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Chill Breeze

Chill Breeze

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Chill Breeze

Länge:
165 Seiten
2 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 7, 2012
ISBN:
9781465949141
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Cartref is a typical isolated small town in the mountains of Mynyds on the borders of Tiarna. The people there work hard, fight off bandits, farm the land, worship the gods and goddesses, raise their families, and ritually kill anyone found to have magic. After all, magic can be used to harm and kill, as the bandits prove over and over again, so magic is evil and those who can wield it are worse than demons.

Cinnia is a typical girl born in Cartref. She loves her family, all of her parents and siblings, she does well in school and loves participating in the winter sports competitions. She finds herself bothered by the ritual deaths that come whenever a magic wielder is found, they are gruesome and give her nightmares but she understands that it is done by the priests to protect them from evil. She accepts it – until she finds herself doing unexplainable things without knowing how.

What would you do if you lived somewhere magic was punished by death and you found yourself able to do it? That is Cinnia's eventual dilemma as she grows into the newly discovered powers she must struggle with her feelings of fear and wonder. The fear of discovery and the wonder and awe of what she can do.

“Chill Breeze” is set in a created world that is rich in description and characterization. The religion and its implications are explored, as are the family units consisting of multiple spouses of both sexes in mixed marriages. The families live in large communal homes with expectations of everyone based on their position within the family. It is a fascinating society explored through the eyes of one young girl.

Written by Elaine Letsen, cover art by Nick Nestel

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Feb 7, 2012
ISBN:
9781465949141
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Elaine Letsen is a pen name for a writer of fantasy novels living in Pennsylvania.

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Chill Breeze - Elaine Letsen

Chill Breeze

By Elaine Letsen

Copyright 2012 Elaine Letsen

Cover Art by Nick Nestel 2011

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Chapter 1

20th of Quiet Moon, 2992

There comes a point in everyone's life where they come to a crossroads, where the decision they make will take their life in one direction or another. Sometimes the direction you choose is to shorten your life by using evil ways. Magic that comes unbidden to you and through deliberate actions you use this evil to rob and harm those who support and care for you. The path to the gods you abandoned, you did not come to the temple when you felt the first stirrings of this power when you could have been saved, redeemed. Instead, you chose to revel in these powers, you chose to walk the path of evil and magic. Now, the end of the path is nigh and you find the reward that comes with your path choice.

The voice of the high priest and judge rang out over the assembled crowd as the bound prisoner was jerked to his feet and dragged to the raised platform. The boy’s slight frame shook wildly as his knees touched the wood and he was pushed down onto his back, the guards silently but harshly tying his arms and legs spread wide and fastening his head into the harness to hold it still. Tears streamed down the young face, beardless still, and his eyes stared pleadingly to those nearby. At the judge’s signal, the platform was raised at an angle so that all present could see the condemned.

Mahru Galae’Cartref, for the crime of possessing unreported magic and for the crime of using the misting magic to rob from those in the town you have been found guilty. Your crime has been judged evil but not completely foul. It is the sentence of the court that you shall be executed to protect Cartref and its inhabitants from the spread of horror. First, the arms, then the head, and lastly, the legs. The white-haired priest raised his arms. Thus face the justice of the gods.

The arms lowered with a nearly audible snap and the guard raised his ax and with a swift, efficient movement the boy’s left arm was no longer attached to his body. Blood spurted for a moment, then slowed to a trickle. On the other side of the platform the next guard grasped his ax, raised it and repeated the act on the right arm. The boy’s body jerked and he moaned deep in his throat, though no screams were allowed to pass his lips. For several minutes the boy laid on the platform in agony before the lean priest raised his arms again.

May the gods be merciful to your soul, as you were not in this life. The arms slashed down again and the first guard took a firm grip of his ax handle and with an indrawn breath separated the criminal’s head from his body. After a few moments, arms quickly motioned again and the corpse’s legs were removed.

