This story was inspired by a pair of names, a setting of dragons, and the challenge of making the main character genderqueer. In theory, most Transgender characters can be written as their preferred genders, but a non-binary character demands to break free–from prior conceptions as well as conventional pronouns. In a contemporary story, using “they” to refer to a single person may pass, but this story (thanks to the dragons) begged to belong to my mythology–and in this world, plural pronouns don’t make sense as gender neutral alternatives to “he and “she.”
So I got creative and invented my own pronouns. They’re haphazard, but they work.
The most important thing was remembering a Trans character is not solely defined by being Trans–just like characters of color are more than their skin tone and gay characters are more than their sexuality. Torn between two cultures I’ve always been fascinated by but have written of very little, this story blossomed into a fantasy-rich social commentary that questions order, truth, and objectivity in a single tale.
Ellerin had long red hair that twisted through the air as the wind blew. The knight was dressed in finely sewn leathers that cupped around soft breasts, were belted with an iron chain, and ended in cut-off leggings that revealed sturdy muscles and a dagger tethered to the left thigh.
Kadjarti met El’s eyes, and for the first time, his gaze burned not in contempt, but in fear–he felt Ellerin’s control tightening around his heart, the world straining around them, fighting to maintain its natural state, but caving in one piece at a time. Ellerin knew they felt the world in unison, tethered in that one moment to each other, but El had seized control and Kadjarti now lay powerless. His eyes widened as El bared teeth, and with a pained howl, Ellerin’s fist dropped to his chest.
My first two stories this month have stretched longer than anticipated, so I’m not sure if I’ll actually reach thirty stories…for now, I’m more focused upon writing good stories. (And if I must, I can reach thirty with a mad-dash of flash fiction at the end.)
This story was inspired by a dear friend who has given me prompts in the past: both prompts were serious in nature, but magic seeped into the stories nonetheless (inspiring “Sunday Sails Away” and “The Man Behind the Camera,” respectively).
This time, the prompt they gave me began with magic–and since they shared so many magical moments with me in the past, even more magic slipped in and the story found a place within my mythology–in fact, it tethered to this series of tales another story idea I’ve had for probably a decade or so, and in writing this, it has become my first contemporary tale in the mythos. (Yes, some of this mythology continues today, in this world.)
As promised, here’s the beginning and ending.
Ash sat at the edge of the post. A soft touch on the back of his hand turned his gaze downward: A small spider crawled across him.
Ash watched as the four winds rose into the air, no longer bound by the Sky God, no longer controlled by the key–completely free after millennia of imprisonment. And then, like waves of the auroras, they darted toward the horizon, each of them returning to their ancestral homes. Ash’s knees wavered and he fell to the ground. He had awakened the winds and defeated the Storm King–but at what cost?
NaNoWriMo is my most favorite time of the year–it’s an insane challenge to write 50,000 words in one month, and instead of writing a single story this year, I’m writing thirty. (Or at least, that’s my goal–if the stories become too long, I might not write as many as I’d like.) Ultimately, I plan to share each of these stories here, so what better way to share this experience than by sharing these stories right away?
But they’re not at all ready for public eyes, so every time I finish a story, I’ll post just the first line and the last–and hopefully you’ll be as excited for the final story as I’ve been to write it!
This first story belongs to my Kaidh mythology and predates the Silent Sun trilogy.
There was on the southeast shore of Athua a small kingdom called Sol. Bordered chiefly by the ocean on all sides but two, they had found themselves greatly endowed with resources and never had much need to venture outside their thin borders. Nor did many others find cause to enter theirs: They were nestled between a vast woodland to their north, and to their west, a range of stout but largely unremarkable mountains.
Then the flames touches her flesh and Erowen started to scream.
After we exchanged rings I realized how afraid I was to wear it. What if it slipped off and I didn’t notice and lost it forever? What if someone saw it glinting like platinum in the moonlight and tried to steal it? What if they succeeded? I tugged it unconsciously, spun it constantly, couldn’t stop looking at my hand, just to see it was there, even while I felt it.
On the subway, smiling at each other, we tapped our rings together and he said, “They’re like rings of power,” and I laughed, thinking back to Saturday mornings with my eyes against the TV while my five friends chanted, “As our powers combine,” and the theme song to Captain Planet began playing. “They are,” I agreed, and grinning, he added, “Just so long as they don’t turn us into Nazgûl.” And have I told you before that Tolkien is my literary idol? Have I told you before I dream of writing a world like his? Have I told you before there could have been no better way to end our engagement than those softly spoken words as we hurtled under the earth?
Now I wish they were Rings of Power. I wish I could spin it on my desk, a white light engulfing its silver surface, and be able to talk with my love as if he were in the room with me. I wish I could tap it three times on the door and open it to step inside his room. I wish all I’d need to do is put it on to teleport beside him and take it off to come back home.
But it’s only a ring. A silver band with imperfections just like mine. I can’t appear beside him at will. I can’t whisper here and he’ll hear me there. It’s only a ring.
And I’m no ringwraith, no chosen one. I’m only a man.
The crows circled the tower outside as Rainald rested his hands on the stone balustrade surrounding the balcony. Inside he could hear the beating hands of a thousand clocks, each an echo of a heartbeat comingling with the cawing above him. It formed a cacophonous symphony that at once inspired him and terrified him.