A few days ago while checking the forums on NaNoWriMo, I discovered this thing called a “goal tracker” and I decided to use it because, why not? Using this tool, I made a goal of editing and finishing (yes, I still haven’t finished it yet) a novella I started two years ago, although currently it is the length of a novelette, but who pays attention to those kinds of things? #notme
The working title is “Quest for the Fire Eyes”, which I literally just came up with five seconds ago.
And here is a blurb I came up with on the spot too:
Legend has it that the Snowbirds are the heralds of death. They come to unsuspecting creatures in the night as an omen of their passing life.
Emera, a white pelted vixen, knows of the Snowbirds. One appeared on the night her mother died and now the entirety of her kingdom believes her to be cursed. She wonders if the rumors are true for she sees a Snowbird on the first day of every season. Perhaps it is merely a figment of her imagination for she has not died yet. However, when the bird begins to speak, sending her on a mission to save her father’s kingdom, she finds herself on an adventure that could mean either life or death for not only her but an entire race of foxes.
Here is the first chapter or so. Please enjoy, although it’s fine if you don’t. Let me know what you think!
The moon, sovereign of the night sky, shone sliver upon the freshly fallen snow; a blanket of silence over the wintery world.
The bird flew low, just above the surface of the snow. Her shadow traveled beneath her as a quiet companion on this solitary journey. She had left the tree filled world behind her, and was now nearing the end of this long journey, yet she was not tired. This bird was special, spectral, and on a mission.
South and West of the bird’s route stood a castle. A king and queen dwelt there, a pair of foxes. At this moment, late in the evening, the entire castle was awake, but quiet; waiting. The queen, a fair vixen of dark fur, closed her radiant blue eyes in pain, and leaned her head back against her husband. The king was red furred, and wise in his ruling. He gently tried to comfort his wife in this moment of pain, his kind heart feeling the agony as keenly as a knife.
The bird continued on, straight towards her destination, never slowing, never stopping.
A gentle knock upon a door caused the king to look up. “Who is there?” He inquired. Long ago he had sent all the servants away, and he trusted that none of them would interrupt him. Perhaps he was wrong.
There was no answer to his inquiry. The room was dark except for a glow coming from the fireplace, and a candle upon the bedside table, but they were not enough to drive away the shadows. Then the king looked at the pale stream of moonlight coming from the balcony. The curtains had been pulled aside, and were blowing in the chill breeze. The king did not remember leaving the door open, and felt fear. The breeze became a sharp wind, and it blew its icy breath into the room. The king looked closer at the open doorway. There was a shadow.
The bird stood there, her plumage glowing snowy white despite the moonlight at her back. She was half the size of a fox, with a round head, delicate pointed beak, and soft black eyes. Her wings were folded up to her body. Softly, the breeze ruffled her feathers. A more observant mind would have noticed she was flesh and bone, but the king recalled a legend he had grown up hearing. The snowbirds were said to appear in the darkest part of night. They came to animals who would soon die. Not only were they spirits of the underworld, couriers to death, they also were known to place curses upon unsuspecting animals. The king did not know whether this was true or not, for no one had ever lived long enough to say otherwise. Even still, he drew the queen closer to him in an effort to keep the ominous creature away. The bird stepped closer to the foot of the bed. The king did not know what to do. His queen seemed to be oblivious to all that was going around about her. Her eyes were still closed, and her breathing was labored, her pain almost too much for her to bear. Then the bird spoke.
Her voice was deep and smooth like honey. She spoke slowly, with deep feeling. “Fear not, Ellon. Fear not, Inda. The child you are about to bear is special. She will have a hard life, but perseverance will be hers, for she shall have the blessing of the snowbirds upon her. Keep her safe and close to thine hearts. Love is the greatest gift thou can give her. That is all I have to say to thee.”
Queen Inda opened her eyes, having noticed this night time visitor, and beheld the snowbird.
The bird turned gracefully, and took off through the open door, the curtains fluttering in her wake. Then the glass paneled doors slid shut, back to where they were before this whole encounter. King Ellon was not sure if it was naught more than a dream.
Emera first noticed how different she was from other foxes when she was ||| four years old.
Her favorite haunt was a hollow between two roots of the great oak tree at the far end of the courtyard behind the castle. Ever since she could walk she spent most of her time outdoors unless it was snowing or raining, although that did not always halt her journeys towards the tree. One day, the first one of spring, she was sitting beneath the tree, comfortably settled between the two roots. She had brought her lesson book as something to entertain herself, but it laid unopened by her side. She had other things to do. The courtyard was under spring’s awakening spell. Flowers pushed up between patches of melting snow, and the trees were beginning to show evidence of buds. Emera looked up into the branches, hoping to see if any of the blossoms had appeared yet, and saw a pure white bird looking down at her.
It was so pretty Emera couldn’t resist staring at it in awe. The bird stared back at the little white fox with the bright green eyes, her gaze steady and unwavering. It was not the glance of a common dumb animal, but the look of a wise creature. Emera wondered if she could speak.
Emera finally got up. She ran towards the castle. “Korin!” She cried out as she scrambled over the low wall into the garden, headed straight for the castle. She raced around between the hedges to the last known location of her friend, whose name she was still calling.
“What do you want, my princess?” The owner of that name replied. Korin turned a corner and princess Emera ran right into him.
Korin was a strong young fox of red fur. Emera had to lean her head far back in order to meet his gaze. He looked down at the princess with friendly brown eyes.
“There’s a really pretty white bird! Come see!” Emera skipped off back towards the tree. Korin had no choice but to follow.
Emera sat down once again in her hollow, and looked up. Her smile of excitement was dissolved and her brow creased with worry. “It left,” she said disappointedly.
Korin sat down next to the princess. “That’s alright. Birds do tend to fly off.”
“But it was so pretty!”
“That doesn’t prevent it from moving,” Korin replied.
Emera, suddenly seized by a question, turned to look at her friend. “Don’t they say you see a white bird before you die? A white bird appeared to my mom the day before she died. Does that mean I’m gonna?”
“No,” Korin replied, laughing. However, his laugh was hollow. “No. It’s just a rumor. No one knows for certain that your mother saw one before she died. Besides, where did you hear that?”
“I dunno. I think I heard Edna discussing it with Marty.”
“It’s just rumors,” Korin replied, quickly looking around for signs of the cook or the gardener that Emera had mentioned, “and rumors are hardly ever true.”
“I definitely saw one though,” Emera replied. “I guess we’ll just have to see if I die or not.” She stood up and skipped off, apparently unconcerned by this omen. Korin returned to his duties in a much less carefree manner.
Seasons passed, and the princess grew older. She was observant, and so she noticed on the first day of every season a white bird appeared in the boughs of the oak tree above her hollow. When Emera was seven, in the summer season, she tried to convince Korin to sit with her beneath the tree to wait for the bird. None showed up. Eventually, Korin had to go, and, as soon as he left, the bird appeared.
It seemed that the bird only came for Emera. It was watching her.