1780

Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

United States

13 years old.
In love with books.
Ranger's Apprentice. 1
Dawn of Wonder. 2
Wings of Fire. 3
Warriors. 4
Percy Jackson. 5

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Join Date: September 12, 2018

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The Beginning: A Kingdom In Chaos- The Awakening; Book 1

November 29, 2018

FREE WRITING

3
He woke up early, feeling rested.
Remembering what day it was, he tried to fall back asleep, tired as if he had been awake for a week. For the past three years, he had waited hopefully when he was twelve and thirteen; resignedly when he was fourteen; and now fifteen had come along. He had decided he would already have been picked, so today was going to be long and uneventful.
Today, a Sunday, the first Sunday of December, was the day that determined if he would go to the trial grounds to be tested. Every year, the prestigious Academy of Eludria chooses one hundred eighty townsfolk and nobles to attempt the trials. Only thirty students are granted access to the academy. The trials are a grueling set of challenges meant to test endurance, strength, and intellect.  
There were two reasons he knew he wouldn't get picked. One: He was dropped on the doorstep of a scribe’s shop when he was less than a year old and henceforth had no parents, so he wouldn’t have any influence from past generations, and that was if they were even important. For all he knew, they could have worked in the fish markets in Yathu, a shanty town in eastern Lithia. They could have never even been able to read. The second reason why was that the scribe that had taken him in would never let him go in the first place, he was too good as work. So he let out a sigh and dragged himself out of bed to help Garon a small bit.
He went downstairs and surveyed the airy shop; there was a large desk near the back of the room, but it was the only main thing taking up space. There were various shelves behind it, holding all the things that the scribe there would need to use to sign or create legal documents and to examine treaties and such.
The scribe usually only took orders or did things for nobles, but occasionally worked for other classes when the pay was good enough or there was a good reason.
He heard scribe call his name. His adoptive father, Garon Tavish, was a lanky man with a thin face, and a precise hand. He was immensely well read, and although he was not exactly of noble upbringing, the king's advisor sometimes came in for his services. He didn’t particularly enjoy his adopted son’s company, though he tried to make him useful. But usually, it was, “Pass me that stack of parchment,” and “Don’t touch that,” or “When will you learn how to do it right?” with a sigh afterward. So on and on it went. At least he wasn’t a bad man, more of a strict one who had taught his apprentice quite a few useful things. He called up to Garon if he wanted him to open the shop, as it was about the time for hours, and the man called back that he wanted it open when he came down, not sooner, or later.
“Can never be sure with him,” the apprentice muttered under his breath.
The scribe didn’t sell any wares, but his services were often needed. Though not just anyone could come in whenever they needed to send a request in advance. In his spare time, which was governed by when he didn’t have a job to do, Garon did other projects about who knows what.
***
Two of the only things Jerad liked about himself were his sea blue eyes; they gave him a rugged look that he enjoyed. His skin never became too pale either, even though he didn’t stay in bright sunlight to often. He didn’t know where he got his appearance from, but one of his parents must have lived near the sea for some time— hence the Yathu idea.
On Sunday, Garon did usually ask him to go shop for needed materials; it was his only usual task on Sunday.
Jerad took a deerskin coat of its rack then opened the door of the shop. He breathed in the cold air; it was late in the year for there to be no snowfall. Walking four blocks to where all the stalls were set up for the choosing day, he approached a tent with a sign that read, “Quality Quills and Quires. ” The man ran the stall usually every other market day, and Jerad often bought supplies from him.
He found a large stack of parchment, trading over ten bronze pieces for the stack; he also found a quill specifically for writing legal documents, as he knew Garons current one’s tip had a slight scratch on it. He got an ink vat as well, and handed over thirty more bronze coins.
As he was browsing, the man said, “You’re Garon’s apprentice, aren’t you? What was your name again? Gerard? Jayden? Well, never mind that, stop by again soon.”
“I will. By the way, my name is Jerad.”
“See you again, Gerard.”
Jerad chuckled as he walked away from the stand. Even though the man had probably seen him, and asked for his name around twenty or thirty times, he still got it wrong. At this point, Jerad was sure he was messing with him to get a laugh for himself; after all, he knew the man to be smart. Jerad had tried bargaining with him plenty of times, and the situations all turned out with him somehow paying more than the starting price. The man also had serious wit.
