Thursday, 11 October 2012

Not Today

I'm really sorry but there will be no October Backstory Challenge post today. I'm away from home the entire day and won't be back until late so I have no time to write this post. There will be a post on Friday, however. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 10

Saoirse Tenth Year

Saoirse was learning quickly. Her knowledge expanded as she worked her way through the library. Her archery skills were also growing. Her father had found someone to teach her hand to hand combat and how to fight with various weapons.

Beathag decided she was old enough and trained enough to leave Aberness once again. They strode through the trees, naming the different plants and animals that they came across. Beathag showed Saoirse different paths that wound their way through the forest.

After that day, Saoirse found herself inextricably drawn to the woods outside the walls. Once her lessons for the day were done she simply walked through the trees. She loved the way the sunlight filtered through the leaves and found its way through to the forest floor. A waterfall could be heard somewhere in the distance.

Whenever she went for a walk Saoirse made sure to bring her bow and quiver, as well as a small hunting knife. She understood the need to protect herself and wasn't about to be caught unaware.

While walking through the forest one day she heard something rustling in the undergrowth. She stopped and listened. She was near the city, but far enough away from it that no one would be able to come to help quickly.

She took a few more steps and stopped when she heard rustling again. Saoirse strung her bow and moved slowly again, listening carefully. She focused her mind and noticed a presence. A man stood behind a tree not too far away from where she was.

Saoirse aimed her bow and stood still. Her arms began to shake but she steadied them. She listened to the man's thoughts and gasped. Without hesitation she released her arrow. It struck the tree he was standing behind, but she quickly restrung the bow.

The man moved out from behind the tree. In his hand he held a knife. "Watch it, you might hurt someone with that," he said.

Saoirse watched him, her bow aimed at his chest. "Don't take another step," she said.

"Or you'll kill me? You're just a wee girl. You couldn't hurt a fly."

She released the arrow and watched as it struck the man in the chest. He fell down and moved his hand to touch the arrow that protruded from his chest.

Saoirse ran toward the walls, nearly tripping over her feet as she did so. She stumbled over a root and spat out dirt. A different man stood over her with a knife. "Where are you going? We're not done here."

She focused her mind on him and steeled herself. "What do you want with me?"

"You are the king's niece. We want power. With you in our grasp, he will be forced to comply."

She spat on his shoes.

He made to stab her with his knife but she blocked him. With her small knife she drove it up into his ribs and twisted. He gasped and released his own knife. "Who are you?" he asked, his face contorted in pain.

"Your worst nightmare."

She shoved him off and ran back to the wall covered in his blood. As soon as the soldiers of the wall saw her they called for her father.

He came running and held her close when he saw what state she was in. Saoirse hugged her father back. Fearghas and Beathag came running also. She opened her mind to them as they neared the pair and Beathag gasped. Fearghas simply looked at her, and she looked him straight in the eye.

The entire time her eyes remained dry.

Quote of the day: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 9

Saoirse Ninth Year

After Fearghas discovered that Saoirse was a silvern and that she was being trained by Beathag, he decided to have a part in her education. He found out she had abandoned her studies for archery and made it his mission to turn her into a scholar.

He started out small, reintroducing her to the basics and not advancing until he was absolutely certain she had mastered them. Once she started she advanced quickly. Her knowledge grew as Fearghas fed her information. Her days became full of archery and her lessons.

One day Fearghas told Saoirse he wanted to show her something special. He led her through the palace corridors and into the heart of the building. They stopped before two large ornately carved wooden doors. He pushed the doors open and they stepped into a large room. It was full of shelves upon shelves of books and manuscripts. Large windows allowed light to filter into the room and illuminate the book stacks.

Saoirse stared at everything. She turned around to take it all in.

"What is this place?" she finally managed to ask.

"This is the palace library. This is where all of the history of Dunan and even Abermuir is stored in Aberness. And as a member of the royal family, you have full access to it."

"I can read all of this?"

