Rebellion is my newest baby. I read a really fantastic fantasy a while ago called Tigana . I found it rich in character and it did something amazing - it didn't fall into the trap of "good and evil" that so many fantasies do. I also find it interesting that more women tend to understand and appreciate the story then men. That's probably because the book focuses on character and not action.
Anyway, that influenced my rewrite of redemption a LOT, but also started the idea of a new tale, that and a really fabulous, very dark gundam wing fanfiction story that I don't know if I can find again (it went the way of so many during the fanfiction.net nc17 purge)
So these are some "character introductory scenes" from rebellion. Warning, this is very rough and not in ANY order :)
Ferelith trembled in terror. In just two weeks the empire had almost completely consumed Innes. There was nowhere left now but Avalon. And her brother had not returned. She had been running a pitiful resistence from the island, desperately trying to outflank the invaders. But even with her skills there was no way she could overcome the sheer numbers of the enemy. The entire weight of the empire had been thrown against her little world. Her home was being devoured by the dragon. She paced along the corridor, swearing under her breath. She had never thought her brotherâ€™s hair brained scheme would work. He should have stayed here with her. Stayed to fight to the end. Not gone racing off with some stupid notion of cutting of the dragonâ€™s head. How could he get close enough to the princess to kill her? How could he then manage to escape?
Now he was gone and Innes was captured and the castle was surrounded and her friends were probably deadâ€¦she took a deep breath, fighting to keep the terror from flooding her mind. She had nowhere left to run, no one to turn to. Sheâ€™d sent the remaining servants from the castle long ago. There were no guards or army left to send away. All slaughtered. It was only a matter of time before the empire found the capital. And sheâ€™d be killed in the manner of all royal captives, sacrificed to one of the paganâ€™s hideous statues. She laughed bitterly, the blood of a royal virgin to celebrate their victory.
She stopped pacing in front of the desk and moved towards the alcove that overlooked the sea. Avalon, Innes, soon they would be just a memory, like the elemental spirits who guarded the land for so long. She slowly sat in a bench under a window and looked out to the sea, watching the mists in bittersweet sorrow. They would be here soon, two days, tomorrowâ€¦perhaps evenâ€¦
â€œPrincess Ferelith, I presume.â€ The voice made her jump and she resisted the urge to scream. Instead she turned around slowly and stood, willing her now trembling limbs to cooperate.
â€œI am she, the last survivor of the glorious bloodline of the sea. You must be the bastard who will drink my blood in some vulgar ceremony to your stone statues.â€ Her voice was cool, although it shook a little. Even she didnâ€™t know if the tremors were from anger or terror.
The man laughed softly and moved forward into the room, idly examining the gold leaf furniture, the books and maps, the thick rugs covering shining wooden floors. He ran a hand over the back of a plush chaise and Ferelith shivered at the way his long fingers caressed the heavy tapestry cover. He finally moved toward the alcove where she sat. He stood right in front of her, staring down over his long nose. She resisted the urge to notice the bright gleam of his peridot eyes, and the sheen on his long, curling hair. Demons loved to cloak themselves in beauty, she lectured in her mind. His voice was now whisper soft.
â€œAh, my dear, you have it wrong. We donâ€™t kill the virgins, we just rape them.â€ He lifted her limp hand and bowed over it as though theyâ€™d just been introduced. â€œAnd I must say, I didnâ€™t expect to look forward to the little ceremony quite so much. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Duke Varian, your captor for this evening. And also your escort to the Imperial Palace.â€
â€œNo thank you, Iâ€™d rather just die here, in the land of my birth.â€ She rose slowly, the knife hidden behind her back.
For fifteen years sheâ€™d watched the coast, the first ten with her father, and for the last five, alone. Fifteen years since the death of their princess, fifteen years since the dark empire pulled back from the brink of invasion. And now she kept her eyes fixed on the dark, pulsing ocean, desperate to separate the red sails of the imperial fleet from the white and blue of the sea.
Sheridan hung onto the branch of the tall tree that had been her perch for so many years. The twisted, dark roots of the conifer clung to the rocky clifftop like spiderwebs. The rough bark bit into her hands and the sharp needles stung her skin, but sheâ€™d grown immune to the discomfort. As a child sheâ€™d sat in her fathers lap and told him stories about the shapes in the clouds. She hadnâ€™t understood the vigil then, hadnâ€™t understood why he never turned from the dancing waves, never understood why he came to this spot every day, in any weather, at the time when the tide would let a fleet over the vast shoal protecting the island.
Innes, her homeland, a rich place of green and mist, where the old ways still prospered. Sheridan fisted her hand and glanced at the sun. Only an hour more and the sea would recede, returning the protection the elements had granted to their sanctuary thousands of years ago. Her name meant â€œprotectorâ€ in the old language, the language still spoken in the villages, although the empires flat speech had overtaken the lilting song of the old tongue in the cities. And so she had taken on her fatherâ€™s duty, her fathers curse. She watched and prayed that she would never seeâ€¦
The flash of red was just over the horizon, barely visible as a swell rose and fell on the far edge of the shallow waters. She held her breath. There it was again, whipping over the whitecaps, standing out like a splash of blood. She lifted the glass to her eye, the old telescope made long ago by a craftsman on Avalon. It still displayed crisp, clear. The boat surged into the waves, hid behind another roll, and then was close enough to be seen clearly. And the wind was at their back. She lowered the telescope, all the blood draining from her face. There were thousands on the horizon. More ships than she had seen in her life. And they were headed for the stretch of beach she called home.
