RSS

Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Day Darkness Dawned – Part 4

Last part of my bits of this short story. 🙂

—–

To Rokam and Evony’s great dismay, the sun did not return in the morning either. Nor the next day, or the one after that. The skies remained as dark as they had ever been. At times, Rokam wondered if the darkness had actually increased since he had done his deed, but Evony always reassured him that it was merely his heart that showed his eyes a darker world than before.

The kingdom went into an uproar the morning the king was discovered dead. “Slaughtered by an unknown assassin” as they put it in the fliers that were tacked to every door.

The only change that occurred was that of the pale people, “the followers of the king” they called themselves. They wandered the streets as if a great illness had betaken them. Their eyes were tired; bodies weak, and as they attempted to carry on their daily duties, they only managed to grow more increasingly sick. After about four days, the streets were abandoned, making the kingdom out to be a ghost town of sorts. The life of the cities died, along with their king.

Due to their great illness the focus of the kingdom was, surprisingly, not on catching the murderer of their leader, but rather, replacing him with someone of equal power and leadership abilities. Many pale people wished to fill this part, but all of them had fallen ill and thus were rejected as good royalty, the concern for them dying from the illness they had all contracted being too great.

It was not until a month had gone by in this solemn lifestyle, that something rather profound had occurred to Rokam. At first Evony was hesitant to agree with his idea, unsure if it would cause more harm than it would help him, but she was soon very well with it, after having seen her husband’s eagerness to attempt it.

Therefore, they went to the castle and had a meeting with those who were presently judging who would be a good replacement for their leader. They too were people with pale hair and eyes, and they coughed and sneezed the entire time they spoke with Rokam and Evony for an illness was on them as well.

“How do we know-” The older man speaking coughed before continuing, “How do we know that this man won’t harm us? He is obviously one of the travelers from another land.” A coughing fit overtook the older man before he could continue.

A younger, less experienced looking, person sat beside him on a long table where ten or so people also sat. He finished the man’s thoughts for him with a scratchy voice that sounded as if his throat had been cut by knives, “He is right. He could be a threat to the entire kingdom! He could be mad! Why would we put him on the throne?”

Rokam nodded his understanding to the two men, “I know your concerns, good sirs, but I assure you I am neither a threat to this kingdom nor am I mad. You speak the truth, I have gone to the sunlit lands and I am not light skinned like you and your people are, but that does not make me an enemy of you-”

“How can we be sure?” the same white-bearded man spat.

Rokam thought for a moment, “If I were made king, I would not simply use my power for such pleasantries as attending balls or other such things which I shan’t list here. I would go to war for the kingdom which I ruled over; die for the people in it; defend them, whether rich or poor. I would strive to be a king worthy of my title. I may not be of royal lineage nor may I be from a castle or a class of great wealth. I am merely a simple citizen that wishes to fill the hole that has been created by the king’s passing and, hopefully, right a few wrongs which I have committed.”

Silence hung in the room for a moment as everyone at the table pondered Rokam’s words.

Evony shifted uncomfortably beside Rokam. She glanced at him and saw that he stood perfectly still. His eyes were fixed ahead, at the man which he knew would make the ultimate announcement.

After what must have been an hour of waiting while the men that sat at the table whispered amongst themselves, the white-bearded man that had originally spoke turned to Rokam. His eyes were dark and he held a scowl on his face as he announced their conclusion.

“Rokam, son of Rinian, we have all decided that, while we resent that you are a traveler, your examples of noble acts you would perform if you were appointed this high position were-” he coughed again. After a minute or so of coughing continuosly, the man finally caught his breath long enough to speak again, “Your noble deeds were indeed pleasing to us. Since we have seen nearly all the males in the kingdom and deducted that none of them are fit for the job due to illness or otherwise impure hearts, we have no alternative but to appoint you king post haste. Your coronation and crowning will be in exactly two hours.”
Rokam bowed low, “Thank you, Sirs. I will do my best to uphold the standards set for me and even far exceed them in hopes to prove to you that none of you have made the wrong decision.”

Rokam and Evony were then escorted out of the castle as the preparations for Rokam’s crowing began and the news was announced to all of the kingdom.

–•–•–•–•–

The sky was still black as Rokam began walking up the steps that would lead to his throne. Evony watched in the crowd, holding her breath and praying that the sun would return.

Many people kept their eyes glued on Rokam. Some of them held faces of disgust for their new king and his obvious rebellion against their old leader. Some were so sick they barely realized what they were watching. And some others yet, watched in awe of Rokam’s crowning for they liked that there was something different about this man. Something which they could not describe.

As Rokam walked up the steps he heard the crowd gasp each time he placed his foot on a new step. At first, he wasn’t entirely sure why they were doing this, but soon the answer was obvious. The sky began to sparkle with streams of sunshine. White clouds appeared and light leaked into the kingdom of darkness.

When the sun came out, some were awed, but others cried out in pain as the brightness blinded their eyes. For they had become far too accustomed to the darkness they lived in. The shouts of joy because of the sun’s return were mixed with cries and sobs for the loss of blackness.

Evony merely watched silently. A bright smile was spread across her lips. Rokam would be a good king.

–•–•–•–•–

I wish I could tell you that after Rokam was crowned there was a hundred of years of peace and then his heir took over the throne and there were a hundred more years of peace, but sadly, that is not at all what happened.

It is true that Rokam was a good king and he ruled with the just hand of a judge, but the gentle hand of a father. All who lived in the kingdom loved their king, for no one was as kind as he. And that was how he ruled for eight years, in a kingdom of peace and love.

Evony had their child not five months after he was crowned king and they were both joyous to find that the baby was a girl. They named her Clara and she was the jewel and crown of both the king and queen.

Sadly though, as I mentioned, there were not thousands of years of peace nor even hundreds or even fifty, but only a mere eight years was Rokam king. For on the anniversary of his coronation, a war broke out in the kingdom. The castle was attacked in the darkest hour of the night, when all but a few guards slept.

The enemy army made their way to Rokam and Evony’s bed chambers, murdering Evony as Rokam was forced to look on. They then captured the shattered king, who put up no resilience after having gone through the pain of watching his first love breath her last, and also took Clara, his eight year old daughter.

While in the prisons of the enemy camp, Rokam learned of his daughter’s capture and begged to make a deal with the leader of the camp. He traded his life for her release.

But the enemy was a breaker of many oaths, and he did not hold true to his word. Clara stayed captured, even after her father’s death and she remains a slave to the enemy’s leader even today, but she is still a light. The remaining gift that Rokam and Evony left to the world of Kochav.

As for Teshmar and what happened to the kingdom after it was overrun. The sun went black again with the crowning of a new king and light was once again forgotten. Only this time, the sun would not return to the kingdom until the end of Kochav, when light would return to all the world.

King Rokam, Queen Evony, and Princess Clara, though, were not forgotten. They remain in stories that are told to the little ones before they drift into sleep. The tale of how a simple commoner became the greatest king in all the history of Teshmar.

——

Advertisements
 

Book Review – The Unseen by Luke Alistar

You can find “The Unseen” by Luke Alistar on Lulu and Amazon.

Set in early America (Pennsylvania in 1849, if you want exacts) this book gripped my attention from the start. It opens up in an asylum for mentally ill people, where a seventeen year-old girl named Lucy Satin has grown up. Labeled an outcast for claiming to see phantoms, or ghosts. 

Within the first few chapters, I am told of the cruelty that the patients suffer at the asylum and am given a glimpse into the haunted mind of Lucy. The character quickly won my heart and I was routing for her survival and triumph until the last page. 

Alistar does an outstanding job of playing the heart strings of the reader, instantly inciting both pity and love for little, helpless Lucy. 

Like watching the aftershocks of an earthquake, the author shows us the affects that various traumatic experiences have on the girl, and how they have altered her maturity and mental state. From beginning to end, Lucy remains a disconcerting mystery. The character is easily loved and pitied, but her past is still questionable and so is her judgement. This weaves together to make a nicely-paced story that I found to be an enjoyable read. 

Negative Content:

The book contained two scenes where rape was mentioned, though not in such blunt words. The description did not go into unnecessary and squirm-worthy details, though the obvious message could definitely prove as reason to keep this book away from younger readers. 

I, personally, felt that the first scene where sexual assault was mentioned was not disconcerting or nightmare-inducing. Alistar wrote it tactfully and was able to make his point without causing discomfort. However, the second scene crept a little bit too close to the edge of my comfort zone for me, and I would have preferred had he maybe skipped over it a bit more. 