He chuckled. "Well, as much as you can before you die. Where would you like to start?"

"The history of the cities."

Fearghas steered her toward the section where the history of Abermuir was stored. She pulled a manuscript at random and sat down at the nearest table. She spent the entire afternoon pouring over the manuscript. Every night after that she read a manuscript.

He smiled. He was happy to have inspired such a scholarly love in the young silvern.

Quote of the day: Reading one book is like eating one potato chip. - Diane Duane

A Little Late

I just wanted to quickly do this post. My October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge post will be up after 6:00pm EST tonight. Once it is up I will post a link on Twitter for any followers. Thank you for understanding.

Monday, 8 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 8

Saoirse Eighth Year

Saoirse was good at what she did, and she was getting better. Every single morning she was at the home of the Forest Archers practising. She was becoming faster and hit the target much more frequently. Her eyes still remained the forest green they always had, never reverting to silver. Her ability to sense persons, their thoughts, and their true nature was becoming stronger. Most times she did not focus on anyone and so ignored the thoughts that whirled around her. Sometimes she would feel the need to be certain who was around her.

Artair would sometimes watch her firing arrows or working with Beathag. He stood in a corner so as not to interfere with what she was doing and never spoke. He would stay for varying amounts of time, but whenever Saoirse turned to speak to him, he was gone.

One day Paton took Saoirse out to the wall that surrounded Aberness. The wall was made of stone. It towered above all and was surpassed only by the trees. It was a yard thick and completely smooth with no handholds. The wall completely surrounded the city with two openings; one to the north and one to the south. Two large wooden doors stood at these openings covered in carvings.

The pair stood above the north gate looking out into the forest. "This city is under our protection," Paton said. "It is our duty as Forest Archers to protect it with our lives."

Saoirse nodded. If she focused her mind she could sense all of the people behind them within the city, as well as several citizens moving along the road through Dunan Wood. She ignored the people and focused on the woods around her.

Animal sounds echoed throughout the trees, though they remained unseen.

"As you know, occasionally raiders come to try and attack the city. They hail from either the other cities, or are wild men of the forest. We fend them off. Usually Fearghas, the king's main silvern, is wandering around trying to sense them."

Saoirse flinched inwardly when he said the word "silvern." She wondered if she would ever meet this man and what would happen if she did.

"Ah, speak of the devil. Hello Fearghas!" Paton called to a man coming toward them.

The man was tall and had dark brown hair that reached his shoulders. A thick curly beard covered the lower half of his face. His silver eyes twinkled as he smiled. Fearghas was portly, but his walk suggested that he was more agile than he appeared.

"Good day, Paton," he said in a deep voice.

Saoirse gasped when he stepped near. She felt a pang of anxiety in the pit of her stomach. When she looked up she noticed Fearghas watching her closely. She kept her mind closed and simply provided him with her hand. "Hello," she said in a small voice.

"You must be Saoirse, Paton's prodigy archer," he said as he shook her hand.

She nodded and stood up straight.

"This child will be the best archer in this city one day, I wager," Paton said proudly, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Fearghas smiled again. "I wager she will be."

Saoirse cast him a sidelong glance, but hurriedly looked away when she noticed him looking at her.

I know what you are. The deep voice resounded in her head.

Her eyes widened but she made no other sign that she had heard anything.

Will you tell him? she asked.

No. Obviously the king wishes you to be unknown, and so it must remain. But the day will come when your secret will be known to one and all, and you must deal with those consequences.

Quote of the day: There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself. - Raymond Chandler

Sunday, 7 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 7

Saoirse Seventh Year

After the incident that had occurred the year previous, Saoirse always maintained her green eyes. They were never silver, even in private, for fear that someone would see.

In her seventh year, Saoirse's wish to learn how to use a bow was granted. Her father took her to the home of the Forest Archers, protectors of Aberness.

The Forest Archers' home was in the boughs of an extremely tall and thick tree. Its leaves hid the platforms and masked the buildings, hiding them from view. A long stair extended out from the trunk and led up into the foliage above.

