Quest Lost

/ By sainthood [+Watch]

Replies: 4 / 13 days 22 hours 54 minutes 23 seconds

just a thread for my personal writing, may link here for examples of my writing. Some are part of a story I'm working on, others are self-contained
I'm trying out a couple of styles to see what works best for me
feel free to pm feedback

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Idris awoke in a heavy sweat, drenched in salt. His every breath was shallow and fearful, heart racing as his body shot up out of the dream. The blanket on top of him suddenly felt constrictive, like the fabric currently clenched in his fists was suffocating him. It seemed as though the sheets of his bed were wrapped around his lungs, and he could stand to be inside no longer. Shedding the thin blanket, he slipped pants up his wide hips and put a robe on, not bothering to don a shirt under it. After tucking his laces quickly into his boots, he stepped outside and slammed the door behind him. As the night air filled him lungs, he remembered something his friend had told him. “It only gets easier, friend. And then someday, you just go numb to it.” Terrible as being numb to the world sounded, he was sure it felt better than where he was now.
Waking up in the night was inconvenient as far as being social went, but he didn’t mind that part. He didn’t do well with people, anyways. Idris had always been quiet and, for the most part, unnoticeable. Those about town knew him well as a lovable scoundrel, but not many truly knew him. At night, he was known to meander about town, talking to tourists, giving tours of the city, performing magic tricks, talking to nobles, and somehow coming away from the night with ten more gold than he started with.
He walked into the tavern with a light grin on his heavy face, preferring the hum of the main room to the whistle of coyotes outside. The Gilded Urn, now owned by his childhood friend, had been a second home to him since childhood. The warm glow of the hearth greeted him at the same time as the woman at the bar. A sweet half-orc with cropped bangs and wide eyes smiled at Idris as he entered, wiping down his place at the bar.
“Good evening, Minye,” he chimed as he sat down.
“Morning, Idris,” she winked. “Any business tonight or just visiting?”
He clicked his tongue, still deciding. “I’ll take whatever stew is freshest,” he proposed.
The girl walked away, a little extra swing in her step as she left the bar for the kitchen. Minye was his best friend’s sister, but she wasn’t an unattractive girl, either, by orc standards. She was muscular and her face was wide, but her toothy, tusky smile distracted from any “flaws” she might have. Within moments, she returned with a hot bowl of stew. Upon first glance, he guessed it was venison. He let the warmth of the inn and his company warm him for a moment before looking up again. When he did, he caught the eye of another woman he knew well.
“Olana, what’s this baby news I hear of?” he inquired, voice light.
The woman, smaller than most but exceedingly eye catching, took up the seat next to him. She smiled and put a hand on his back, nearly touching his skin through his threadbare robe. If he had worn a tunic underneath, the fabric would have shown through easily, but his skin almost blended in with the rough, burlap bolts of his robe.
“I suppose I will tell you,” she paused, jokingly, “when Lorca is present.”
Idris examined her heartily. Her blonde braids almost matched her light hazel eyes in color, but neither of them were as warm as her deep, honeyed skin.
  sainthood / 6d 23h 46m 0s
The meadow whispered softly around her, bees buzzing, wind blowing, birds singing and other syrupy sounds she could barely bear to hear anymore. It was nearly midnight and still she longed for the electric noise of humming cars and a broken air conditioner: the only two tones that could put her to sleep. The field itself didn’t sigh the same way as it had in the winter when its very roots were frozen. Spring was a different look on both of them.
Her own face had started to change. Where she had once been round, healthy, she had become waifish. Her fingers were skeletal in their look and their creaking and her cheeks were gaunt. The rings she once wore had ceased to fit. Even her hair, formerly golden, luscious, was greying and thinning with each day. Her own daughter sighed for days on end, remarking severely on how heartbreak ages a woman. Deep lines around her lips taunted her with memories of past smiles.
She had gotten old in the forty, fifty years they had loved each other. She had gotten ancient in the two months since his passing. It was one month before she spoke to anyone, another two weeks before she started going through his items. Charms, trinkets, notebooks, old things he used to love that she couldn’t throw away. She had begged for their apartment to be left untouched, but the children were greedy. The children were greedy and the rent still needed to be paid and one pension couldn’t cut it.
It was terrible for her; to see her own children argue and make a fuss about things their father loved. The eldest wanted his piano, the youngest couldn’t live without his collection of clocks. Coincidentally, none of eight children wanted anything with purely sentimental value. That is, except for my mother.
My mother was baby number four, the first girl and her father’s pride and joy. After his passing, she didn’t care about the money. She was determined to help her mother out in any way she could, even offering for her to come live with us in the country. My grandparents had lived in their small city apartment for well over four decades, having raised their brood in the same three-bedroom home. Each of them had married and moved out, but Gram and Gramp stayed put. I think that’s why it was so hard for her to move in with us; she had never relied on anyone but him.
My mother thought she could help her move on. Mum had been dealing with the loss of her husband for six years at that point, and she figured we were doing just fine after a bit of time. So, Gram did move in to what had once been the guest room. Her room was right next to mine and I swore I could hear her crying at night. Mum told me to mind my business.
Gramp’s stuff was moved into the attic, after which I was barred from entering. Mum said that we shouldn’t look at his things, we shouldn’t talk about him, and we shouldn’t linger on the past too long. Gram and I had a hard time on that. She didn’t sleep most nights. Some nights she would cry, others she would just go out into the field and sit.
“When you’re older you’ll understand,” she told me on one such night, after I had followed her into the meadow. “There’s something about having something that’s all your own.”
I laid down beside her with my head in her lap. She didn’t look at me, but I looked at her. She was sad and I was eight and I didn’t understand. “Like your apartment?” I asked, and my voice was small compared to the crickets.
“And your grandfather,” she added. She always smiled when she talked about him, even if there was pain there, too. I looked at her for a long time without saying anything, half because I didn’t know what to say and half because she was just so beautiful.
  sainthood / 11d 47m 27s
Grandmama patted her on the back in thanks and squinted at the recipe in front of her. For the classic breads and pastries, there was no need for paper recipes or, probably, even measuring cups. Those they both knew by heart. But these new ‘seasonal’ treats, pumpkin and mint and, Gods forbid, nog, were foreign to the older woman. “It used to be,” she would often say, “you ate the same thing year round and you liked it. Now we’re spoiled.” She always said it like it was a joke, but trying to keep up with the changing times was running the old woman ragged these days.
“Try this,” grandmama beckoned, motioning toward the mixing bowl. Olana swiped her finger in the batter, making sure to get a red fleck of peppermint. As soon as she put it in her mouth, she was, as always, amazed by her grandmother’s baking prowess. “How is it?”
Instead of a verbal response, Olana pinched her delicate thumb and forefinger in a sign of approval. Even if she could be old fashioned, grandmama definitely still knew what she was doing when it came to her craft. Perhaps that’s why the bakery stayed open so long, even after her grandfather passed away.
She was deep in thought as grandmama tapped her lightly on the back. “I’ll bring this to the cellar, dear. You grab the last bag and bring it to the inn, okay?”
Olana did as she was told, putting the last sack of flour on a high shelf in the back closet. She untied her apron and threw it under the back counter as she fudged her time card for the day. She could afford losing money on those four hours, but her grandmother couldn’t. “I’m headed out, grandmama,” she called as she opened the door, gathering the inn delivery in her robes. There was a faint goodbye under the bell of the moving door.
It was freezing out as Olana clambered down the storefront steps, but nobody seemed to care as they all continued off in every direction. The crowded street moved around her, hustle and bustle and no regard for silly girls who should’ve been home already. She pulled her hood over her ears, covering the mess of blonde braids that was stuffed into a ponytail for work. Bits of chatter caught her attention here or there, but she couldn’t be bothered to pay any mind to anything that wasn’t her fingertips frozen still or the visible clouds of breath in front of her. Olana usually liked the cold, but damn if she wasn’t ready to go home and cocoon herself in blankets. She wished she had gloves or mittens, but sufficed to keep her hands curled into balls of fabric struggling to hold some 10 loaves of bread and a heavier number of pastries. Her robes weren’t thick, either, just green linens she’d stolen from her mother’s closet. Her list of problems piled into her mind thick and heavy as her feet shuffled through the thin layer of slush and mud on the path.
