This is my favourite coffee mug, naturally.Like most, this one’s made of ceramic and it holds a whopping 20 oz. That’s it’s second best feature, the first being the Superman symbol. It’s been my friend for the two years I’ve had it. This is our second NaNo together and, during November, it gets promoted from ‘friend’ to ‘best friend’.
Anyways, I thought I would share the first little bit of what I wrote today for NaNo. So far I’ve managed to pull off nearly 5k words, which is exhilarating for me because I usually end up falling behind until the last couple days. And the best part is, I still have six more hours of November 1st to write! Oh wait…there is this little problem of a French composition, a Latin quiz, historical book review, statistics test, statistics assignment and essay on classical Rome all due in the next week! :S Wait…next week? Nothing’s due tomorrow? Okay, then I’m good to write for the rest of the evening.
So, I’m not posting all of the 5k because I think that would be much too long for a blog post, so I’ll just show off the first couple thousand. Please forgive any grammatical errors and/or terrible sentence structure. Sometimes it just happens with NaNoWriMo.
DEMONRIA: The Hunt
Kharma awoke in the torch lit cell she had occupied in the Carmaliss dungeon for the last six years of her life. This particular dungeon was a series of man-made caves that ran underneath the guard barracks of the town. The walls were rough and rocky, and the ground was hard and dusty. The thin bedroll they gave her to sleep on was ratty, torn and old, and it was so deformed that it was almost as uncomfortable as just lying on the dirt floor.
There was a metal gate, built into the rock wall of the cave, at the front of the small cell. The torches were hanging on the wall, outside of the gate, just in case any prisoners happened to like fire. The back of the cell was dark, but it was small and short, so all the corners could be seen. None of the prisoners were ever in shadow.
A small, wooden table – more of a stool that was falling apart – stood crooked beside the bedroll. A cracked, clay plate with half a loaf of bread was sitting on the stool, beside a clay pitcher, half filled with stale, dirty water, and a clay cup. The rule of the dungeon was that if you broke your dishes, you didn’t get replacements. Kharma had watched guards pour water into imaginary cups and laugh as it splashed and was absorbed into the ground, because other prisoners had been careless with their dishes.
There was a bucket in one of the corners, where the prisoners were expected to relieve themselves. The damp smell of the caves and moss on the walls helped to hide the stench – not just from the bucket, but from the unwashed prisoners as well.
In dungeons such as this one, the guards and keepers did not care about sanitation. These prisoners had committed grave crimes, so they were stripped of their dignity. Many were awaiting execution, and those who weren’t usually died before their sentence was filled. No one cared. The Captain of the Guard was rather glad every time one of his prisoners died in their cell. One more waste of space taken care of, freeing up more cells for the new prisoners. Criminals were processed every day.
Minor crimes, like vandalism and petty theft, got you anywhere from a few days to a few months; the more series the crime, the longer the jail time. Some criminals, still, are sentenced for execution right away. It didn’t matter. As long as they were off the streets, no one cared any further. It barely took any money to run the jails, either, so the public didn’t have to worry about their taxes being wasted.
Carmaliss was one of the largest cities in the Province of Keloria – the only larger one being the capital, Keloria City. For this reason, the Carmaliss dungeon was also large and heavily guarded. Any attempt to escape was instant death. No questions asked. The rules were strict, but told to all of the criminals. As far as anyone is concerned, these criminals are vermin, and the guards treat them as such. Life in jail is harsh, but only because the criminals that wind up in jail are equally harsh.
Kharma can hear them talking sometimes, about her. The guards seem generally puzzled as to why she is allowed to live. Kharma was sentenced to life in prison, which was rare. Usually, if a prisoner is sentenced to life, they are executed instead. Why postpone the inevitable and take up space while doing so? At least, that’s what the law preached.
Many had wondered why she had not been executed, but the answer is really quite simple. Kharma is alleged to have committed many heinous crimes, but not everything she had been accused of could be proven. What could be proven, did not warrant an execution, but her captor, the current Guard Captain of Carmaliss, had made certain to do all he could to make sure that Kharma received a sentence of life in prison.
The other guards of the dungeon have many stories about Kharma. Some of them are true, but an equal amount is false. Some of them are exaggerated, some of them understated. But she didn’t care. They can talk and complain all they want because, at the end of the day, Kharma is still alive. And, perhaps someday, she would find a way out of this hell-hole.
The day came sooner than expected.
Kharma sat up and yawned, stretching her dirt covered arms slowly. Her entire body and all of her clothes, especially, had a thick layer of dirt and grime all over them. Kharma was so used to looking at dusty, filthy hands she considered them a part of her now. Much of her life she had spent in this state, so jail did not bring many new experiences. Except for the sores that would appear randomly on her body. Some would go away, some would get infected and some, like the ones on her feet, seemed like they were permanent.
Her mouth was dry, but she didn’t feel like drinking. She had drunk that stale water for so long that it had long ago started to taste good. She had forgotten what cold, refreshing water tasted like. Her mouth, she told herself, would remain parched until she could drink clean water again. She had lived through hell many times over, so thirst was no issue for her. She would rather be thirsty than feel like a starving, helpless animal sucking water out of cracks in the ground.
She stood up and her entire body felt stiff. It always did. Partly from the terrible living conditions, but also partly because she had spent every day, all day, working out in her cell. Push-ups, crunches and stretches, over and over again. It kept her occupied and considerably fit. She had a strong will, which was what had kept her alive the past six years. Because of her workouts and will to stay alive, her body had gradually adapted to survive on less food and water than her life before jail had supplied her.
Standing at full height, Kharma was just a few inches away from six feet tall. She had a slim figure, layered with muscle. While she didn’t look completely ‘healthy’, her body was very fit – considering where she was living. Overall, she was the complete opposite of what society figured a ‘lady’ should be. Like most things, though, Khara didn’t care. She lived only for herself, and that was that. She had not survived six years in this dungeon depending on others.
“Well, look what’s awake,” a sarcastic man’s voice sounded in the cave passageways outside the cell. A male guard stepped in front of the gate to Kharma’s cell, glaring at her. He was wearing a full set of armour that reflected some of the flickering light from the torches, and his clean face stood out among the dirty atmosphere. His blonde hair fell just below his ears and his fierce, blue eyes barked at Kharma from across the dim distance of the cell. This was just any particular guard – this was Drake, the Guard Captain of Carmaliss and the man who had apprehended Kharma.
“Hello, Captain,” Kharma said in a mocking tone as she started to walk towards the gate. “What can I do for you today?”
Drake reached both his hands out and clenched two powerful fists around two metal bars of the gate. “You can stay here to rot, which is more than you deserve.” His tone had changed form one of sarcasm, to one filled with contempt. “But that’s not going to happen.”
Kharma was confused for a moment, until she realized the Guard Captain was trying to taint her. So, she started to laugh. “After all the years we’ve known each other, I have to say, you still haven’t lost your sense of humour.”
“This time, Kharma, I’m not joking,” the Captain said in anger, slightly kicking the gate with his boot. “Though I wish I were.”
The smile on Kharma’s dusty, dirty face faded. “What do you mean?” Surely, he was lying. He was just trying to get her hopes up so that he could put her down, as had become a favourite pastime of his. Kharma tried not to fall for it, but the prospect of leaving this wretched place was too great for her to ignore.
Drake removed a ring of keys from inside his armour. “You are being released,” he said again, staring disgustedly at the key ring that contained the key that could unlock her cell and open her up once again to the world. He quickly found the key that he didn’t want to find and slid it into the lock.
“How?” Kharma was baffled. It’s not that she wasn’t happy, she was just surprised. She was lucky to be alive right now. She could have been executed six years ago. But, she at least expected to live out the rest of her life in prison. He is probably messing with her. He has to be messing with her. She was not scheduled to be released. She was never scheduled to be released. So why now? What was the reason?
The Captain slowly turned the key, glaring at Kharma as he did so. “Someone paid the Duke of Carmaliss a large sum of money for your release. As greedy as he is, the Duke took the money and sent immediately for your release, no questions asked.” Drake opened the gate. “That’s all I was told, but it was enough for me to hear.”
Kharma stared at the open cell gate, not sure what to do. Finally, she realized that this was not some scheme for Drake’s amusement. She swallowed hard and walked towards the gate. As soon as she passed through it, though, Drake grabbed her by the shoulders, pulled her to the side and slammed her back hard against the rocky wall.
“You may be free,” he whispered viciously in her ear, “but I’ll be watching you.” He shook her roughly, trying to seem more threatening. “As far as I’m concerned, you don’t deserve to live. Let alone out there, with countless innocent lives.” His fingers dug into her shoulder blades and Kharam knew they were both going to have bruises. “So, if you so much as even raise your voice at someone, I’ll drag you back in here before you even realize you were shouting!”
So, what did you think? Please, let me know. Oh, and if you’re at all interested in seeing my NaNo profile, or you want to be buddies, my NaNo name is ‘William Louison’, or you can just click on the picture of my word count widget. That will take you to my NaNo profile as well. Not that you’d want to check it out…but you should.
Thanks for reading! Happy November!
- Why NaNoWriMo Is Like Christmas (allmeanssomething.wordpress.com)
- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) (nadineatomlinson.wordpress.com)
- Beemind Your NaNoWriMo Progress (beeminder.com)
- Me and NaNoWriMo (brwesterberg.wordpress.com)