Saoirse and Sealbhach stepped through a simple doorway and into a simply furnished room. The most elaborate thing in the room were the knots and designs that were displayed all throughout the region of Dunan.

"Hello, may I be of service to you?" a man asked as he approached the pair.

"Good morrow, Paton. My daughter wishes to join your services," Sealbhach said as he shook the man's hand.

Paton looked down at Saoirse as she looked up at him. He was a very tall man, and barrel-chested. His reddish hair was a shock against his pale skin. His clothes were very simple and he wore his quiver on his back.

Saoirse was tall for her age and her dark curly hair was getting long. She was scrawny and dressed simply in something that did not fit her correctly. Her large eyes stared out of her pale face obstinately.

"Do you think you'll be a good shot, girl?" Paton asked.

She nodded her head.

He gave her a miniature bow and some small arrows. Standing her in front of a target he told her to shoot an arrow and try to hit the middle. He showed her how to hold the bow and notch the arrow. When she was ready he stood back. Sealbhach watched anxiously.

Saoirse held the bow and arrow in her hands and aimed at the center of the target. She took a steadying breath and released the arrow. It flew through the air and hit the target dead-on.

Paton's jaw dropped. "You certainly have one talented daughter, Lord Sealbhach," he said when he had recovered.

Her father rubbed the back of his head with his hand. "Yes, she's rather talented."

"May I join the Archers?" Saoirse asked as she stood before the archer.

Paton leaned down. "We shall start training immediately. You'll be spending a lot of time practising  do you understand? And no dresses. Wear trousers and a tunic, they won't limit you as much. I expect you here tomorrow after you break your fast, all right?"

She nodded her head solemnly.

Quote of the day: Do one thing every day that scares you. - Eleanor Roosevelt 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 6

Saoirse Sixth Year

Saoirse grew to be afraid of her eyes when she discovered what others thought of silverns. On occasion she would forget to change her eye colour. Whenever this happened the king and his family would act as though they were not related. Many others who saw her were also afraid of her eyes. Her father never called her by her given name whenever her eyes were silver in public. Instead he would call her by her silvern name: Silverhart. He had given it to her when he had spotted a silver hart racing through the wood one day.

One day two boys and a much older girl were pushing her around. They had been in the castle courtyard and not many people were around.
"Why do you have silver eyes? I want silver eyes!" the fat boy said as he pushed her to the ground.
"I think I deserve the silver eyes," the girl said as she kicked Saoirse in the side.
Saoirse curled up in a ball and placed her hands over her head as her father had taught her in case she was attacked by a wild animal.
"What do you think would happen if we cut out her silver eyes?" the lean boy asked. He produced a knife as long as his forearm and advanced on her.
She saw the knife in his hand and her eyes grew wide. She began shaking her head and closed her eyes tight, squeezing them shut. "No, no, no, no! Please, leave me be. Go away!" She heard their thoughts in her head. They were abusing her, calling her names, thinking about what they could do with a knife to her. To her eyes. "No!" She was shaking now, the boy with the knife only inches away from her face as he leaned down, leering at her.
"You there, what are you doing with Silverhart?"
The voice was familiar and warm. The children ran away in fear. They did not want to be caught taunting the king's property.
Saoirse felt strong, warm arms wrap around her and lift her off of the ground. As she was carried into the wooden palace the familiar voice spoke soothing words. She was placed on a bed and a hand rested on her shoulder.
"What were they doing, Saoirse?"
It was her father. He had rescued her from the horrible, horrible children.
"They wanted to cut out my eyes, father." Tears seeped through her closed lids onto her face and dripped onto her pillow. "They wanted to know if I would still have my power without my eyes. If they could take it from me. They wanted to cut out my eyes," she whispered. 

Quote of the day: Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. - William Goldman

Friday, 5 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 5

Saoirse Fifth Year

In Saoirse's fifth year, a deadly plague swept through the city of Aberness. Many either died or were horribly crippled with lingering health issues. King Artair's only son and heir, Art, was the only one in the royal family to fall ill. After many painful days, he eventually passed away in a poppy-induced sleep.