On a similar note, as you can imagine, there are a few scenes where Lucy is undressed due to bathing, cold, simply shredded clothes, etc. Her physical features when nude are not mentioned to us though, which keeps such scenes acceptable and appropriate.

Also, in one scene, an older character attempts to explain the motive behind the mens’ actions towards Lucy. Once again, he doesn’t go into details, but does mention sex and the world’s unsatisfiable hunger for it, like money.

Various characters let a few curse words slip, usually referring to another person or themselves in anger or frustration. Because of this the words ‘ass’ and ‘damn’ are used  multiple times and the term ‘bastard’ is used once. Lucy is also referred to as a ‘whore’ on several occasions, and commonly called a ‘witch’ along with comments about burning her.

Having been raised in a military town though, I didn’t feel the use of such words distracted much from the story. The context they were used in wasn’t horrible and didn’t pose a stumbling block for me. If you’re really uncomfortable with profanity in any sense, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to you though. 

Positive Content: 

While this book doesn’t exactly paint images of rainbows and fluffy kittens, it is sprinkled with pictures of positive morals and uplifting messages.

From start to finish the book shows examples of sacrifice, loyalty, friendship, and perseverance. Lucy herself shows great bravery and courage by pressing forward, regardless of when things grew too dark for her to bear, with the intention to keep a promise she made to a friend before his passing.

Though many people treat her cruelly, the girl also meets two other people who are willing to stay with her. One of them, a phantom, shows loyalty by staying by her side, even though he feels helpless and another character plays the role of a temporary mentor, making quite a few points about her situation in the short time he spends with her. 

In the asylum, where people have proven to be cruel, we are told a few kind folks in that dark place that have shown care towards Lucy and given her hope. They display examples of helping someone even when you, yourself, need help. 

Conclusion: 
 
All in all, I thought this book was exceptional. It made me cry. It made me smile. It made me ponder. It left me torn between true and false. It was…awesome (to be honest, really, it was.) 

I love books that make me think and expect me to catch up on implications to understand the story. This seemed like one such book. The writing style was uniquely simple yet good and captivating. There were a few typographical errors, but nothing great enough to really distract from the story. 

The book left an interesting question to wonder over. 

If you saw Lucy, would you pass her by, or would you offer a caring hand to the girl who has no one?

It’s certainly something to ponder when I’ve spent a day in Lucy’s shoes, reading through the pages of her trials and misfortune. 

Though the theme (or themes) of the book could be interpreted in so many ways, I felt it cried out for people who had gone through what Lucy had; who had been in her situation. Who understood her pain. It gave a heart to the heartless, who wouldn’t want to comfort a person in that situation. 

Luke Alistar definitely pulls together this dark theme and shows us a world beyond our comfort zone, taking us into a mind we wouldn’t want to tread in. He delicately weaves together a storyline that could have easily slipped into a turn for the worst and makes it pass with flying colors.

In the end, I’d recommend this book to anybody searching for an intriguing read. I would warn younger readers away from it, or anybody with a sensitive stomach for things such as rape, profanity, or torture. It isn’t really for the faint of heart, and it’s a dark story to take in, but the moral lessons and food-for-thought are worth it.

-Bethany Faith

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books, Historical Fiction

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

100 Theme Challenge: Day 17

So, since I skipped so many days of this, due to novel writing and character development and all that other crazy stuff us writers do to get novels finished before we die * cough * I mean…writing. 😉 I figured I’d post this on Saturday instead of waiting aaaaaaaall that time until Monday. 😀

One Moment

Never again would I be the same when I must carry around the scar of this moment. I would never forget the screaming and tears. They would change me forever. I would wear them in my heart; a badge that proves I have fought in wars. It would be like a ghost that whispers in my ears at night and haunts my every move; the memory of the sudden fight.

I knew this the instant it happened. I knew my life had changed and would never be the same. The moment I saw anger rising, I felt my world change.

 

100 Theme Challenge: Day 16

Theme: My Inspiration

Whispered Writings

It came like a flash of lightning. It was as silent as the cat that hunts in the night; unexpected and mysterious. As if it were a nightmare that caused my heart to beat faster, it woke me with a jolt.