She was starting to get an uneasy feeling from her stomach to her numb, twitching finger tips, especially after she passed a glass-windowed storefront, catching a glimpse of her reflection. She stopped for a moment and appraised her own face. Something about her looked different, though she couldn’t place it. The birds around her seemed to be feeling the same way, crooning as she passed, holding her gaze for just too long and landing on the ground in front of her every few feet.
Olana tried to shake off her nerves as she entered the inn. “Minye, the delivery is in,” she announced. Minye looked up from the bar through her dark bangs and grinned, her sharp tusks curling her lips. “Is Lorca in yet? I have some news about the baby,” Olana grinned.
“Baby news!” squawked Minye. She was excited to be an aunt, rushing around the bar to place a small hand on her best friend’s bulging abdomen.
  sainthood / 13d 13h 51m 31s
The woods around her bristled and chirped as she stepped through, not making a sound. She slipped through the brush seemingly unnoticed by nearby fauna. Sunlight poured through holes in the tree cover and she relished in the warmth of it for only a moment before she heard a snapping of branches. The sound was accompanied by harsh breathing and the feeling of evil surrounding her.
The corners of her thin eyes became nearly right angles, lids up wide and pupils small with fear. The thing, large and menacing, stalked toward her. Its lips were curled into a snarl and its sharp teeth glistened. Her breathing became ragged and fearful as the beast's monstrous paws crushed the dirt and leaves in front of her. The creature's growls were the only sounds crossing the crisp morning air until she heard lighter steps and the crunching of vegetation under hard boots. The monster, almost like a raging wolf in stance, turned its teratoid head to the noise. Realizing they were no longer alone, the goblin-dog lunged for her neck, shrieking barks through its open jaws.
From some yards away, she heard someone scream her name. Snapping back to herself, she dove to the side and rolled into a divot in the ground. Just as she moved out of the way, an arrow whizzed by and pierced the creature in the neck. It turned its thick, bleeding neck toward the shooter, who unloaded one more shot directly into one of its eyes. She lowered her head and said a small prayer as the archer, her brother, ran toward her.
“It is best to stay alert, Enya. This world is dangerous,” Kayan said as he helped his little sister stand.
Enya nodded, taking his hand and pulling herself up. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. She pulled her hood back over her head, skin prickling at the feeling of the fabric against the stubble growing on her scalp. Her hair had been completely bare when they entered the woods, but the weeks had not been kind to her appearance. The paint on her olive skin had started to peel and her eyes grew heavier every hour. The miles between her and the monastery made her head and heart heavy. Her feet were tired, her shoulder ached, but they weren’t even halfway to Oar’s Rest. Her dark blue eyes began to wet with fatigue. Every few meters, Kayan looked back at her. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking, but if she had to guess, she’d say he was frustrated with her.
“Do you need to stop?” he asked, some twenty miles from the coast.
Enya hid her shock at how gentle his voice sounded. “No, I’m alright. We should get there as fast as possible,” she appeased.
Kayan stopped in his tracks. He turned to face her and he was, as always, unreadable. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking, and it made her uneasy. At least, he didn’t seem angry with her. “Little sister, the time might come to be a hero, but you need not make that time come too early,” he said. His eyes were kind, but the rest of his face was stern. “There’s an inn nearby, we can stop there.”
It took all of Enya’s strength not to sigh in relief. She wasn’t sure what to expect when Kayan asked her to join him, to run away from the monastery and promise not to look back. They had barely talked about anything at all, and he hadn’t explained why he left in the first place. For the first day, he listened as she babbled nonstop about how much she had missed him, how much she missed the monastery, and how much she secretly was desperately in love with her bunkmate, whom she would never see again. That first day was the first time in years she had been allowed to speak for more than one hour per day and she relished in the sound of her own voice. Waking up the second morning, though, she realized he wasn’t going to talk back. She wondered if he was listening to what she said, or if he was purposely ignoring her. She became quiet again. They walked in silence until they reached the inn, Enya’s eyes at her feet the whole way.
  sainthood / 13d 13h 52m 27s
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