“Flight”

Hello again!  I recently stumbled upon Rachael Ritchey’s Blog Battle, and I decided, “Hey!  I can do this!”  So after a few cycles of writing and editing and stressing and writing and editing some more, I wound up with “Flight.”  It’s based out of the same storyworld as Guardian (so it’s fantasy), and includes one of the characters from the cast, so it was really fun for me to write it.

I don’t think I’ll make this a weekly thing, though.  This pretty much took up the entirety of my creative efforts for the entire week, so if I kept this up, I would never get any writing in Guardian itself done.  Maybe it’ll be a monthly thing.  We’ll see. 😉

Without further ado, I give you “Flight.”  Enjoy!

Flight

Cold air ripped through Rubati’s lungs, her feet pounding the hard earth, her mind full of horrors. Shouts and thudding hooves rebounded against the mountainsides, the cacophony mingling with explosions, screams, and roaring waters echoing in her mind. She pushed these aside. Now was not the time to dwell on those things. Now there was only to run and to pray.

Pray the Purification hadn’t failed.

Pray her people escaped the Corcenian wrath.

Pray that a lone female slave wasn’t worth the soldiers’ trouble.

Thus far, the gods seemed disinclined to hear her prayers.

Her foot caught on a stone, careening her forward. A cry escaped her as bare skin made contact with rugged ground. She ground her teeth and struggled to her feet; prepared to run again, when she paused, listening.

Running water.

She hadn’t been able to hear it over her heartbeat and the clamor of her pursuers, but now that she was still, she could hear the distant churning. It didn’t sound like one of the feeble trickles that used to snake its way through the Eresmountian ditches. This river’s voice was deep, like thunder, like…

The Purification.

Her stomach twisted at the memory, but she didn’t allow herself the luxury of heaving what little was left in her stomach. As she again made a limping attempt to run, she tried to keep herself from replaying the monstrosity in her mind. The monstrosity her people had created. The explosions. The screams. The rupturing dam and the wall of water crushing everything in its path.

She hated this weakness, this desperation that drove her to water. She hated water. She hated the muddy dregs of the mines and the once-dammed lake that destroyed the city. She hated that people – her people – somehow thought water was pure enough to cleanse a land of atrocities committed, remove the shame of her people’s slavery, when all it did was steep the land in more death.

The soldiers’ racket grew louder; she cursed her limping gait.“No time!” her mind hissed. “They’re right behind you! Run!”

Rubati growled and forced herself into a sprint, ignoring her body. She could barely keep her exhausted legs from tripping her. The rush of water was closer; her heart thrilled with hope. She hated water, but it might be the only thing that could save her.

It came into view when she turned a sharp corner in the pass. The sight was enough to make her stop and suck in her breath.

How could a place like this exist?

A stone bridge spanned the waterfall that plummeted down a cliff; a glistening stream feeding the lake, giving life to the entire valley. She had never seen a land so beautiful, so green. Even the city on the far mountainside was beautiful to her. All the white stone buildings shone in the sunlight.

She inhaled a deep, cleansing breath. For the first time, she could imagine her freedom, a freedom possible if she lived in this pure land.

“There she is!”

Rubati whirled in time to see the soldiers rounding the corner; her heart sunk, hope forgotten. She cursed her foolishness and darted across the bridge. Terror washed over her; the pass ended.

She cursed again, searching for something to defend herself with. She was a malnourished, fifteen-year-old waif, but she wasn’t about to be taken without a fight. She snatched the first fallen branch she saw. It was nearly as big as she was, half-rotten, tipped in yellowed pine needles, but it would do. There wasn’t time to find a more manageable weapon.

The soldiers’ leader dismounted and strode toward her, stopping just outside the reach of her branch. He studied her exhausted, dirt-smeared form, and his features softened, pity spreading across his face. As if he could feel pity.

He spoke soothingly, hand outstretched. “Look, don’t make this harder than it has to be. If you don’t give us trouble, I’ll take you to Corcenia, and you can be a slave in my house. No hard labor, just simple chores. It would be an easy life. Come quietly, and it’s yours.”

If he had been closer, Rubati would have spit in his eye. “I’d rather die!”

The soldier drew back, acting like he might say something, but Rubati knew better. She saw his hand drift toward his blade.

She attacked before he could even touch the hilt, jabbing at his face with her branch. He grunted and fumbled for his sword. The other soldiers yelled and rushed at her, swords drawn. She yanked her branch upward, and it collided with a sword. The impact snapped her branch and wrenched it from her hand, throwing her off balance. She fell, looking up in time to see the flash of metal, poised to finish her off. She braced herself, but didn’t look away as the tip dove for her heart.

Before it touched her, another blade intercepted it, and it flew from the soldier’s hand.

Rubati gasped at the sudden appearance of the man holding the sword; she could have sworn that he hadn’t been there a moment before. He stood over her, staring down the soldiers. His voice was quiet, but in the dead silence, they all heard the one word he spoke.

“Leave.”

The soldiers stood in stunned silence, unable to believe the man’s audacity in ordering them around. But the man just stood there, waiting for their reply.

Their leader, face bleeding from her attack, spoke up. “No.”