She was down the tree and across the barren cliff so swiftly that her chest burned. She had to reach them in time, had to warn them. But the damn wind had picked up. Sheâ€™d never remembered the path to the lookout being so long. And the damn elders had refused to continue the signal lights. Theyâ€™d frowned and clucked. Fifteen years was too long, the invaders wouldnâ€™t return. Theyâ€™d had their fill of death and destruction. The breeze scraped against her body, holding her back, while at the same time allowing the destroyers to gain on their target.
The trees seemed to push her ahead. She could hear them in her mind, their song of danger and sorrow sweeping through her soul. The element of her village, the great tree where they sang and danced and made love. The woods understood her panic, shared her distress. Maybe the elemental of wood would come forth herself, green hands wide, and crush the invaders. Sheridan gasped every breath.
She arrived too late. The tree was burning, its wide branches groaning in silent protest. The village too was ablaze, the wind whipping the fire into a frenzy of violence and heat. The ships, with their brilliant red plumage, were pulled along the shore and spewing thousands of warriors on the shore. There were bodies everywhere, blood soaking into the ground like the pagan sacrifices the empire held to their false gods. Sheridan stopped at the point where the forest thicket disappeared, leaving only the smooth grass of the village common. She longed to race forward and slaughter the men, but that would mean her death. And she had to warn the next village. So she crept behind the nearest bush, eyes burning.
The great tree at the center of the village shuddered and moaned. A small child ran forward, arms outstretched. Sheridan watched in a moment of absolute horror as the tree shuddered and began to collapse. And from the ashes rose the green lady, arms outstretched toward the child. Sheridan was frozen for a moment, in astonishment, in grief. The green lady had returned, but to choose a child as a vessel? The terrified shout of the attackers drew her gaze. Theyâ€™d stopped their massacre and noticed the scene unfolding. Their leader, a slender man with hair the color of sunset and eyes the same green as the spirit now advancing on the child, drew his sword and ran, a bloodcurdling cry in the air.
Sheridan moved. Her long legs swept across the grass like the gentle deer that lived in the forest. Her lungs no longer burned, her chest expanded and filled. She had to save the child. As she watched the spirit entered the little girlâ€™s body and the child screamed in both terror and ecstasy. Sheridan dove, tackling the child and rolling across the now scorched grass. She continued the motion back to her feet, with the now shuddering girl held close in her arms. And they entered the woods with the Imperial general and his guard in hot pursuit.
Her thighs hurt. She blocked the fatigue from her mind and stared at the overly opulent carving on the head of the bed. Twisted faces of satyrs and nymphs leered at her, their bodies fornicating in positions that looked more painful then pleasurable. The painting on the wall was as obscene as the carvings on the headboard. She focused on the eyes of a particular creature in the travesty of art. It was a woman, her eyes hard and cold as she plied a whip on the back of a kneeling man. Her lips curved halfway between a grimace and a smirk. This was the longest the bastard had ever lasted, almost an hour now. She needed to finish him before the priestessâ€™s spell wore off. Her internal muscles clamped down tighter and she moved faster. Her legs shook in protest.
The body below her shuddered and a cry erupted from the manâ€™s throat. His hands reached for her, drawing her body against him. She felt the tension leave her body and sighed in relief. There was a long moment of silence and she could feel the sweat on her body dribbling down her chest. Then the hands lifted her off easily, followed by a low grunt.
â€œPerhaps this time youâ€™ve managed to conceive, woman.â€ There was a long moment of silence. She kept her head bowed low, hands clasped in front of her naked body, and ignored the disgusting feeling of his seed slowly dripping down the inside of her leg.
â€œIf it is the will of the goddess, my emperor.â€ The man on the bed growled and stood. Two slaves immediately rushed forward, wet cloths sweeping away the evidence of their recent activities. Her eyes swept up his figure and down again. Some might have found his body attractive, lean, muscular and tall. The two shared the same white-blonde hair from their father, but she had inherited her motherâ€™s pale blue eyes, while his were a strange brilliant purple. His face was controlled, emotionless. She felt only disgust and the bile rose in the back of her throat.
â€œSheâ€™s not seen fit to answer your prayers yet. Perhaps you should try the stronger power of the god.â€ She kept her head bowed and tried not to shudder. He lifted her chin and stared at her face as though he could read her soul. However, she kept her gaze straight ahead, and her emotions hidden. She couldnâ€™t show her fear, her anger, and her absolute hatred of this man. â€œIâ€™m beginning to think I made a poor bargain. Iâ€™ve fulfilled my part of the deal. Now itâ€™s time for you to fulfill yours.â€ She jerked her head from his grasp. Her voice was crisp but even.
â€œI promised to become your concubine, to share your bed when you wished how you wished. I may share the same fate as my sister, unable to bear a child. I cannot change what the goddess has decreed.â€ Another long silence stretched between the two and the man sighed, his shoulders dropping.
â€œI seem to have no luck at all with picking fertile women.â€ He waved her from the room with one hand and she gladly obeyed, thankful to be out of his reach, desperate to wash the sweat and grime and his scent from her body. The ships would land today. Just a few more days of this, and then she would have her revenge. Her mind vibrated with the dark thoughts. For a moment, she imagined the death, the carnage that would follow the great army. The burning homes, children ripped from their mothers arms. That entire accursed island would finally fall to the greater power. She stopped in front of a large mirror in the hall, idly admiring her sweep of hair. It was in a ridiculous style that looked like she had two dumplings on top of her head, but it was her way of remembering, her way of honoring a mother long dead. She smiled again, seeing the suffering and destruction she would bring to the last free country on the planet. Then sheâ€™d personally see that every one of the fucking witches burned alive.