I just started writing this yesterday, although the information that I have created surrounding the elves, the half-elves, and the humans of this world is getting to be in depth (I've been musing over this for more than a year now). I finally decided to try and write some of the ideas in my head down and this is where I've ended up. I have a prologue written but at this point I'm not really sure if I really want to use it (and even if I did decide to use it, it needs some major fix ups).
I've been calling the story "Rip Tide" so far.
So I would greatly appreciate some feedback...mostly along the lines of how quickly I managed to put you to sleep. Obviously I haven't written much even though I've spent about 2 hours on it so far...it's been a plod along type process. So...comments, please??
The ebony sky was warmed with various hues of pink and orange, as it usually was when the iron bell jarred the sprawling compound’s residents from their sleep. Tide Morgan had long been awake, seated quietly on her cot, her back to the room of dozing students. She had woken with the birds, as she usually did, and sat like always on the edge of her bed. As she gazed out a window at the blushing morning sky, her hands absently, but firmly, handled a slender metal sword. She had just finished polishing the blade and now sat eagerly awaiting the sun to leave its bashful attire along the tops of the tree so that she could see the sword gleam as it was meant to.
She glanced over her shoulder as her peers stirred from their bed sheets, the sleep slowly but surely dissolving from their faces as they settled their feet on the floor and rose up from their cots. No one lingered beneath the thin covers, yearning for those last precious minutes of slumber.
Tide turned away as they began to dress in the forest green uniforms of the compound and pressed her lips together in order to repress the sigh that tickled at the tip of her tongue. From here they would all leave their assigned building and join the rest of their peers for a quick dip in West Pond. After their elvish tutors thought their stench was gone, they would herd their half-elf students to the opposite side of the compound where their priests, the Dlasieu, would lead them in Morning Prayer. Only then were they allowed to settle in the mess hall for some food.
It was a closely regimented schedule that followed them into the afternoon, monitoring weapons practice and the teaching of human mannerisms, brief dips in the pool and still more practice in the weapons yard. The students of the Dlasieu were only released after Twilight Prayer and even then they were still expected to practice what they had learned that day.
After thirty years Tide was more than tired with the redundant stretch of her days.
Ushered to the pond along the northwest side of the enclosure, Tide phased out the worn-down path and the thick walls of bramble that narrowly encased the multiple, one-story buildings. The naked bodies of both men and women, small children and muscled adults, surrounded her, although she no longer gaped and tried to hide herself like she used to when she was four and newly arrived at the compound. It was just another part of desensitizing the half-elves to the weaknesses of the humans and it worked, usually, for Tide had occasionally seen some of the weaker ones sneaking off to investigate forbidden waters.
Tide stuck to the rules, obeying because she saw no benefit in rebelling. There was nowhere to go and even if there was she had no idea how to get there. They had brought her to the compound when she was four and, no matter how hard she tried to remember the road she had traveled, it faded into a lush maze of trees and bushes. She only vaguely recalled pictures of the ocean with its thick stretches of sand, the sea grass that whistled in the wind, and the shimmer of the sun on the seemingly endless expanse of water. The smell of salt was something she could no longer bring to mind, just as the sound of the seabirds and the sailors on the ships were gone, swallowed into the sable reaches of the forest.
She had long ago surrendered herself to the Dlasieu and now she knelt before the uninteresting surface of the forest lake they called a shrine to honor the Mother. She had allowed the images to fade away; after thirty years of confinement there was little hope that in ten more years she would see beyond the bramble walls.
That morning, however, her eyes found their way not to the lake, but to the Dlasieu that stood upon a platform overlooking the half-elves and their prayers. Among the six priests stood a seventh man dressed in pale green that gleamed gold where the early morning light glanced off the threads. She recognized the dark jade tree sewn into the front of his tunic: he was a courier from the king.
She bowed her head as the eyes of Dlasieu traveled in her direction, their gazes scrutinizing, displeasing. When she felt their attention shift away again, she lifted her cerulean eyes and peered up at them through a thick lock of her long, chestnut hair. Couriers did not come to the compound often and, when they did, they rarely saw them so early in the day. The messenger’s arrival heralded another disappearance of a student: someone would be chosen to perform a duty for the king.
What was “a duty for the king”, anyway? Tide glowered in the direction of the Dlasieu and the courier as the prayer ended and they were commanded to stand. She had worked for years to perfect the movements of her weapons and the language of the humans, and for what? She chewed at the bottom of her lip as she turned with the crowd to shuffle in the direction of the mess hall. She had worked blindly for the past thirty years, developing her body and her skills for some unnamed task. Or perhaps she was doing this all for nothing and she would never be allowed to leave. Instead, they would keep her there to teach the younger ones how to fight.
As she stepped away from the lake, a hand closed around her shoulder. It was soft, the grip weak and undefined. She turned quickly, fighting down the urge to swat away the invasive touch.
She started visibly, her eyes narrowing on the thin elf that stood before her as he almost violently wiped his hand on a small, white handkerchief. “Yes?” She glanced past the elf to the Dlasieu and the courier. They all watched her now, their faces hidden in light as the sun rode higher into the brightening sky. The courier’s tunic gleamed briefly as the men stepped down from the platform, retreating to the far side of the lake where the larger, more decorative buildings had been constructed.
“You are wanted,” the elf stated impatiently, gesturing after the Dlasieu. “Before you eat they have insisted that you join them in the reflection room.”
Insisted; they never requested. “I don’t know where the reflection room is.”
The elf’s pointy-ears visibly twitched as he looked away, his handkerchief lifted to his nose. She could see he would rather spend his time on the other side of the lake with the Dlasieu rather than consorting with her. Absently she wondered what fraud had placed him within the compound.
“This way,” he finally answered. He spun about quickly, wasting little time in hurrying after the departing priests.