Shattered

How do you go about piecing your muse back together after years of watching it crumble away?

It’s an interesting thought. I have on my hard drive so many broken pieces of story that fit together somehow, but the bits that glue them into a whole are missing. The connecting parts of the story are often the most challenging, I think – writing a riveting, gut-wrenching scene is bliss compared to the arts and crafts that is transitional scene writing. The interesting bits are the only ones I’ve managed to produce, and my ability to put it all together has been hampered in the past few years. I would love to release the novella hanging out in my hard drive, if only I could will it into a cohesive story.

Something happened in my third year of residency (I say, horrified that third year was over 2 years ago) – the burnout burned through my passion for medicine and my passion for writing all in one. There are flashes lately of what once was, flickers of a still-burning fire that demands attention. As the burnout from my profession heals so, too, does my ability to think creatively. It’s a slow process which would take organization that I seem to lack in these weeks leading up to my specialty medical boards. Some system must be created to make sense of the madness that is my dropbox, but alas, there is not time just yet. Soon.

Ah, well. Perhaps for now I can release one of the tasty bits.

Perhaps someday something recognizable will emerge from these clippings.

From an opening scene in Forsaken Lands Book 3: Redemption –


The cold breeze of morning hit Aia’s cheeks. The wind brought to mind winter turning to spring – the sunlight on her skin was contrasted by a brush of ice. She breathed deep, suddenly at peace. The dew on the grass brushed her ankles.

Where am I?

Her eyes opened and she was greeted by a landscape of green fields surrounded by mountains. A fence encompassed much of the land. The snort of a horse startled her, and when she turned to look she froze.

The man brushing the mare had Teveres’s stature and hair color. If it weren’t for his age lines and soft, blue eyes she would have sworn it was him. He wore a priest’s tunic under a cloak and glaced at her only briefly before returning to his task, as if he’d seen her a thousand times before.

“I…” Aia’s voice faltered. “Dayle?” It had to be Dayle, Teveres’s father. Everyone said they looked so much alike…

“Yes,” Dayle’s voice was eerily familiar, too.

Fear settled in Aia’s chest. “Am I…am I dead?” she stammered.

“No, of course not,” Dayle patted the horse, who took the cue to walk off to graze. Dayle turned his attention on Aia. He smiled. “It’s good to finally meet you, Aiasjia.”

“How do you know me?”

“I know.” He shrugged, “No need to waste time. I’m not certain how long we can remain here together.”

“Where…is here? Why isn’t Teveres here instead of me? He’s the one-“

“Here is temporary. It isn’t real – and it is. I assure you, it is not a dream…not quite.” He looked up at the sky, which indeed looked very real. The sun appeared to be rising, chasing the shadows away. “The gods are here.”

Aia waited for him to finish the thought, but it seemed that the thought was already finished. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“They are here,” he motioned, “they are angry.”

“At me?”

He waved the idea away. “They do not see you.”

“Seems that you’re just as forthcoming as your son,” Aia sighed.

“When you look at the grass do you see each blade, appreciate every weed in the field? Or do you see the grass as a single collective feature of the land, and know how it makes you feel?”

Aia groaned. “If the gods want to talk to me then they should just do it. I would listen.”

“They speak all the time, child. They are not like us. They are…other. We draw human bodies for them, but that is not what they are. They need us and we need them, and you, the Deldri, are truly Children of Elseth.”

“I’m not sure I believe in all that anymore.”

Dayle approached, placing a hand on her shoulder. That felt real, too. “This is no myth. This is very important, Aiasjia.” His voice was pained, tears brimming in his eyes. Dayle’s energy shifted and Aia reached out for his thoughts.

She nearly stumbled backwards. His resonance dazzled her with its shattered-ness, a thousand crystals vibrating furiously just trying to remain whole. She couldn’t pick out clear ideas, distracted by his soul’s beautiful brokenness.

“You’re dead,” Aia said breathlessly. “You should be dead.”

“Aia,” he begged, “listen. The gods may not see you but they do need you. Nivenea needs you. Our people will be consumed by the blight and the land will die if you do not act. You must do as Mareth has told you: go to the Northsea.”

Aia shook her head, puzzled. “There’s nothing there. We have so much to do…and our friend Dmiri has brought help-“

“It won’t be enough,” his voice cracked and he turned his back on her. “You’ve started this in motion and yet you have no idea what you have done.”

“Started what? Where?”

“In Torvid’s Rest.”

Aia couldn’t organize her thoughts before Dayle faced her, a hidden object in one hand. He looked scared – desperate – decidedly incongruent with the composure of a Clergy. Aia’s heart skipped.

“Aiasjia,” his voice lowered and he stepped close to her. Gods help her, she didn’t have the sense to move. The look in his eyes was so earnest, inescapably sad. “Tell Teveres he is forgiven.”

Without warning Dayle revealed a long shard of what could only be ebonstone, the material Aia, Les, and Teveres had recovered for the Kaldari army at Torvid’s Rest. Aia was powerless to flee before he stabbed her in her core. Her scream was more of surprise than pain. There was a rushing sensation through her body, as if she were sucking in all of the energy in the world through the hole in her torso. Warmth flooded her, tingled over her skin, and despite what should have been an excruciating experience Aia felt nothing but reassurance. Everything was suddenly as it should be. Her vision spun into darkness.

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