The entire city mourned the young boy's untimely death, but could not be worried too long with the king's problem when they had their own. The city's finest physicians and witches worked to find a cure. Sealbhach, Brighde, and Saoirse were lucky enough to be free of the illness.

When it seemed as though the plague had disappeared, Brighde fell terribly ill. She remained bed-ridden and confined to a room separate from everyone else. Saoirse would often stand in the doorway and watch her mother silently.

The day finally came when Brighde knew she would die. She was getting worse and would not live to see the next sun rise. She called Saoirse to her bedside. Her daughter ran to her, not caring what the doctors said.

"My dear," Brighde croaked. "I want you to know that you are a very special young girl." She gently placed a hand on Saoirse's head and rubbed her thumb on her daughter's forehead affectionately. "I want you to understand that this was not your fault." She gently touched her daughter's eyes with her thumb one at a time. "Grace has given you a gift, and you must learn to use it wisely."

Saoirse nodded. Her eyes were glassy with tears as she watched her mother closely. Brighde was frail and weak. She seemed tiny covered in the many blankets as she was.

"I hope you understand that my death is a part of life. People come and go, with only a select few remaining in your life. You must cling to those people as they will aid you in all your endeavours. I may leave, but another will take my place. A new friend perhaps you will meet." Brighde paused and took a shaky breath. "Please know that I love you."

Her daughter hugged her tightly. When she pulled away, she found her mother had pushed a locket into her hand. "Keep it with you, for it will bring you good luck," her mother said with a smile.

Brighde shivered and looked at her daughter once more. She gripped her hand tightly and smiled as well as she could before closing her eyes and taking a final breath.

The young girl watched to see if her mother would open her eyes again, or take another breath, but when it soon became apparent she had left this world. The doctors tried to take Saoirse away from the room but she fought them. She hit them and kicked, clawing through them to get back to her mother's side. Her tiny frame shook with the force of her sobs. She called her mother's name until they took her away.

Time moved slowly. A witch gently lifted her up and took her away from the room as another doctor pulled the blanket over Brighde's calm face. People watched as she was carried away and taken to her own room. The witch placed her on her bed and left, casting one last sympathetic glance at the young girl.

Sealbhach came to the doorway and spoke to the witch, questioning her. When he heard the news he put a hand against the doorframe to hold himself up. He sent the woman away and looked at his daughter.

Saoirse lay on her bed with her back to her father. She had fallen silent, her tears falling freely down her face and onto the blankets. Her shoulders rose and fell as she took deep breaths.

Her father moved toward her and sat next to her on the bed. He gently placed a hand on her shoulder. She closed her eyes tightly. She turned and looked up at him, her eyes a piercing silver. Sealbhach hugged her tightly and she began to sob again. They sat like that for a long time, both crying onto each other's shoulders.

The moon set and the sun rose, casting its warm light into the room. Saoirse felt it was cruel that the day could be so happy and bright when a tragedy had just occurred.

"Your mother would want us to move on," Sealbhach finally said.

She said nothing.

"Dear, you must go to sleep. Get some rest and we'll speak in the morning."

He tucked her into bed and made to leave. "Father?"

"Yes, Saoirse?"

"I want to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow."

He nodded. "We shall see."

Quote of the day: I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Thursday, 4 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 4

Saoirse Fourth Year

Saoirse became close friends with her cousins. Brighde watched as her daughter grew more confident around the other girls whilst Beathag kept a close eye on anyone who became suspicious of the little girl.

The young silvern became enamoured with her city in the forest. It was beautiful and enchanting. There was always something happening, and always one place she hadn't been. She dragged her mentor all over town trying to find out its secrets. Although she was beginning to know Aberness, she had yet to explore what lay beyond it. The trees and rivers and mountains were not familiar to her at all.

