Here we are at the last day of the Worldbuilding Blogfest. I hope these last few days haven’t been a complete bore and that you have learnt a little bit about my dear Thardrandia.
Now, for the final day I am to post an excerpt of my story that highlights some of my worldbuilding. Only spits and spats of what I’ve been posting here gets into the story. There are mentions, but often it is not of great depth.
But I shall leave you with a piece out of chapter fourteen of The Rogue King where Kael and his newly-made friends meet their magic teacher. Yes, it’s a school that teaches magic. No, that does not make it a magic school. It’s a subject … like history!
*ahem* (998 words)
The young wolena seemed keen to integrate Kael into his large group of friends, most of whom were young girls or slightly older women. He didn’t mind that either, but he wasn’t used to one person talking enough words for two or three people. Through picking out the occasional piece of information while listening to Frisk’s excessive yammering, he learnt where quite a few places could be found and what lurked behind otherwise shut doors. Of the things divulged about their new home was the discovery that only two of the academy’s teachers weren’t raptereon. And now one stood on the field before him.
In the term of her own people, Eltina was a shiquin, a feathery-winged equinea of the air herd. Like many of her kind, she preferred her four-legged form with a lower body similar to a vampire horse’s, her torso sprouting from where the sleek neck should be. That sight alone made it difficult enough not to stare. He refused to be rude. Although the task became easy when the woman looked his way. And the only way Kael could tell precisely what, or who, the woman stared at was by her tiny pupils. The rest of her eyes were completely white.
“Shifting to an animalistic form is one of the most basic of the magical abilities,” she said. Her hooves gave off soft little thuds as she marched across the front line of students standing before her. “Can anyone tell me the four intelligent species unable to shift?”
The class was silent, the sound of people shuffling where they stood loud against such a backdrop. Kael toyed with answering, but couldn’t bring himself to become the sole attention of those, near colourless, eyes.
“No one knows? I find that hard to believe.” She stamped a back hoof and flicked her thin tail, tufted with the same vibrant purple as the hair curling round large, conical ears. A slim, white finger pointed out into the group. “Joina.”
Kael didn’t dare move his head to put a face to the name. Relief washed over him at not being the first person to speak.
“D-defe-jacol?” the girl stammered.
Kael grimaced. He’d hardly classify the defe as intelligent. Clever pets, maybe. Most of them were unable to talk and spent their lives feeding off the oasis flowers or the plants in the sole canyon that cleft the centre of the desert. Unless she spoke of those who’d been born in the Wish Tree.
“Good. Someone else …” Again the finger moved, silently prowling the herd before it and singling out its prey. “Kael.”
His eyes could not look away from her pointing finger. He cursed the mind that had suddenly become vacant. He knew the name of every species. His father had taught him each one until he could recite them without thinking. There were only three others to say. Why couldn’t he come up with just one?
“Mistress,” Frisk said into the silence. “One’s the mesa-malol and another is the mezans.”
“And the fourth, Kael?” she demanded, her voice as cool as the frost-white eyes that kept staring at him, glittering in anticipation. Was that a hint of sneer forming on her long face?
He mentally rifled through what he knew, instantly skipping over wolena, katess, raptereon and sssstamne. Certainly not prewania-tofua, they were the ultimate shifters and their very name meant ‘great changer’. Which species did it leave? Who did it leave? Of course, they who were no more. Those of the empire, the ones who’d ruled before. The … “Trexens,” he blurted.
“Adequate,” Eltina said. “But I demand my students to be quicker in their replies.” Eyes narrowed. “No exceptions, young Ro’is.”
Kael swallowed hard. Frisk warned that the woman was reputed to have an atrocious temper. He hadn’t believed him until now. Looking into those eyes, he saw only ice. What punishment could be dealt by a person who could control the very air, as all shiquin were reputedly capable of doing? He wasn’t foolish enough to believe air couldn’t hurt him. Not when he heard of the damage done by sandstorms. Just a whip of wind could be capable of harm, especially when there was no mercy behind the blows.
“The trick in shifting one’s shape is a simple one to master and some of you may’ve already been taught to do so by your parents. Such teaching can leave a young mind open to bad habits and, regardless of what they’ve taught you or how well you think you’ve mastered the skill, you shall all shift before me.” She closed her eyes and Kael, along with the rest of the class, stared as the woman’s pale torso melted into a long neck with a brilliant purple mane. Her head grew even longer, the muzzle stretching out, her eyes pushed further apart by the broad forehead. She looked like a white version of Klif, only with feathers for wings instead of the webbing of skin and bones his vampire horse possessed.
“When I give you the order, I want each of you to breathe slowly and deeply.” The longer face and difference in the shape of her mouth altered her voice, making it softer. “Think about your body becoming that base form. Do not try to concentrate too hard or it will not happen.” Her form blurred and she once again became a six-limbed equinea, clothes reforming along with the rest of her. Eltina picked up a board and quill hidden in the grass at her feet. “But before we begin, I shall not have hybrids hurting themselves trying to shift when they should know they cannot.” She flipped through the pages attached to the board. “Joina, Qucin. Stand over there.” The cruel hand that singled out the pair indicated somewhere to Eltina’s left.
Kael watched them go, unable to tell which girl was which. It didn’t seem fair that they’d be shoved aside just because their parents hadn’t been the same species.
I don’t like breaking up my scenes and I was going to post the whole chapter … except MS Words tells me it’s 3886 words long. Still, would be a medium-sized chapter for this story (it’s over 200k remember).