Without much time to record my thought before it vanished into my forgotten memories, I rushed to where I could write. I Picked up my pen, a sword for a writer, and dipped it into the black liquid. Expertly, the sharp tip grazed against my white parchment.

The letters formed themselves. The ideas came without thinking. My inspiration whispered and the words were written.

 

100 Theme Challenge: Day 15

Theme: Tears

Tears On A Hillside

Rain fell down from the sky. The droplets of water landed nearly silently on the green grass, but if one was quiet, you could hear their chorus of plopping and dripping. Dark clouds covered the sky. The air was filled with a sheet of rain and the heavens were covered with a blanket of gray fog.

The green grass bent when the droplets hit it and swayed when a gust of wind came. A few rocks sat on the hillside, scattered here and there by many years of being undisturbed by anything but the weather.

Nobody had dared to come up the hill since the dark event had taken place. It seemed as if the memory lurked there, haunting all who would dare to disturb it. It had been precisely ten years since the occurrence. Ten years exactly, not so much as an hour off.

Lightning flashed above the hill. Thunder cried out in response. Rain powered down at a greater speed and quantity. It seemed, almost, as if the clouds where crying for the life that had been taken.

The tears of the sky trickled down one of the rocks. The clear liquid magnified a small stain on a boulder. The stain of blood that could not be removed, no matter how loudly the clouds would sob.

 

100 Theme Challenge: Day 14

So, this was an interesting theme because there were so many different ways I could portray it. Originally, I thought I would just go the traditional route and write the beginning of a “boy meets girl and they fall in love” type story. But that was boring. So instead I took a sentence from something a friend of mine wrote and used that as inspiration for the story. So…it’s doubly themed. 😉 I just titled it the sentence that I used…because I’m lazy, haha.

Theme: Love

The blood falling to the ground from your friend’s throat, bubbling with the last breaths of the life he gave for you.

It all seemed surreal. Fake. As if I wasn’t really there. I could feel the sweat make its way down my brow. My sword felt lifeless in my hand. Somehow it was heavy yet weightless. I swung it through the air without thinking. Expertise was in every stroke. Years of training floated away. A lifetime of planning seemed to vanish. Now it was just me. In a war.

I hardly noticed anything but the man that I had engaged in combat. He was a good swordsman. His sword came down strong on mine. It caused my arms to shake more than once. His eyes were cold as he glared at me. I could see his chest heave with great breaths as he grew more wary. He was a great swordsman, perhaps. But I was greater.

I began to congratulate myself on my advanced fighting skills. My mind drifted from the battle to other thoughts. Women could fight. I was going to prove them wrong. Today, I would be the first girl to have fought in a battle. I would be a legend. Someone told about in stories.

The battle became foggy as I sunk further into thoughts of fame. My sword strikes began to fall short. Breathing grew more heavy. Arms grew more weak. I soon found that my enemy seemed to be growing in strength. He grinned at me and his lips moved with the words of a taunt. I glared back at him. For a moment, I took my eyes off his sword to stare into his eyes.

I barely caught a glance of his sword. It flashed brightly in the sunlight as it slipped expertly pass my defense. I took in a breath. Then I was on the ground. My body was shoved out of the way of the fatal strike and another took my place.

My eyes widened as they watched. The sword of the evil man plunged into the chest of a young soldier. The tip protruded from the other side of his body. Slowly, tears slipped down the boy’s cheeks. Blood trickled from his mouth that opened in a silent scream.

I looked away at that moment, unable to see much more. I would never be able to forget that boy. I had never spoken to him. I had never seen his face before. And yet, for what reason I am not sure, he gave his life to save mine.

 

100 Theme Challenge: Day 13

Theme: Vengeance

With Her Died My Heart

It was such a minor problem. She had not meant to wrong me.
It was such a small argument. I could have merely let it end.
It was pointless to hold a grudge against her. She had never meant to be bad.
It was such a silly fight. It wasn’t her fault. No one had to be blamed.
But I was blind.

In the end, no matter whom I blamed, I was the one that caused it all.
It was me who drew the sword. I was so filled with anger.
It was me who became like a shark; blind at the moment of the kill.
It was me who chose not to forgive. I chose vengeance.
She had to die.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,