Then the street became quieter, oddly. It was always loud in the city, and especially today. Jerad looked around to find the cause, and soon he saw a large cat sitting across the cobblestone street. From the books Jerad had read, he thought it might have been a mountain lion. But it had a bluish tint, and he suddenly knew what it was: a spirit animal. One of the mythic messengers of the academy. A woman walked out of the door carrying a basket, and her face burst into a smile. She hurried back inside and came back out with a young boy who looked to be about twelve, and soon, his smile matched his mothers.
As most people on the street clapped, Jerad huffed, annoyed that the boy had been picked when he was twelve, and Jerad was already fifteen. He had the decency to clap as well, and he might as well not cry about what others had.  
He had one more errand to complete out of his own volition, and he
left the crowded marketplace to go to a more permanent store. He walked up to the leatherman’s familiar shop and opened the heavy door, walking inside. The owner James asked him, “Kid, why aren't ye waitin' for some little furry thing to come up to yer door?”
“I’ve been skipped for three years; I’m not exactly hoping for much,” Jerad replied.
“Well kid, I wouldn’t fret much about it, I was never picked and I’m still doing alright, eh?” He said while pointing around his small messy workshop. Well, what’re ye looking for today?”
Jerad thought for a second about his latest project, then he bought a few leather strips. He didn’t need anything else, so after thanking James, he ran back to the scribe shop, dropping off the parchment in a neat stack on Garon’s desk, depositing the quill next to the paper. He quickly went upstairs, pulled out a key, and unlocked the door to the upper part of the shop, which was where he and Garon lived. Jerad changed into an old pair of white clothing that was stained with soot, as if he was preparing to forge something; which, matter of factly, he was.
Leaving the house and feeling the chilled air, he jogged up the paven streets towards the blacksmiths building. When he arrived, he looked up at the familiar sign, “Willard’s Arms and Armor,” he walked inside the shop, and as soon as the door was closed behind him, he felt the especially warm air from the forge in the back.  Keyan, the man who owned the forge and the shop was standing at the counter.
“Hello, lad,” Keyan said merrily. “What can I do for you today?”
“I was wondering if I could borrow your forge for a couple of hours?” Jerad said to his older friend.
Although Jerad enjoyed scribing and knowledge, he sometimes just had to get his hands dirty. He liked the atmosphere of the forge, and it somehow calmed his nerves even though all the noise and heat. Jerad relished the feeling of being able to make something, and it gave him a sense of pride at a completed project. It was a good counterbalance to scribing.
“Of course, just remember to douse the coals when yer done, don’t want this place burning down.” Keyan replied.
“Thank you,” Jerad said.
He had first gone to Keyans shop when he was nine; that was when Garon had named Jerad his apprentice after caring for him for his early years. On the day’s he didn’t have chores, he had come to Keyan’s shop. He had done it for five years now, almost every “day off” for an hour or two. Today, he had decided to see if he could make an iron bow.
He thought a bow that Keyan could sell for a good price might please the man. After all, the only reason why Keyan didn’t make Jerad pay for the materials or the forge was that Jerad gave what he made to the blacksmiths' shop. It was a good trade; Keyan gained money, and Jerad gained experience. Keyan was even kind enough to share a quarter of the profit with Jerad, which was quite generous.
First, he looked around to find some iron; after a minute, he found it in a cupboard with a few other metals. Grabbing some firewood, he sat down at the bellows and began to work them, and after a few minutes, the coal’s were white with heat. It was blistering hot, and he knew not to get too close to them; he had experience to thank for that. The sparks that flew from them were almost as hot as the logs and coal themselves.
After a while he took the tungsten tongs off the wall and put an iron ingot in the roaring forge, the white flames dancing around the metal. Jerad took back to stoking the bellows. Removing the iron from the fire, he quickly started hammering away. But he was careful, and the metal cooled before he could finish. He was annoyed at having to reheat it, but he knew he had to take his time for any project to be successful. He had managed to do a little more than half the curve. So once again he stoked the fire, put the iron back into the forge, and then removed it to finish the curve.
He had recurved it slightly, making the bow go back on itself to make it a bit easier to draw. He had also had a slight bit of time left before it cooled, so Jerad had made the ends into sharp blades. He was impressed with the end result. Sweating with all the effort he sat down for a minute to admire the shaft. It was a bit rough, but he knew the bow was on the road to being something special. Eager to continue, he set to work hacking out the notches for the string with a small weighted axe. He then went to carving out a space to add the leather strips for a grip. A normal wooden bow didn’t necessarily need a handle, but Jerad thought it might be important for grip, and if there wasn't any leather, someone might cut themselves. Next he took out the ink he had bought at Quality Quills and Quires, and poured it over the leather, giving it a black hue. Purely cosmetic, but he liked to make the projects interesting.
