W: Wizards’ Keep Opening Scene

I’m sorry I didn’t get a post up yesterday. I’ve been struggling to find motivation and focus lately and excerpts are proving much easier than articles.

Today’s excerpt is from a high fantasy novel I started on a whim and wrote about 4k of before stopping to focus on something else. I think I got it off to a pretty interesting start, but I’d need to formally plot it and further develop the characters before I could do a full novel justice, and this story – like The Elementals – has a case of “I mentioned something important and now I have no idea where I was going with it.” Anyway, I hope you enjoy this first scene. :)


Safira crept through the old underbrush, careful to keep from snapping stray branches underfoot. She could sense her two companions a few feet away on either side, but her attention was focused on one thing, a fascinating find from their last scavenging trip. After a moment she stopped, peered through the overgrowth, and smiled. There it was. The legendary wizards’ keep.

She gestured to her companions and they nodded, approaching her. They stepped out of the forest and walked up to the wall of the keep, watching for animals. Safira rested a hand against the chilly gray stone, still smooth after so many years.

Safira glanced at the other girl, who was brushing copper curls out of her face. “See anything?”

“Nothing aside from that.” She pointed to a heap of weeds and flowers with the ends of wooden somethings poking out of it in all directions.

The two of them walked over to the heap while their male companion admired the architecture of the keep. Safira pulled away some of the weeds and took a soft breath. The plants were entwined with at least a hundred staffs. “It’s real,” she muttered.

The red-haired girl nodded.

Safira pulled a white staff from the pile and admired it, the feel of the smooth wood pleasant in her hand.

“Edmund,” the redhead called, “come here. We found something.”

Edmund came over, brushing a hand through his tousled brown hair, and his eyes widened upon sight of the staffs. He rushed over and grabbed a brown staff, looking it over before swinging it around a few times.

Ferara gave in and grabbed a dark red staff, only looking at it a moment before swinging it around. It cracked into Edmund’s and in a moment they were engaged in a sparring match.

Safira ignored them and walked over to the keep’s gate. The portcullis was closed, but it would provide excellent hand- and foot-holds, she thought. She tucked her staff into her quiver strap and started climbing. In moments she was on the ramparts, walking over to one of the towers. The old door opened easily and soundlessly and she stepped into the dark room. There was a window across the room, covered over by heavy curtains.

She crossed the room carefully and pulled the curtains aside. Golden sunlight spilled in and showed that she stood in an armory. Swords and bows hung on the walls and sat in stands, untouched by decay or even dust. She stepped over to a bow and ran her hand along it. It was masterfully engraved and shaped, no doubt by her people.

Brushing a hair behind her pointed ear, she headed to the steps in the corner of the room and started down. The next floor had a small hallway of sorts and a door to what was likely a bedroom. She opened the door and stepped inside. Like in the armory, everything was in pristine condition, giving no hint to the fact that the keep had been abandoned for centuries.

Her hand brushed against the bedclothes as she reached for a small leatherbound volume on the nightstand. It was the only thing that seemed to have been touched by age, and she brushed the dust off it reverently. A page fell out as she opened it, and she stooped down to pick it up and tuck it back inside.

Safira smiled upon reading the first page, finding it was a wizard’s journal. She took a seat on the bed and started reading the elegant handwriting.

Grevan 12th, 3145

Here begins the first entry of Alabaster Graves’ journal.

Today was quite a day. My first day of Academy, and I’m almost certain that I’m a teacher favorite. Cedar Elderwood gave almost every question to me and seemed immensely pleased when I answered every one correctly. I suppose that being born into the Keepers does give me an advantage over the transfers.

Safira skipped ahead.

Tellemor 17th, 3153

Edana accepted my marriage proposal. My anticipation cannot be contained. I’ve been awaiting this day since that first day of Academy. Our wedding is scheduled for the 22nd of Serdan.

She skipped about sixty more entries, until her eye finally caught on something interesting.

Serdan 22nd, 3153

Today was supposed to be my wedding day. Instead it was something entirely different. I hesitate to speak of the matter, but future generations of Keepers will need to know what has happened, and I don’t trust spoken accounts.

The Grinders have arrived.

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