Saturday, July 31, 2010

Prisoner of Water (tentative title): Prologue

The Siren Song Series:
Tribal Era Books:
Prisoner of Water

There is a certain light, not of sun or moon, nor gleam of stars nor the radiating darkness of night. It is the blue light between nightset and daybreak, when for a brief moment both sun and moon barely peak over the horizon. As their colours bleed into the air and mix above the grey earth, turning the sky violet, the whole world below is suddenly transformed blue and cold and crisp and brilliant as the new day seeps into the very fibre of the world.

This same blue light of the morning was coating the antiquarian palace standing by the crashing seashore. It was built of massive, cyclopean white marble blocks, ancient monoliths secured in place by the strong hands of time and generations of black moss between their seams. The bay was uncharacteristically mistless this morning, as if conscious of what day it was and knowing better than to intrude on the palace. A welcoming cool breathe of wind played with the white billowing silk that hung over the windows and in the doorways as if they were sails, refreshing the warm, humid incensed air within the dark, sleeping structures.

A dark set of fingers pushed the white silk over one doorway aside, and the face of the man emerged. He was clean shaven and young, probably closer to twenty than thirty. He stepped down the three wide stairs to the sequestered, white, limestone courtyard. Tall palm trees rose from large stone carved vases in each of the corners of the courtyard, their massive green fronds moving like fingers in the breeze as they hung over the small pool at the center, covered in water lilies and lotuses. In the distance the calls of seabirds formed ambient harmony with the hushing sound of waves continually rolling upon the rocks.

Sitting upon a low wall was another man, in deep blue woolen robes, whose usual tawny complexion was rendered almost as dark as his companion’s by the blue light. He passed a hand through his black, curly hair, the same color as the beard that ran along his chin. He smiled, raised his eyebrows, and shrugged his shoulders in a manner to express a carefree ignorance to the question he knew was bound to come, but he could not hide the nervousness and worry in his eyes.

“I see. No word yet?” the dark one asked the one in blue, as he swatted at a horsefly trying to land on his exposed chest. “Where is Tsinya?”

The one in blue looked towards where the sound of crashing waves was coming from and spoke, “He received an urgent message early this morning by silverwing from the capital. Apparently the university needed him back immediatly. He grabbed everything and made it to the Nkonyana before she set sail.”

“I would assume it had something to do with his master’s illness.” He said, crossing scared arms over his large chest.

“I don’t know. I didn’t get a chance to look at the letter.” the one in blue responded, striking flint to steel and lighting a candle nearby.

“So... he really is gone...” he spoke as his eyes gazed glassily into the flickering flame.

“Well, he will be back. He has to come back. He left this behind for us to finish for him.”
The one in blue brought forth the massive tome, bound with dark brown sea otter leather, crisp papyrus pages glowing white in the blue light before dawn. Opening it up he began to read.

“Here follows the account of, Palo Gocce-Caro, First Recorder of the Great University of the Archduke. In the third year of the reign of the Infant King, sixtieth year of the Great Recorder, I was sent to the Great Inland Sea, to explore its vast reaches. While I was there, the people and the merchants told tales of a land that lay beyond the Great Inland Sea, a land on a great peninsula serrounded on three sides by the Ocean and the fourth bordered by the Inland Sea. I sailed and landed on the coast of what I later found, was called Nyaami. There, under torrential rain, I saw a massive monolith, standing alone on the shores of the beach. And upon it was written in strange characters which shapes recalled to my mind the phases of the moon,
millions and millions of words that ran from top to bottom all around. Having proved that the land did exist, I returned with my discovery to the University. There, my Master, the Great Recorder, told me that I should return, and explore this new land. If there were people I should learn the language. If they were friendly, I should not hesitate to form ties of friendship with them. I did not know then that those friendships would be the kind to last a lifetime. In all I was readied for my journey and so set off again. I decided to start in the south, in what I would later find called, the Great Mountains of Djarmond. And that is also where it all began, because it was there, in those hollowed and sacred mountains, where the Nyaami only sought peace and tranquility, there that the first attacks began, and where blood first stained the snow...


  1. Jean, reading your stories is like watching a movie--the descriptions are so spot-on that images appear effortlessly in my head. The description of the pre-day light on the seaside made me sigh wistfully...I feel like, back in the homeschooler days when I lived in my head, this could have been a chapter from one of my escape books :)

  2. Well your descriptive language certainly explains to me why your name on here is the South African Poet. Beautiful flow of images throughout the opening. I'm looking forward to seeing what this is leading into. :D