Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shannelleran, Day 1

By: Michael Akerman

Let's see how much discipline I have.

So, here's the plan: I have a story I've been wanting to write. I'm going to try to do 30 minutes or more of writing a day for a while. We'll see how long it lasts. When I'm done with a chapter, I'll post the chapter. Or maybe when I finish the short story, depending on how this goes. I'll post the day's work on IVIC and a notification on CoK. The chapters or whatever they end up being will be on both.

Shennelleran, Day 1

As the first dim light of dawn filled the cobblestone square, Kilrick peered around the corner of the small peasant house. He seemed to be the first one awake and about in the little village, which was not unusual: he had always been an early riser, and his years of travel had made him still more accustomed to living with a lack of sleep. “Just as well,” he muttered. “I always have to explain myself when people catch me sleeping in the open.” Satisfied that the square was empty, Kilrick stepped out from the shadows.

He felt very conspicuous in the middle of that dismal little burgh, even though it was empty. The town of Darl’s Folly lay like discarded buildings on the shore of once-charming Lake Velindra. The waters swam still and silent, with no river current to mix the dark pond. It was something of a geological oddity: rain or some dead stream had filled a small, awkward depression at some point in the distant past. A large population of fish had once dwelled in the lake when the water was still crystal blue, supported by a pleasant climate and a complete lack of natural predators in the isolated pond. The city of Darlhaven sprang up around Lake Velindra and was swiftly made profitable through the fishing industry and an enviable trade position.

The city soon grew too large for the little lake, the fish population stuttering to a genealogical halt as Darlhaven grasped for food and profit. The pleasant trade road running through the area was forsaken when the Kingdom of Genream to the east finally conquered the long-hostile Sintreln, south of Darlhaven. With the steady and swift waterways of the Sintreln open to the Kingdom, trade with the western Grand Empire of Halreln doubled as the easy but slow overland route was forsaken.

The city soon fell into decline, the imposing balustrades and statuary of the famed Darlhaven Exchange collapsing in disrepair and ruin. Blooms of algae choked the lake, turning the peaceful pond into the brown bog that now lay alongside the village. The people struggled to farm, eking out a living by raking through the muck of the moist land. The population of Darlhaven fell, with the council steadily relenting to changes of moniker: from the Trade City of Darlhaven, to the City of Darlhaven, the Town of Darlhaven, Darlhaven Village and finally Darl’s Folly, the blame for the great city’s failure placed unfairly on the shoulders of its founder.

So, it would seem odd and, for some, cruel for a knight in full armor to stand amidst the ruins of the once-great metropolis. Kilrick always found it difficult to convince townsfolk that it was not pride or mockery that made him constantly outfit himself in his finery. Rather, he had no mule, no squire or page, so it was only practical to wear his armor while he travelled. Still, Kilrick couldn’t help but anxiously rub the hilt of his whitesteel longsword as if he thought it a talisman to ward off conflict.

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman