Three Hearts: Introduction and Prologue

Three Hearts

A novel in serial by Sam Oliver [Eris]

Introduction: 

This has been a long time coming. I didn’t hit an idea for it until a while back- not too long ago, but long enough that I wasn’t even sure if it was going to come at all. Until now. I have a new novel, a new world, and a new adventure stirring in my mind, and this is how I mean to express it. The characters will live and breathe and die. They’ll grow and have fantastic journeys. Now, normally I’d be inclined to just babble on and on and on- but I think I’ve said enough already.

This is my new work of art, my new work in progress. All I can say now is this:

Enjoy.

-Eris

Prologue

The forest nearby is quiet. Far too quiet, a thick and expectant silence that seems to swallow the heartbeats of those within it. Even the night wind brushing the leaves makes only the faintest rustling. The moon that rises in the air is waxed full and cold, a blue nimbus surrounding it, a fog that seems to shift and spark in the wind. After a time, a long, dark finger of cloud overtakes it and smothers it completely, and the world below is plunged into absolute darkness.

A darkness pierced by a small globe of light, moving swiftly down by the immense rocks, the hand of stone that rises up to kiss the sky. The light pulses with power, with an element of magic, of mana, that rises around the source in a determined shield against the darkness and the silence.

There is a pause and a loud thump, an intake of breath, sharp and pained. The globe falters and then shatters into sparks.  Dropping lower, we make out still nothing in the dark of the hidden moon. We hear, however, heavy, ragged breathing.

Then the moon comes back and floods the jagged stones with silvery, fragile light. There, picking itself up, is a small figure with darkened skin and hair wrapped tight in a long braid. It dances past the shadows of the immense monoliths beside it, right up to the edge of the cliff, careless of stones dislodged by its passage, careless even as the tiny rocks chip away, worn near smooth with age, and fall into the black depths, the rolling tide below.

The girl– for as the moonlight floods down, we see the curved hips and the long hair, the supple body and the teasing flash of bare dark skin near its chest– is swaying on her feet now. Blood drips down her legs, shocking crimson splashing the stones near her feet in drops, in starbursts of red. Around her chest and around her waist, bandages, bindings cover her near completely, hiding skin, hiding whatever wounds drip that blood.

We see and don’t understand the change in her heart, in her stance as she straightens. We see but don’t understand the the set of her mouth and the determined grip she has on something by her side. It is drawn into view.

A thin blade with no hilt, a shining stone edge. The girl reaches up, grips her braid in one hand and the knife in the other, drawing her head back and away. The knife edge is given no resistance, and she makes not a sound as it cuts.

A moment passes. Another. A change comes over the breathing of the girl.

A long black braid glistens, hangs in the air, casting eerie moon shadows over the roughened stone at the cliff’s edge. In another moment, it falls from ebon fingers, slipping down into the silent, hungry waves. A knife plummets down to land in the water as well, vanishing from sight.

A tall, dark-skinned boy stands at the rocks now, his black hair ragged and short, and for a moment it seems as though he will leap into the waves to follow after hair and knife both. The moment seems to stretch into minutes as he watches the water slowly crashing against jagged glass spikes below.

The boy lingers there until dawn breaks, then turns and, moving stiffly, returns to the stand of trees to disappear into the forest. Silence follows him.

 

©2012 Sam Oliver [Eris]

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