The man turned to face him, eyes flashing. “She is under my protection. You will leave her, and you will leave my land, or we will fight.”

The leader snorted. “One man against eight Corcenians? We were born with swords in our hands!”

The man didn’t react, just repeated, “Leave.”

Silence fell. Rubati couldn’t see their faces, but could imagine the battle of wills raging between them. Without warning, the fight began- swords flashing and blood spilling. Rubati rolled onto her stomach and crawled away from the skirmish, kicks landing on her sides as the men fought.

Then it was over. No more yells, no more fighting. Only fleeing footfalls and the receding gallop of horses.

It took Rubati a moment to register what she heard, before she forced herself to stand and look at the carnage, at the stranger standing alone. The grass, his limbs, his hair, his sword – all of them were covered in blood. It made her shudder. She searched again for a way out, concerned the man would attack, but he didn’t seem to have that intention. He didn’t look at her, just turned and walked upstream, washing the blood away.

He hung his head, as if he could feel her gaze trained on him. “I’m not going to hurt you, you know.”

Rubati didn’t respond; only then the man angled his head toward her. His green eyes searched hers. “I’m Eniryt.”

“Rubati.”

Eniryt nodded and looked away. “I’m sorry you had to see that. I didn’t want to fight them, but it was the only way I knew to secure your freedom.”

She gaped. “You what?”

Eniryt returned her gaze. “I fought them so you could be free.” He nodded to the valley below. “Down there.”

She stared at him, then at the valley, disbelieving. “Free?”

He nodded. “That’s what you want, isn’t it, Rubati?”

A soft laugh slipped from her, tears gathering. “Yes,” she whispered. “Yes, that’s what I want.”

Eniryt smiled, rising. “Come.”

He strode cliff’s edge and stepped onto a narrow path chiseled from the rock. Rubati hadn’t been able to see it from where she stood, but now that Eniryt stepped onto it, she followed without question. She left behind the slavery, the Purification, the chase, the blood. Now there was only to go forward, into this pure land. She had a new life ahead of her. She was free.

~~~~~~~

I hope you enjoyed it!  Any critiques or suggestions?

Have you ever participated in a Blog Battle?

Tally ho! ~Natasha.

~~~~~~~

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49 thoughts on ““Flight”

  1. Beaton says:

    Hi Natasha
    I loved this story, I presume Guardian is something you are working on from this tale I picture it as some bleak landscape all grey, covered in snow and so cold… are the rivers frozen would have to read again icy cold water maybe lol.
    Its quite gripping the story and suddenly; who is the man who suddenly appears? He knows her name? Why does he say my land? questions in my head
    And what happens next??? are they really free? just like that?

    welcome to BlogBattle I dabble in it sometimes hope to read more of you, I do hope you stay and be a regular, think of it not as using up your creative juice but a shot of Red Bull maybe hahaha
    ~B

    Like

    • Hi, Beaton,

      Yes, that’s right, Guardian is my current WIP. I have a link to the synopsis in the sidebar. And actually, while the part that Rubati was running through was quite bleak and cold, the cold is largely due to the altitude. It’s probably getting close to fall at about the time of the story, so the air and water would definitely be cold, but seeing as Eniryt was able to rinse the blood off his arms and sword, it’s not frozen. He’ll just have to bundle up a bit later. 😛

      *grins* I’m glad you enjoyed it so much! I’m especially glad that I was able to convey that sense of mystery around Eniryt’s character. There are definitely a lot of things going on with him that I’m really excited about.

      Haha, I’m sure I’ll stick around and participate in more! I read your story and greatly enjoyed it!

      Tally ho!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. FaithSong says:

    Wow, Natasha. Your writing never ceases to amaze me. The emotion, the desperation was evident through your narration…
    This really is a stunning story. 0.0

    I’ve never even heard of a #Blogbattle, but I will go check it out right now. *nod*

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This was extremely vivid writing. You did an excellent job of making us feel her desperation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. phoenixgrey85 says:

    I really liked this. Both your writing and the story are gripping. I gather that Guardian is a larger project you are working on and this is set in its world. It seems like quite an intriguing world, I’ll go and have a look at more about it in a moment.

    I loved the closing lines of this story. The story has enough information to be able to understand it, but not to much that it gets bogged down.

    I do blogbattle every week, each week being a new part in a serial story. It’s fun, and keeps me working on something other than my WIP which is in the revising stage at the moment.

    Hope to see you in the battle again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Phoenix! I’m so glad you liked it. Having a closing that wasn’t too bulky was definitely a concern for me.

      Oh yeah, I saw your entry for this week! I didn’t realize it was a series, though! I’ll have to check out the previous installments. 😀

      And yeah, Guardian is in the… Somewhere between doing the worldbuilding that I neglected to do the first time around and getting the plot straightened out. 😛 It’s as stubborn as a mule.

