I thought I would post a quick excerpt of my current project. Some may have seen part of this before if you read my LJ. It has been revised since that version and much expanded on. One quick warning: This is first draft stage and I have a horrible habit of writing the first draft in passive voice.
Motiya’s fingers gripped the stone rim of the well with such force her knuckles blanched. It would be only too easy to kill them. Never-mind outright slaughter of her brothers was forbidden. The rules were quite clear in this game their father had devised for them. They were permitted to act only through the mortals and the influence of their respective domains. There was to be no eliminating the competition through killing. It was too bad really. She could kill them. She could wrap her hands around Ifrete’s neck and be done with him before he had a chance to set her on fire. And Velin, he too would fall. His waves would freeze, useless pillars of ice, before he ever had the chance to wash her away and save himself. She was death, cold and bitter and silent as a shadow. Only Cyra — she felt her breath hitch at the thought of her sister — could ever sense her coming. Cyra was life, and life was always aware of death.
But where was life now?
Her eyes flashed out over The Garden, a sea of green stretched out before her. It was less a garden and more a forest, though the trees where only the hosts for what was grown here. On any other day she would be struck by the view of Cyra’s domain from up here on The Terrace, captivated by the play of light among the trees, the tiny crystals at the tips of each branch radiating light and scattering it like so many prisms. Today she looked but did not see. When had she last seen Cyra? Spoken to her? Strolled with her through The Garden? It hadn’t been long, of that she was certain. Two days? Three at most.
She looked back into the well watching the image of Cyra smiling a radiant smile out at her subjects from an outer balcony overlooking the square. Her husband and King beside her beaming a smile so bright he seemed to glow. They had an air about them, a practised synchronization which spoke of a long standing association. Motiya watched as Cyra placed a familiar hand on the arm of the King. Only it was not Cyra. It had Cyra’s face, Cyra’s voice, but that thing was not her sister. The movements were wrong, practised, graceful, poised and entirely without the exuberant joy Cyra possessed.
The surface of the water shimmered and the image vanished. Motiya stood, her grip finally loosening on the stone. Velin was here.
“Enjoying our little spectacle, Dearest Sister?” Velin cocked a hip against the edge of the well, a finger trailing lightly over the water’s surface.
Motiya remained silent, watching the swirls and eddies stirred up in the water as each particle leapt after Velin’s finger.
“I sense you are perplexed,” His tone was so dry it grated her ears.
Motiya stood so still she could have been made of the same stone as the well, save for the barest twitching of her lips as she asked, “How long?”
Velin feigned great interest in the swirling waters of the well, “It is difficult to say … Time moves so much differently here than in the mortal realm.”
This time there was not even a quiver of her lips as Motiya projected the question directly into her brother’s mind, “HOW LONG?”
Velin winced. He hated when she did that. She was the only one of the siblings who could speak the way Father did. Only, unlike when their father spoke, Motiya’s voice burned like the Abyss. “100 mortal years give or take a decade or so,” he told her, rubbing gingerly at his temples.
She stepped back from the well and turned to face him, her cloak of liquid shadows swirling silently at the motion. “Which of you was it?”, her question, though spoken aloud, still burned through him laced with her barely contained wrath.
Velin hesitated. Motiya was rarely what one would call friendly. She had a bitter edge about her which kept the rest of her siblings away, all save Cyra, yet he would not have called her unkind. More detached, distant — calculating. Yes, that was the word, calculating and possessed of an eternal patience. That, he mused, was not at all unexpected. In the game of mortals their father had tasked them with, all began with Cyra passed through the shifting swirls and eddies of mortality to Motiya. The constant ebb and flow of life and death with spirits ever wasting away and growing anew, passing from the domain of one sister to the other and back again. It was only during the periods of life when the brother’s could exert their influence. A brief window at best and hardly enough time to accomplish enough to win this game. Motiya could afford to be patient where Velin and Ifrete could not.
Yet the dark eyes which seemed to be pinning him to the stone of path were anything but patient. They burned, hotter than any of Ifrete’s infernos and somehow at the same time cold, colder than the deepest, most frozen lake of Velin’s own domain. No, Motiya was decidedly not patient today. He felt a moment of unease.
“Tell me,” Motiya’s words snapped Velin out of his contemplation, “or I will kill you where you stand.”
Velin studied her for a half heartbeat longer. Her expression leaving no doubt her threat was not idle. She seemed to have decided an eternity in the Abyss would be well worth watching him sputter his last breath with her hands around his throat.
“Ifrete,”. The alliance he had formed with his brother was not so important as to be worth his life.
Motiya drew herself up, the light in on The Terrace dimmed as tendrils of shadow snaked off her in waves, “The game ends here.”
She turned and strode soundlessly from the garden, seeming to float above the ground like a spectre.
Velin stared after her. This game had been playing for an eternity without one sibling managing to get so much as a hair’s edge over the other — and yet Motiya’s words rang in his ears with the sound of truth. He shook his head, “Well, well. Big sister has finally come out to play.”