Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Conversion War Vision Quest

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

Yes, it's been a while. I've been busy with a lot of things. Anyway, on with the post.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Routine Mission Monster Slaying

The context for this post: Long story short, Annala is on a vision quest that will grant her understanding and empathy. It takes the form of stepping into the role of a holy warrior during The Conversion War.

“One of the ‘lesser beings’ here is Annala; one among billions. Can you find her? If you succeed, you will pass my test.”

“My third one. I accept.”

“Fair warning; she may not be as you remember her.”

A girl awoke with a start. Heart beating furiously and sweat circling her brow, she sat up. Looking around, she saw no sign of anyone; a curious thing because she thought she heard someone call her. The sun was peeking through the windows, so she decided to dress. She put on a robe and walked to the back of her home for the morning cleansing ritual.

She took extra care washing her hair. Its rich golden-brown color was proof that she was the granddaughter of Lady Chaos. She could not be permanently injured, never ill, never die, and her beauty would only grow as she aged. She was truly blessed.

Once she was clean, dry, and clothed, she stepped inside the kitchen. As a chaotic acolyte, it was her job to make the morning meal. Her teacher’s wife caught and picked a lot of good food, so she was never hungry. In fact, with all the available ingredients, she could experiment: these nuts grounded into a powder and mixed with this sap made a tasty sauce, and boiling these certain leaves made a refreshing tea. Other experiments, she blushed to think, were not as successful. Her teacher and his wife ate them nonetheless and with good humor.

"Good morning, Annala," an old man said. Most of his hair fell down his face rather than his head. In that regard, he was similar to men his age, but his ears told otherwise.

"Good morning, Teacher," Annala said, bowing.

"Did you slept well?"

“I had a strange dream.”

“What have I taught you about dreams?"

"They are messages from The Trickster and we should pay heed to them. The reason they're so weird is because he wants us to improve our reasoning by deciphering them."

The old wiseman smiled kindly. "That's my favorite student."

The younger frowned. "I'm your only student."

"Good! Then I won't have to disappoint anyone when you finally succeed me."

This was a game they had played for as long as she could remember. She hoped to continue playing it forever and why not? Both of them were immortal.

If Annala closed her eyes, she could still remember the scene. Now it was gone...they were gone; killed by mortals. To think that the immortality bestowed upon them by Grandmother Chaos could be revoked made her shudder. She had never seen such eldritch magic before. Her fellow soldiers counted on her to protect them from it.

Far from her secluded village, she marched with a company of elven warriors. They traveled the countryside searching for signs of the dark arts so they could kill its practitioners. Thus far, every human settlement they came across used it and so they had been very busy.

Her job was to project the blessings of Grandmother Chaos to shield and inspire those around her. Between her power and their valor, even the empowered fiends were no match. Every trace was wiped out as if it had never been there. Humans bred like rats so there would be no harm done to their total population. Besides, they weren’t going to live much longer anyway. Their quality of life was so poor, their already short lives were cut even shorter. All she and her companions did was deny them a year or two.

She shuddered. The others noticed and guessed its cause but said nothing. None of them wanted to talk about the blasphemous power they fought against. All of them were too scared to think about it. The only reason they sought it out was because they were more afraid of its users appearing on their doorstep without warning. There were rumors that an entire village had been enslaved and their imaginations spun ever more horrid tales of what happened to them.

An ethereal hand pulled her mind out of the illusion and back into reality. She was in a dungeon and tormented by an ordercrafter. That was what these fiends called themselves: “Those empowered by Order to bring stability to this world.” In addition to the physical imprisonment, they pulled their captives back and forth from illusions to blur their distinction of reality and break their will.

Her wrists were shackled above her head and pulled so high she stood on her tiptoes, while her ankles were secured with manacles bolted to the floor. In normal circumstances, she could escape from these as easily as breathing via shapeshifting, but a metal collar clenched tight around her neck suppressed her chaotic ability. It made her weaker than a magic-less mortal.

“The Age of Elves is over,” the ordercrafter said. “Never again will your kind threaten us. You belong under our feet and putting those clever minds of yours to our benefit.”

“Go to the Abyss, temp!”

The ordercrafter forced a rag into her mouth. She tossed her head and thrashed in her restraints, but it was tied behind her head. The blood that was drenching it dripped down her throat and infected her with its diseases. They would cause her tremendous pain but wouldn’t kill her. While diminished, her Seed of Chaos would still prevent her death. Escape was impossible.

Mana Mutation Menace, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon as both an ebook and as a paperback.

 To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

Click here for the next Sassy Saturday: Haggling with elves is easy for Emily.

Brian Wilkerson is a independent novelist, freelance book reviewer, and writing advice blogger. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).