Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts, Week 6: Darkness.

Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!

Today marks week 6 of the 52 week writing challenge!

Introductory post: Sunday Scribbles announcement post
Past prompts: Sunday Scribbles past prompts

I finished my #internetbestie competition entry today. I even made a cover for it:

coverinternetbestie-copy

Background image credit: pixabay.com, where you can find many free to use images!

The completed version can be read here: http://figment.com/books/1027013-Cryptic

The prompt for Sunday 12th of February is: Darkness

ss-12th-feb-darkness

I’ve gone back to my work in progress, Dragonspire, this week.

My main character, Arckia, is from a village where dragons keep torches alight at night. It is never truly dark.

When he is exiled, the world that he finds himself in has no such luxuries. The level of technology is similar to that of medieval England. There are no modern street lamps, no torches, and no lights from nearby houses at night. Forced to camp out in the wilderness, Arckia experiences total darkness for the first time in his life.

At the moment, I’m not sure if this scene will appear in the completed novel or not. Whenever I write, I splurge every scene idea that I have onto the page, and end up with a large word count to sort out later! My blog will become home to many such outtakes from my final draft 🙂

Characters:

Arckia: My main character. Bound to a dragon, but exiled from his village because of his poor bond, Arckia explores the world that he has been thrust into and tries to meet the conditions which will allow him to return home.

Orik: Arckia’s dragon.

Maria: The first person who Arckia meets on his journey. Arckia has been paid to escort Maria to the next town.

My Attempt:

When the sun had begun to set, Maria had led Arckia off the beaten track, and under the cover of some large, bushy trees, so that they could make camp.

Arckia had called Orik, his dragon, who had settled nearby with a huff. Bread and berries had been consumed, and Arckia stretched out, warm and content, by the fire.

“I think I’ll turn in for the night. We have a long way to go tomorrow,” Maria murmured through a yawn. She stood to roll out her sleeping bag next to a tree near their campfire, and settled quickly, curled on her side.

A few moments later, Arckia looked up and asked, “Should I keep watch?”

Maria did not respond. Her shoulders rose and fell with each steady breath. She was asleep.

Arckia sighed and stood on unsteady legs to prepare his own sleeping bag. He shuddered as his dragon caught his attention, curled up behind the dying fire. The beasts eyes were closed, and yet he still cut an intimidating figure against the eerie light from the last embers of the fire.

A rustle came from the undergrowth, and Arckia was on guard in an instant. The leaves brushed against each other, and a rabbit hopped free. Arckia let out the breath he had been holding, and watched as the rabbit leapt towards the dragon. Orik rolled over and snorted. The rabbit froze, wide eyed and frozen in time for a second, before it fled the clearing.

Arckia took a deep breath and clambered into his sleeping bag. As he glanced at the flames, which flickered beside him, he felt the tension leave his weary limbs. The last thing that Arckia saw before his eyes slipped closed, was the dancing of the dying embers as the fire burned out.

Arckia stirred, and he felt awareness creep in at the edge of his consciousness. His eyelids flickered briefly, and he covered his mouth as he yawned and opened his eyes.

Darkness. Nothing. He couldn’t see. Arckia swallowed hard and closed his eyes. He muttered a backwards countdown from ten under his breath, in an attempt to quell the panic which had stirred in his chest. When his eyes fluttered open again, the darkness still engulfed him. Where the fire had provided a warm light earlier that evening, there was now nothing. The fire had gone out, and Arckia shivered. He was blanketed in darkness. Under the dense foliage of the trees, not even a sliver of moonlight made it through to their camp.

A sudden rustle pierced the quiet of the night. Arckia turned, frantic, and pinpointed the source of the sound. The bushes to his right. Arckia’s shoulders tensed. He sucked in a deep breath and held it, as his hand trailed down his chest towards his belt. His fingers closed around nothingness.

Arckia glanced towards the fire and rolled onto his side. The wind blew, and above him, the trees rustled, parted. For a fleeting moment, the blade of his dagger glinted in the sliver of moonlight which slipped through the trees. Then, it was gone, swallowed by the darkness.

Somewhere on the other side of the fire, Arckia heard a snuffle. He pressed a hand to the ground and shuffled upwards, so that his shoulders began to emerge from the sleeping bag. The bushes began to rustle again, and Arckia watched, eyes adjusted a little better now, as a darkened shape emerged. His entire body tensed as the shape moved towards him, and he could not take his eyes off it.

Arckia’s hand reached out of the sleeping bag, slow, careful, as if he barely dared to move. He felt around in the dirt, fingers searching, until they ran over something flat and hard. Arckia grabbed the rock, and he threw it in the direction of the shadow.

The rock missed, but the shadow froze. Then, it hopped away into the undergrowth. Arckia sighed and leaned on his elbows as the tension left him. He shuffled closer to the fire and felt around for his dagger. When he found it, he drew it closer. His right hand remained outside the sleeping bag, clutched around the hilt.

Arckia glanced over in the general direction where he knew that his dragon lay. He inched closer towards where the fire had been, movements hesitant and slow, as the large outline of Orik became clearer.

Orik did not stir, and his side rose and fell with even, calm breaths. Surely if there were any danger to be had, the dragon would be awake in an instant? By the trees, Arckia could make out the shape of Maria’s sleeping bag. She let out a grunt and rolled over. