wasn’t one she recognized, so she spun around as she tried to pick out a landmark only to see the goliath bulwark she so desperately desired to pass over. An excitement swelled in her heart as she turned her attention back to the battlefield to have her hopes confirmed. She saw a lone dark skinned soldier casually collecting weapons from the hands of his slain foes. She couldn’t understand how she managed to cross over the wall, but it didn’t hinder her validation any less. She grinned with anticipation as her fists clenched in hunger for a weapon. Just before she could get too eager a force compelled her eyes in a different direction.

The force pulled her attention toward a stack of corpses slowly behind piled up by Drow soldiers. The bodies in the pile were all human, though most were unrecognizable due to their fatal wounds and melded together into a pile of flesh and carnage that stood as a testament to the superiority of the Drow army. Canna only saw this as a reaffirmation of her cause—until her eyes caught sight of the ruby red tresses of a young girl being tossed casually at the top of pile. Canna recognized the girl from her delicate features and the unmistakable hue of her hair; it was her.  Her body was lifeless, though that was no surprise considering the thin hole in the center of her chest from where she had been skewered. The wound was clean indicating whoever made the kill was ruthlessly efficient and that the victim put up little struggle. Canna could only assume the story as she watched her body disappear beneath another set of corpses. Canna could feel a question pecking at her as she watched her funeral from afar. Will you still go over the wall?

Canna didn’t know who was asking, but someone wanted to know. They asked curiously, though it seemed whoever it was expected the teen to close her eyes to the truth and shy away in the face of her inevitable death. Instead she stared solemnly at it with an unflinching focus. She was staring at her own demise, but she refused to cower away. She knew a life over the wall was going to be one without a happy ending, and she was more than willing to die over there like a dog if it could make some kind of difference. She refused to turn away even if this truth was inescapable. The anonymous questioner seemed satisfied by this response and the world around her faded away into blank ether. Canna spun around as she felt a presence appear all around her.

The world was black with no sign of life to be found, but her interest was captured by a faint white light that shined above her head. Curiosity convinced the teen to reach towards it and in response the light began to expand and intensify. As it grew Canna felt a power surge through her like none she ever felt before. It was alien, but comforting as she felt her muscles surge with his foreign power. She felt this strength blend into her very being until it came to a stop, and everything became white.


Thus ends the Cormag Arc, and begins the Avandra Arc. The Avandra Arc will be significantly shorter than the Cormag Arc (I’m only planning four more pieces), but they’re vital to Canna’s character. In addition there are two pieces that pertain to her family that I’m –really- looking forward to writing.

This piece is shorter than most due in no small part to a complete lack of dialogue and any real action. Part of CYCW’s purpose is to challenge myself a bit as a writer, so I wanted to try a piece without a lot of action to see how it comes off. I think it flows fine, though I am curious to hear what ya’ll say.

It is a bit coincidentally that after my last piece had someone stating they hate self-evaluations through the mirror that the next pieces features one. Sorry, but it’s essential to understanding Canna. She wants to change the world, but she got fucked over genetically. Basically, when writing this I tried to take Canna’s stats into mind—namely her 13 in strength. Now mechanically I took that so she could MC into Fighter, but story wise I turned that into a plotpoint. That 13 is ultimately as high as her strength goes, and at this point in the story Canna is essentially a Fighter. A Fighter with a 13 in strength is borderline useless mechanically, so again I translated that to a narrative equivalent.  For as bold and tenacious as she is, Canna could never survive over the wall—not without help. However it’s her will to try in spite of the inevitable failure that drew Avandra’s interest to her.

That’s what Canna’s “luck favors the bold” quote is all about. Avandra favors those who take fate into their own hands, and she protects those who seek to bring about change. Canna may not be a prototype soldier like Cormag, but she doesn’t lack the resolve he does. This is the first moment when Avandra speaks to Canna though it’s through a dream—Avandra can’t speak to anyone due to her limited power. Still, Canna owes a lot to Avandra. Without her, she would be nothing in this world.

Well that’s all for this week. Sorry this is a bit later than usual, but it’s been hectic at work. Leave a comment if you’d be so kind, and take it easy peeps.

1 comment:

  1. Short and sweet as they say. Got to see how Canna was coping (or not coping) with the departure of Cormag, it did flow very well. I do love how you take mechanical aspects of a character and turn them into plot aspects of them as well. Can't wait for the next parts (personally been looking forward to this arc the most).