Beathag decided it was time to take her beyond the walls. They stepped beyond the city's gates and Saoirse was awe-struck. Before her were trees that reached the sky. They were enormously tall and wide. The amount of greenery was astounding. Birds sang in their homes and other animal sounds could be heard around them.

The elder silvern took Saoirse only a little way beyond the city's walls. They played in the river that ran nearby and searched for pretty stones.

As Saoirse was searching for a stone for her mother, a little bird alighted on a nearby branch. She looked up and watched it curiously. The bird cocked its head and twittered at her. Saoirse gently focused on the bird and heard its gentle singing thoughts. She whistled to it and titled her head to one side. The bird replied in kind, hopping a little closer. She encouraged the bird to sit on her hand and smiled. She called to Beathag with her mind and looked up at her with the biggest smile.

Beathag smiled back and whistled to the bird. It looked at her and cocked its head before flying off. "Very impressive, Saoirse. Let's go tell your mother and father about what you did today."

Saoirse nodded and followed the older lady. Suddenly, Beathag became rigid. She turned her head this way and that, as if to hear something clearer. She pushed Saoirse forward. "Run, girl, run! Get inside the gates!"

The young girl ran without thinking, obeying Beathag's command. The older silvern followed less agilely. Behind them, men were chasing them. They were dressed in dark green and wore scarves that covered their faces. The men notched their arrows and began shooting at the pair.

"Run, Saoirse! Keep going," Beathag yelled. They stumbled through the gates, but did not stop. Beathag found a nearby soldier.

"Raiders! There are raiders beyond the walls!" she shouted at him. He nodded and signalled to the soldiers on the wall. Arrows rained down on the enemy.

Saoirse stood in the midst of the confusion with her eyes wide. Silver began to peak through her green irises. Beathag immediately went over to her and held her close. "Are you all right dear? Are you hurt?"

She could only shake her head.

The older woman gently stroked her hair, repeatedly saying, "It's all right, it's going to be okay."

Saoirse watched over her mentor's shoulder as the men on the wall fired arrows down at the men beyond. She made a promise to herself that one day she would be able to use a bow and protect the people of her fair city.

Quote of the day: You never really understand a person until you consider things form his point of view . . . Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. - Harper Lee

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 3

Saoirse Third Year

Saoirse quickly gained control of the ability to alter the colour of her eyes; usually this took many years. Beathag, her mentor and tutor, was impressed and told the parents of her young charge that she would grow up to be a very powerful silvern.

When Saoirse turned three, Beathag began teaching her a basic education. She learned her alphabet and extremely basic maths. Mainly she was taught how to master her abilities. Her mentor, who was also a silvern, taught her how to listen to a person's thoughts, how to sense a presence, to discover a person's character.

One day, Beathag decided it would be best for the young girl to leave the nursery and see the rest of the palace. Brighde wasn't very keen on this idea, but she was won over when she saw her daughter's eyes turn forest green.

The next day Beathag took Saoirse out of her nursery for the first time. They traversed the corridors of the palace and made their way out to the courtyard. Saoirse remained silent, simply taking in the beauty of the forest that was her home. She had often seen the trees out of her window and smelled the foliage, but she never could she have imagined the true size of those trees or the scent of the leaves so close to her face.

Aberness was a busy city. The sights and sounds made her head dizzy. Beathag took her to the palace gardens. The flowers and bushes surrounded her protectively.

Two young girls were also outside playing games. Saoirse watched the pair with her wide eyes. "Why do you not go to them?" Beathag asked.

"I don't know them," she replied, clutching Beathag's skirts.

"You're not afraid of them, are you?"

She shook her head.

"Well go on, go say hello. They are your cousins." Beathag gently pushed Saoirse toward the young girls who had stopped and watched the whole process curiously.

Saoirse approached the girls slowly. When she was standing two feet away she stopped. "Hello," she said in a low voice.

Deirdre looked at her. "Hi, I'm Deirdre, and this is my sister Morrigan."

Morrigan simply waved.

"I'm Saoirse."

"I know. We're your cousins," the elder princess said. She leaned in close. "Don't worry, we won't tell anyone about your secret. You can trust us." She leaned away and smiled widely.

Saoirse gently listened to her thoughts as Beathag taught her and realized that young girl meant what she said. The silvern smiled back, albeit a little shyly.

"Do you want to play with us? We were just going to pick some flowers."

Saoirse nodded and ran off with her cousins to pick the prettiest flowers they could find.

Beathag watched the young girls from a distance. She smiled as she watched her young charge laugh and talk animatedly with her cousins. She may not have the same eye colour as the other little children in the palace, but she could still make friends with them.

Quote of the day: To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life. - T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 2

Saoirse Second Year

The other courtiers whispered about Brighde and Sealbhach. The most popular rumour was that their daughter had died days after she had been born. Several others said that Brighde had miscarried, that the child was locked in a tower, and that she had been so deformed the couple had been obliged to kill her. The lesser circulated rumour was that she was a silvern. No one paid much attention to those rumours.

Whenever Brighde heard them she turned up her nose and went to comfort her two year old daughter. She was beginning to speak. her sentences were much more formal than the other two year olds in the palace. She ran around the nursery, forcing her mother to chase after her.

One day Brighde fell asleep with Saoirse in her arms. The little girl gently wiggled her way out of her mother's grasp and slipped to the floor. She could hear someone's thoughts on the other side of her door.

Hoping it was her father, she quickly ran to the door and pulled it open. Instead of her father, standing before her were two young girls. They were Artair's daughters, gone searching for the trapped cousin. Deirdre, the eldest at five years, gasped loudly. Morrigan, who was the same age as Saoirse, simply stared. "You're a silvern!" Deirdre whispered loudly.

The door slammed close. Saoirse looked up. Standing over her was her mother in tears. She kneeled down and forced her daughter to look her in the eye. "Saoirse, you must never open that door. Do you understand me?"

Saoirse simply nodded, her eyes wide as she looked at her mother, slowly comprehending Brighde's thoughts. "I understand."

Her mother hugged her tightly, hoping her nieces would be silent. She had always laughed off the rumour that Saoirse was a silvern in public, and she knew that courtiers would simply laugh at the imaginative daughters of Artair. She still held her daughter close, as if she could protect her from all of the scorn and mockery that would one day be directed at Saoirse if anyone found out what she was.

Quote of the day: If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk. It's so many people never seen de light at all. - Zora Neale Hurston

Monday, 1 October 2012

October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge Day 1

Today is the first day in the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge. Basically you post memories from your past through all of October in any medium you so desire. There is also an option to write the backstory for characters in your writing. This is the option that I have chosen to help flesh out my main character.

Saoirse First Year

When Saoirse was born with her eyes closed, no one knew what she was. As soon as she opened them in the privacy of her own nursery, her mother and father knew that everything would change. They called in her uncle, the king. When he saw her eyes, he hesitated.

"Does anyone else know?" he asked.

Brighde, Saoirse's mother, shook her head.

They all looked down at the baby girl. Her large eyes were wide as she gazed up at them all with silver irises.

"This must be kept a secret," King Artair said. "No one must know of this. For now she will remain in a private nursery and isolated from the other children until she can master her eyes."

Brighde and Sealbhach, the father, both looked at each other. They knew that their daughter's silver eyes meant she was a silvern, a psychic. It is law that all silverns work for the king and live within his palace. The silverns were feared due to their power and so were either mocked or ignored by everyone else. Having one in the family was considered a curse. That Artair wanted to keep Saoirse's powers a secret was not a blessing to her parents, he simply had a reputation to maintain.

Saoirse remained silent through all of this. If she focused on one adult she could faintly hear their thoughts. When she blinked her eyes changed colour before returning back to their natural silver hue.

Her mother looked down at her and smiled gently. Her daughter would have a difficult life ahead of her.

Quote of the day: It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions. - Jim Rohn