Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Excerpt: Republic of Krez

I'm in the mood for writing today, specifically on the Republic of Krez. I haven't touched it in ages, but the story is always at the back of my mind. What's Thea up to today?

You can read about the Republic of Krez here and a couple excerpt from the story here.

Exhausted from a long day in the saddle, we don’t linger at supper, though the beef stew is quite good. I stumble into the bed I’m sharing with my mother, wrapping myself in my cape. Father is sprawled in a plush velvet chair near the door, where the grooms are nestled on the floor. Radrick is on the other side of the room, curled up in his cloak by the fireplace. Soon, snores rise from every corner of the room.
As tired as I am, I can’t fall asleep. I turn on my side facing the wall and close my eyes. I miss Opal. We always curl up together, no matter where we bed down for the night. I’d often slept in the woods, in my cave, in small rooms all over the Manse, and Opal was always there with me. Now he’s chained in a locked stall in the stables. It’s for his own safety, Mother said, but I know she just wanted to keep him hidden, to avoid making a scene while we’re in town. Still, as often as I shared a bed with Opal, I’d never done the same with another person, let alone my Mother. I can feel her, the warmth radiating from her curved back, her thick brown hair tickling the back of my arm. It’s slightly unnerving.
Ignoring the sensation, I try to relax. I often replay my day in my head in order to unwind, so I do that. It doesn’t take very long though because I hadn’t really seen much today, the road winding through meadows and fields of grain for much of the way. The Calla House is on the outskirts of the city, so I don’t even know what the famous markets of Pyle were like. Luckily, we need to pick up a few supplies before we continue our journey, so I would get a chance to explore a little tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it, even though Opal won’t be allowed to join me. I’d already tried begging my parents, insisting that I’d been good so far and deserved it. But they’d been adamant. Horses weren’t allowed in the markets because of the press of people. Opal would cause a fright in the crowds, if not an all out stampede or riot, so he has to remain in his stall. I feel so bad for him; I know he’s miserable. I wish I could’ve left him loose, but I know there’s too much of a danger of him getting shot or captured.
Despite our slow start and grim objectives, I’m actually pretty excited that we’re on our way. The traveling between each destination is going to be a bit of an adventure. I’m looking forward to throwing a coin into the Sea of Hope and exploring a different castle, Whitton Hall, which is where Weston is being doctored. After that, we’ll cut down through Jojoton and Drake, following Stone River all the way to Katan on the West Bank of the Frozen End. After enrolling me at Ste. Agatha’s, I shift uneasily at the thought, we’ll head back North-East along the river to Rockton, then the capital, the City of Krez. I’m not sure how long Mother will delay there, but eventually we’ll continue North to Duffield Estates, crossing the South Divide at Port Key.
I rhyme off these foreign cities and towns in my head, counting them like sheep leaping over a fence. Instead of making me sleepy though, I simply shift again, excited to be off. The next city we’ll stop in is Risk, where we’ll catch a boat across The Pinch to Whitton Hall. Weston would not be traveling South with Mother and I of course. We’ll continue with Radrick as our escort, and Father and Weston will return to Duffield by boat. It will take us three days to reach Risk; our wagon will be well stocked for the trip. There are tents and blankets for sleeping, a few casks of cider and water to drink and we’ll pick up plenty of fresh food from the market for both us and the horses. Opal is on his own to hunt until we reach Risk though; then we’ll buy him some meat for the crossing.
I shift again and my mother lets out a grumpy groan. She turns onto her back, her head facing away from me. I roll back onto my side, face to the wall. It’s stifling in the room, the only window closed tight against any potential intruders. I think I could maybe sneak over and crack it open just to stand in front of the cool air for a few seconds. I decide against it though and snuggle down, determined to sleep. Tomorrow will be another long day in the saddle. At least I can ride Opal. My heart aches acutely, missing his reassuring presence. My only consolation is that for the next two nights I’ll be able to curl up with his warm ribs as my pillow. With that happy thought in mind, I slowly drift off to sleep.

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