He then got up and searched for the braided horse hair he had made on Tuesday at the forge, days before, and tied the best bowyers knot he could manage. He affixed the leather by tying a good knot which would be situated between the pointer finger and thumb on the grip. Then he strung the bow and held it out in front of himself, then, he pulled on the string, using his back muscles to pull it to full draw; it was harder than he expected, and he had to strain the last part. He estimated it was around a forty pound draw weight. It was light for an iron bow.
Satisfied, he found a spare arrow from a project that Keyan was working on, and started the trek to the small forest outside of Eludria. The whole process at the forge had taken two and a half hours according to the bell tower.
Jerad swung the bow over his shoulder, and after a small while, he made.
Stopping, he sat down, panting from the long walk, seeing his breath curl in he cold air. He plodded along till he picked a good target, a cypress tree, about five feet across. He stood about thirty yards from the strong tree, knocking the arrow in the bow. Pulling it back, he aimed towards the center of the tree. He didn’t know much about firing a bow, but he knew enough to raise it slightly, and before his arms began to cramp, he let the arrow loose. It soared through the air, landing in the bark, just managing to stick into the very edge of the soft tree. It was no amazing marksmanship, but at least he hit the tree he was aiming at. Glad about the outcome of the bow, he unstrung it, then started to travel back to the city; even the long walk in the cold couldn’t snuff out his joy.
When he arrived back at the city gates, it was just past 2:00, or at least that was what the bells told him again. The street traffic was extremely heavy, and on the walk back, he remembered what the leatherman had said. He noticed himself thinking that maybe he wouldn’t mind not being chosen for the academy… Of course, he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity if it arose, but the rangers and hunters would still give him a decent price for fine metal recurve bows. With the thought freshly stored away, he walked to the blacksmiths' shop, felt the warm air, then dropped off the bow on the counter.
“By the maid’s britches! How did you make that?” Keyan said with an incredulous smile.
“With time,” Jerad said. “Thanks again for the forge.” Jerad assumed the man could have made it better twofold, but he was very happy with the result.
    “Thank you.” Keyan said, “Come back again anytime.
With his body labored from his long walk, as soon as Jerad entered the scribe shop, he walked up to his room and fell onto his bed to wait out the hours till the time of the “Chosen” would end so he could start his new life as a well-read metalsmith making quality recurve bows with fancy inscriptions. Jerad let out a small chuckle, then he got off the bed and went to sit in the chair by the door to wait the long hours till the sun had run its course below the mountains.
He took the time to think about how if he could choose anywhere, he would move to Calydra, one of the three major cities in Lithia. He had decided upon Calydra rather than Denesda or Eludria because he enjoyed the weather. It was almost always warm, but the rain fell often, and now that he gave it some thought, he realized it was farthest of the three from the ocean. Perfect for his new profession, considering the metal would take much longer to rust...
He contemplated to ask Garon if he could go and watch the race, but then decided against it. No use in humiliating himself any further if he failed.
About three hours later when the sun dropped lower into the sky and he was growing tired, a scratching sound came from the door. That was odd. He opened the door but saw nobody. That is until he looked down. He saw a small white fox sitting at the door. He was astonished at the sight, and even more at the slip of paper that lay on the stones: an invitation of entry to the trials of Eludria.
Chapter one of fifteen. It's quite long, so thanks if you made it this far.

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  • November 29, 2018 - 11:16am (Now Viewing)

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9 Comments
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Thanks


    9 months ago
  • paperbird

    this is so interesting! i'm particularly intrigued by the "yathu idea" you mentioned once or twice. i love your incorporation of fantasy as well as character building. your writing flows really well, too. well done!


    9 months ago
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Yay!


    10 months ago
  • korra4life

    Got it! And I can't wait for more :D


    10 months ago
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Oh, and you can learn a lot from the internet, and Ive read so much that blacksmiths pop up enough to know a little. ;P


    10 months ago
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Thanks! I have 14 more chapters to post too.


    10 months ago
  • korra4life

    I like this! How do you know so much??? If I was describing the forging of the bow, it would be simple: He stuck the iron into the fire... blah, blah, blah... hammered it into shape... blah, blah... stuck it in a bucket of water. Boom, done.
    Well done on your descriptions! I absolutely love it!


    10 months ago
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Next chapter today!


    10 months ago
  • -writinginhopesofsomeday-

    I really like this! I hope to read more soon:)


    10 months ago