I wish I could properly express how difficult it has been to get back into writing. There’s a project I’ve been working on with a dear friend of mine for the last 13 years. I couldn’t even number the amount of times we promised that ‘one day we would be able to get together and write’.
The problem always was that whilst I lived in England, and he in Melbourne, Australia – there was a huge difficulty in actually… you know, ‘getting together’. I still maintain that coming to Australia has only ever been a wish of mine so that I could meet the people I’ve befriended online – but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Finally meeting Aaron after all these years was an experience that I’ll never forget, and the subsequent meetings and chats about all things ‘Aethalia’ related have been fantastic. It’s since then that I’ve been able to get my writing hat back on. There’s so much to be said for being able to allow yourself to be so chilled out – it’s hard when your day-to-day life rules so much of what you do. Work is obviously the biggest barrier to writing, and when you’re as involved in things as I was, it was incredibly difficult to leave work where it belonged.
So I’ve been writing. Finally, finally I’ve been able to start writing. Real writing, from this project that I have been desperate to start every time I’ve ever sat down with a new notebook or at a computer with a creative spark. I’ve ditched the intense roleplaying in games, which was fabulous for me whilst I didn’t have the time to write. (I still love you RP friends, Naruto, Itachi & all the others won’t go far, trust me!)
With that, I really wanted to be able to provide an excerpt from what I’ve written. I used to publish chapters of things on fictionpress every now and then, but this is a card I want to play incredibly close to my chest.
In the mean time:
“Orion could recall the morning fondly. A small, defoliated area in the far eastern woods had provided them with plenty of space and shelter for the night. Shade, given amply by the huge oak trees that filled the forest and kept the growth on the ground to a minimum had been the perfect place for a couple of tents. The young prince’s decision to retire to his bed shortly after the tents had been pitched hadn’t taken either guard by surprise, but an early night foretold an early morning. Whatever dreams had been bestowed upon him during the night had been pleasant, and perhaps insightful to a fault.
Whether or not it had been expected, a guard stood alert just outside his tent. Orion refused to be perturbed.
Their three horses were tied down across the small clearing, loose ropes binding them to one of the largest oaks. It happened that Orion’s wasn’t the only inky steed in their small trio of travellers, but as he approached he was keenly aware that he could finally tell the difference between the two of them. It was an awareness that he both wasn’t expecting, and didn’t understand. It gave him pause, a pause that Convoy, apparently, was not accepting this morning.
That heavy head bowed quickly in greeting, whinnying his opinions – which Orion was again surprised to find he understood to be less of a greeting and more of a reminder. He was here, right here.
He blinked slowly as the gesture enticed him a step closer, and before he could bring himself to think about what he was doing, or indeed, the fear he would have faced only yesterday in the same circumstance, he reached out to touch the jawbone of this creature he’d been struggling to accept. As soon as his fingers brushed with the direction of Convoy’s hair down that long face he was met with a nudge of his hand, a gesture that forced his fingers to shift with the movement. Orion certainly hand’t expected to understand the intentions of a creature that was no more Aetheon than he was a fish – but as soon as it happened, he was smoothing his hand up the middle of the horses’ nose up to the space between his eyes.
Convoy pressed his head against that hand, tipping his head forward, forcing Orion to stroke his hand against that long nose once more.
Without a word, Orion took a few, slow and calculated steps back – aware that he was being watched by every sentient being in the clearing with him. A small smile caught the edges of his mouth, and he turned to sprint back to his tent, tugging the night’s warm jumper from over his head and tossing it over his head toward the tent in front of him.
“We’re leaving!” He called out, diving into his tent and fetching his bag. It was quickly filled with things he’d haphazardly thrown out from the pack the night before in his desperation to find thing he needed to prepare for sleep. A canteen of water, some dried meat, copious varieties of fruits and finally a few clothes.
The bag was the first thing that re-emerged from the tent, followed eventually by a pair of boots, one thrown further than his bag and the other tossed just short of it. The hurry was clear, but apparently his command had not been. The guard had waited, anxiously or not, to discover the meaning behind Orion’s sudden enthusiasm, and not for the first time they were to be berated for their idleness.
When the young prince pushed back the flaps of the tent, and everything behind him collapsed he only laughed, arms full of clothes which he dropped to his feet, safe from the dirt and filfth on the floor only because he’d taken to standing atop the tapaulin of his tent. A fresh shirt went on first, followed hurried by a clean pair of trousers.
“Well, what are you doing standing there! I said we were leaving didn’t I?” He called, cheerful despite the apparent chastisement he’d intended. Both guards took to their duties only a moment later, chaos in their thoughts impossible to detect by the way that they gathered themselves and their provisions.
By the time Orion had his boots and long, fur-lined coat on they’d barely managed to pack the tents but if they thought it was the young prince’s intention to ride with them, clearly they had another thing coming. His bag was set neatly upon his back, and he scooped up a lone apple as he struck out in a stride back to their horses.
“I suppose you’ll catch up sooner or later.” He almost, almost, sing-songed out to the men in charge of his care or more likely, in charge of ensuring the prince didn’t return until the week’s long ride was done.
“Master Almaras!” One of them tried, jogging across to where Orion stood, unwrapping the ropes that bound his horse, and the others. Convoy was clearly excited by the movement and the development that it signalled, front hooves rose and fell against the loose forest floor, as if the steed could barely contain it’s excitement. It was enough to make Orion laugh, out loud, and for the guard who’d taken to his side to allow himself confoundment over it.
“Your saddle, young sir. Stirrups, reins?” He added, hurriedly fetching such things from the small encampment. It wasn’t his turned back that prompted more movement from Orion. He had every intention of doing the very thing he was – whether or not there was resistance. The guard wouldn’t dare to handle the King’s son any more than they would the King himself unless it be of life-saving importance or something otherwise imperative to their survival. Perhaps knowing this, Orion had pulled himself up atop of Convoy’s back.
The other horses had bolted with their release, but trained as they were, both took a circular route within their small clearing, perhaps to allow themselves to witness the unfolding escape as it happened. For a fleeting moment, there was fear written plain as day all over Orion’s face, and if Convoy sensed it too, it was his intent to do something positive about it rather than to rally the young prince he had yet to really bond with.”