Eolas Eagna grant justice swift and always true. The voice rang out over the crowd. Echoing back came the crowd’s refrain, Goddess true, goddess swift, justice to one, justice to all. The execution and catechism over, the crowd each made the sign of the seven upon their chests and drifted silently away.

One of those leaving the ceremony was a young girl, ten years of age, small but strong of arm. She glanced back several times to the body on the platform as the guards unstrapped it and placed the pieces in a wooden box nearby for transport. She walked slowly, her feet dragging, down the road away from the town hall. A body of nearly frozen water passed by on her right and when it ended she slipped easily into the tall grasses next to it. She followed the curve of this pond and where the water met the town wall, she sat down, hidden from sight by the waving grasses and the shadow of the towering wall.

Tears began to flow down the pale cheeks of the sharp-faced child. She wrapped her arms around her knees and rocked back and forth as she wept. Only a few minutes passed before a rustling in the grass was heard over her silent grief. A form emerged into her sight as she raised her head.

I thought you might need to talk, Cinnia, the form said softly as it sank to the icy ground beside her. I saw your face after the execution and I followed you. When you came here, I knew you might need me.

Cinnia bit her lip for a moment before nodding. She turned her head to face him, her older broru, the closest of her sibs or sibus to her, and whispered, He was only 14.

Tawel nodded. Yes, he was. But as Prophet Scanraither said, he chose his path. Mahru was my friend, Cinnia. We played together as children and we had begun working the fields together, lately. But he chose his path. He was not surprised by the magic. He knew what it was. I know 14 may not seem old to you, only 4 years from now for you, but we have all been to temple class since we were tots. You know better than to hide magic, or worse, to use its evil. Mahru let the magic fester inside himself and it burst out and he became evil.

I know he stole stuff but so did Rogo Banu’Cartref and they just locked him up the first time and exiled him the second time. Why didn’t they do that with Mahru?

Rogo was just a thief. He picked locks and slipped in open doors to steal. Mahru walked through the walls using the evil magic that had consumed him. Only the fact that he did not physically harm anyone is what saved him from head lasting. I know it is hard for you to understand. For the first execution of your tenth year to be of a boy that you knew, hardly older than yourself is hard. Most people’s first law witnessing in their tenth year is a bandit or other obviously evil criminal. Now that you are old enough that you must attend, you will see plenty of those. But in some ways, Mahru is even more evil than a murderous bandit. If he had not been stopped and sent to the gods, he could have corrupted and harmed many here in Cartref. You have heard about the evils of magic in temple school, the rot that it brings, the horror. Believe it. Two years ago, I saw someone use magic to kill. And he escaped justice and now leads a bandit group and has killed and harmed more. I understand your feelings, Cinnia, but you must use your head. Grieve for the person that Mahru could have been had he chosen a different path and for the person that he was before the magic took him, but do not grieve for the life that ended today. He is better off in the hands of Marlowathe than here and Cartref is better off and safer that it is so. He used his mittened hand to wipe her face then put an arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick hug before rising to his feet. Keep a close watch on the sun. Pazi Cameron will want you to watch the young ones in a few hours. You do not want to be late and get punished.

I’ll be on time. Thanks, Tawel. I love you. He smiled down at her and walked away through the swaying grasses. She watched until his form was lost among the stalks and then she lay down on her back and her dark green eyes stared up at the cold blue sky as over the next hour she tried to let go of the memory of the fears and terror that had swamped her unbidden at the execution star.

Cartref is a fairly large walled town at the foot of a very large mountain range, called the Mynyds. The Mynyds is a very long range whose peaks are so high that the snow never melts anywhere near the tops. It is covered in dense forests and caves that are home to bandit bands. The town is surrounded on the other sides by a very long, very deep, very swift, very dangerous river filled with rapids and several high waterfalls. The final waterfall of the river Abhain falls over one hundred feet into a huge inland lake that many would think was an ocean if they were only to ever see one side of it. Lake Enfawr stretched a long way and comes up against the far side of the the Mynyds range on one side and a deep forest on the other.

For this reason, Cartref was isolated and a lone settlement for many centuries. Few souls were hardy enough or foolish enough to make the long, dangerous trek to this detached town for little reward. Only recently had the nearest accessible country, Tiarna, realized that Cartref had the sole easy access to the important mineral getrus. They negotiated with the town and built a bridge over the Abhain and a good paved road and caravans began arriving shortly thereafter, though not too often for it is still a very long trip.

Houses in Cartref were typically three or four stories tall, plus an underground basement. The houses are long and fairly narrow with limited windows to keep the winter winds from freezing the residents. Depending on the size of the family, it may occupy just a few rooms on one floor or several floors of a building. The smallest families usually occupy the basement.

The buildings are made of close fitted black and grey stone and hold heat in fairly well. The interiors are lined with polished wooden walls hung with tapestries and some paintings and thick woven carpets line most rooms‘ floors. The hallways are typically wood or bare stone, as are the stairs. The few windows are made of thick glazed glass and open with difficulty in the summer months, though they do open. Most rooms have a fireplace.

Each house can hold about 300 people or so. Very few people get their own rooms, indeed most children sleep five or even seven to a bedroom. There is very limited privacy to be found in Cartref.

Within the walls of the town there is a single gate, on the north-west corner, though the entirety of the walls are patrolled night and day. The gate is guarded over by the men who live in the gate house. They are solitary men, bachelors by choice, who do not want families. They live in the gate house and act as guards for the town.

The street south of the gate house is a market road. It holds all of the regular shops in town, including a bar which also has a few rooms to serve as an inn for the intrepid travelers who make it all the way to the town. Further south from the market road is the execution star adjacent to the town hall.

The town hall is a very large, somewhat imposing solid grey stone building. All of the governmental activities take place here, as do many public events, including the annual winter game competitions. The town hall also serves as a bank and money exchange.

South of the town hall, between it and the south wall, is the common outdoor area. It is a large swath of cleared ground used primarily for children’s games and courting families picnics. However, during fair time, this is where the caravan merchants set up their tents and show their wares.

To the east of the town hall and the common area is a large pond that served as a water source for the town. It was fed by several underground springs and so will not run dry. It is also the home to several types of fish and crabs that are delicacies in the town since custom dictates that they not be over-fished, but rather allowed to multiply within reason so as to remain an emergency food source for the town.

Keep going east and there is the granary storage area, next to the domestic animal enclosures. This was where the town’s cows, bulls, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens were kept and tended.

To the north of the pond, directly south of the bar is the temple and school. This building is very soft looking, made of glossy black stone. The east wing houses the temple itself and its offices, living quarters, and storage. The west wing houses the town’s school, for all ages able to walk and talk on their own. It includes mostly classrooms with some storage, a large auditorium type room, an eating room, and a few offices for the teachers. The basement of the temple school houses the healers’ area. In includes living quarters, exam rooms and sleeping rooms for patients who need to stay within reach, as well as a cold room for the dead.

To the east of the animal’s barn are houses along the east wall, four of them take up nearly the entire stretch of the wall from south to north. There are nine other houses in the central and northern areas of town.

Along the back side of market road was a long, very thin building. This was the unlinked lived. Those men and women who had been linked but either cheated on their spouses by voluntarily having sex with someone not within the link or were physically violent to their spouses or the link’s children. When this occurred, the offender was publicly shamed and shunned for a period, if the reason was the former, or locked up in the cells beneath the town hall for a period, if the latter were the reason.

After this period of shame or incarceration, they were formally unlinked from the family, forced to take a new name which meant undesirable as their last name, and assigned quarters in the bachelor building. These persons were then allowed to rejoin society, although they could never again join a link. They were forever alone. They could see and spend time with their children, if the children wished but they could never have the

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