Please forgive shoddiness – this is an unedited draft.
Opening scene. A small group of characters is gathered together for a particular purpose. Another character enters unexpectedly and does something that sparks a confrontation. Include dialogue and action. Make the setting come alive for the reader.
Mine was not exactly to the brief, but close enough. Enjoy.
Twelve lords waited impatiently. The shuffling of their heavy boots echoed off the castle walls. Fractors passed.
“The witch guard has been sighted. Gentlemen, he comes,” said Lord Lothrvren the Seeing, taking his place at the second chair. Brooms hovered near the gate stirring the ancient dust which hung stagnantly in the morning sunlight.
“‘Tis about time,” Lord Lemthroll of the Gale Plains mumbled, defying custom and settling into the oalexter wood of the sixth. The others ignored him, bored with his baiting.
“To stone!” boomed an authority beyond the mathryligt gates and the skin of Lord Lemthroll dried and crackled until he was nothing but a clothed statue. A wry smirk remained etched into his face as if a sculptor had meticulously crafted him so.
“Any one else?” the King questioned, flicking his fingers toward his throne and abruptly flopping on to the creaking brichen wood. The men finally took their places as the King slouched across the sacred table, observing his handy work.
“By the Gods Lemthroll’s malevolence is exhausting. His stamina to piss me to powers at every encounter could be considered admirable if he wasn’t such an arrogant ass. Still, may he think on his rumblings a while, though he’ll most likely spit his complaints the second he crumbles,” said the King jovially. “So, I am here. A brew forthwith and then on with it,” he ordered to the air.
“Yes sire. Ale for his majesty,” Lord Simthosn the Leering turned from eleven, clicking frantically at a fidgeting squire.
“We are near to ready, sire,” said Sir Donslock from the tenth.
“Near too? Well where is she?” the King questioned, soaking the dripping ale from his beard with the furred cuff of his sleeve.
“She prepares as we gather, Sire.”
“Preparing? Summons her. How hard can it be to burn a bloody book?”
Thrwaabrawl the Grieving stood from the seventh and placed his scarred hands upon the cold, elfin stone. He cleared his throat and glared at the King.
“Your Majesty, these proceedings can not be rushed. The portal will open for but a fractor and will show no sympathies to the triviality of time, nor mood.”
“Thrwaabrawl. No matter how predictable your challenges have become you truly possess a charm Lemthroll lacks. It soothes my axe from searing off your head to be sure,” the King smiled at his best Knight.
“A great comfort for both I and my charming head, Sire.”
“I wager it is lad and I do thank you for your counsel. I, more than most Elfin understand the necessity of ceremony,” said the King and motioned to the squire to fill every goblet at the table. Each eagerly skolled the offering and for a moment there was cheer.
“She comes, sire,” a voice called as a procession of veiled maidens took their place behind the twelve chairs, softly placing their slender hands upon a shoulder of each lord, who locked arms with the warrior beside him. A final maiden awaited shrouded in veils of scarlet and mottled greens. The crown of ethryl vine rested upon her ebony hair, that glistened impossibly in the shadows. The King muffled his awe with ale and stood to toast her.
“High Eless, you honour us this day and we raise you to the clouds of the Ethryl.”
“Reserve your misplaced podiums for the race we save.”
The king scowled. “Let us commence then. Send in the witch guard!”
The cloaked brigade of witches flanked the Eless five wide and four deep flying her to the centre of the elfin stone table, set ablaze with iridescent flame.
“Open it,” the King ordered as the Eless flicked at the flames revealing a swirling hole of endless colours.
“The book,” the King yelled once more as the Eless ignited the unassuming item and flung it into the portal. She chanted wildly, saturating sound and space until the portal diminished as quickly as it appeared and all that remained were the inhabitants of the great hall.
“It is done. Let us drink to a hope the humans do not fuck it all again,” the King raised his goblet once more.
“Daemonologie will not exist. How they manage that will be up to them,” the priestess panted, flapping at the witches who flew to her aid.
“What cycle are they in?” asked the King.
“Tis the end of the feminine. Hopefully their warring will ease as they enter this new dawn, but I hold no hope.”
“Well, we have done our part. You may rest now Eless. As always your services are commendable and no doubt will be called upon in the foreseeable future.”
“I am not your smithy, nor tailor, nor servant in any form – King. Today I leave for my ascension,” the Eless climbed down from the table, refusing assistance from several lords.
“What? You cannot ascend! Who will take your place? Nay! I forbid it!“
She moved to the gates, her laughter coating the hall and all but the King suddenly smiled sheepishly, as though their ale had been hexed with sugar blossom syrup. He flicked his fingers and the unaffected witch guards flew before her, nervously blocking the exit. The Eless eyed each one in turn then shifted her formidable malice toward the king.
“You turn weak elfins to stone and make witch folk do your bidding. You do all this with the knowledge of my power and still you dare challenge me? You are no different from the race we protect dear King, flimsy and transparent as the throne you bark such stupidities from. Do not force me to silence your wretchedness permanently.” The Eless turned to the witches. “And you. How quickly you forget your origins, birthed from the quietest corner of my mind. Shall I return you there? Reincarnate you to mere imaginings, shapeless and fleshless, to nothing more than cloaks and brichen branches?”
Every broom jerked violently to her. The witches legs and arms turned rigid, their long hair fell straight like straw towards the slate flooring.
“Forgive us,” they screamed in unison, shattering the glass panes in the high tower.
“For the last time,” she answered impatiently, then flicked her fingers towards Lemthroll whose stone crust instantly crumbled. She flicked again and Thrwaabrawl awoke from the enchantment and began hazily dusting the remnants of rubble from Lemthroll’s skin.
“Sixth and Seventh. The maidens of my order who still rest their hands upon you are your equals in all. You will pair. The sixes will bare a son, sevens a daughter. From them the child will be my replacement. Send her to the Shellendaire mountains on her eighth. I will await her.”
The gates flung open before her. The clear golden morn had been replaced by a white plague of snow. The Eless held her hand to the rousing storm and looked over her shoulder one final time.
“Mind your kingdom and place King. We are none above the other without one or one thousand by our side. Rule with the oath, or perish with extinction.” She lifted her hands skyward and was gone.
“Always drama with that one…”
“Sire, you should not…” Thrwaabrawl began his counsel, but was too late. The petals of every flower known to the land cascaded from the Kings mouth, flowing over his beard and scattering decoratively upon the floor. He slammed his fist hard into the stone and pointed frantically with the other. Lord Lemtrholl laughed aloud. He looked up at his new match who smiled warmly back at him, then flicked her fingers towards the King and the floral warning disappeared.
“Many thanks to you, fair Lady,” gasped the King patting his face and taking a deep, loud breath. “And to you both. Now, preparations. New estates and all Sir Thrawaabrawl and Lord Lemtrholl require. All ceremonies commence in the morn, the entire kingdom shall attend. I expect full bellies and the sounds of bairns filling the castle before the year is out. Go to. You shall produce a replacement even her gods will envy.”