      And I think I’ll definitely be around. I don’t know if it’ll be an every week thing, but we’ll see. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixgrey85 says:

        My WIP is in about the same place. :0 I wrote it without much of a plot and it has wonky worldbuilding and and plot holes that could qualify as canyons. 😀 I wish you luck.
        I hope you enjoy the other Winter stories if you get around to writing them. 🙂
        And I look forward to reading more of your writing. The blogbattle community is a wonderful one, and really worth doing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, oh goodness, I hear you! Let’s see… In a little while, I’ll be headed into my third draft (neither drafts one nor two were actually properly finished due to lack of plotting), only now my characters have decided to flip everything on its head! One of my characters is very very old, and then I decided to make the entire story occur when he was much younger, thus removing multiple millennia of character growth and that world’s history, and in addition having to rework the history of my main character! *sigh* Yeah. I definitely identify with the holes qualifying as canyons thing. 😛

        *grins* I’m sure I’ll participate in more! Again, it may not be a weekly thing, but even every couple weeks will be really fun! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixgrey85 says:

        I’ve just decided to alter the time setting of mine. So that’s thrown everything into disarray. And I think a couple of characters are heading for the chop… So many variables in one story. One changes and it’s like the butterfly effect. I’m sure it’ll work out though. At least I hope it will…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my word, yes! Time settings will definitely do that! I can name at least two characters that ate definitely going to die, two more who potentially will, and two more whose roles may be downplayed. *rolls eyes* Characters and the games they play with us. But yeah, I hope it turns out well, for both mine and yours. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixgrey85 says:

        Thanks, I hope so too. Stories are such tricky little things. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That they are! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, and the worldbuilding. Let’s not even mention the worldbuilding. I didn’t see fit to sit down and actually start DOING worldbuilding until about halfway into the second draft! Yeah. Very wonky worldbuilding. I definitely hear you. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixgrey85 says:

        I totally sympathise. Worldbuilding is hard, so I kind of procrastinate on it. Probably shouldn’t do that anymore. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh definitely! I think that whenever I finish Guardian, my next project not in that world will have the majority of the worldbuilding done before I get to the first draft… Ideally. Of course, ideally doesn’t always happen, but still. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixgrey85 says:

        We live and learn. The hard way. Usually. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you joined in this week, Natasha!
    You’re writing in this vivid and holds my attention. I’m interested to learn more about Guardian now!
    So many questions, like why did Eniryt set her free? Why is she important to him? I’m so curious to know. 😀

    I hope you’ll join in on more BlogBattles. I try to write a piece every week from my Madnes WIP for it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m so happy Guardian’s got your attention! It always makes me happy when people are interested in my baby. 🙂

      Yeah. I don’t know if I’ll turn this into a series or not… Probably not, actually, because this is kind of right before the start of my novel, and to turn it into a series would start to encroach on the novel itself. But I might work a bit more out of my storyworld.

      And I’m sure I will! I really enjoyed doing this one, though it might not be a weekly phenomenon. It’s still going to be really fun when I get to do it, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s such a great beginning to a story, I’d be surprised if someone wasn’t interested in it! Will Flight become it’s own series separate from Guardian, someday?
        I ended up doing that with my WIP, but I think my spin-off will become a novella instead of a separate series from my WIP. Hey, Flight could be an interesting novella!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! And I don’t think so, at least not yet. Before I could do that, I think I would have to have a firmer grasp on the actual novel. But maybe someday! Working more with Rubati has definitely occurred to me. 🙂

        Like

  6. Grace says:

    This is fantastic. I mean, really, I was blown away. I’m really curious about the mystery man. You conveyed action and feeling vividly and convincingly. Beautiful.

    Only one criticism, and it’s not really anything compared to everything that makes this piece shine: at the end you say that she left behind the purification and everything… but before she was concerned about that…. I don’t understand how meeting this man and removing the threat to her person made her cease to worry about these big picture things. But maybe I’m just dense lol.

    Anyway, that’s just a minor issue. I was hooked all the way through this piece. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it! And you are right — it isn’t Eniryt and the lack of threat to her person that’s let her not worry about the Purification. Rather, it’s the land itself. For her the valley represents both a physical freedom and a freedom from the guilt of the Purification. It’ll definitely affect her in years to come (I have some idea of where her story would lead if I followed it.) She hasn’t stopped worrying about them, although it may seem like that from the way the story ended. Rather, she’s just so relieved to actually have a life worth living ahead of her that for just a little bit, she doesn’t have to worry about the big picture.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. blondeusk says:

    Hey Natasha, loved your story! Want to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is fan-tas-TIC. Riveting. Mysterious. Well-written. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Welcome to the Battle! I love this little introductory piece to your current WIP. I enjoy these and have done a couple of my own. It has given your Guardians WIP a great bit of intrigue to pique our interests. I hope you continue to participate as much and whenever you can!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on winning for PURE week! 🙂 Sorry I’m late on the announcement! Would you like to do a quick little interview as the winner? email me: writingraci@gmail.com 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. […] of the readership, and she’s won “Pure” week. Her story for this theme is called Flight, and you really should go check it out if you haven’t read it […]

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] exciting news!  For one thing, I won Rachael Ritchey’s #BlogBattle for my story, “Flight“!  For another, she’s interviewing me on her blog today!  I’m very honored and […]

    Like

  13. Ralf Richii says:

    Encore, Please. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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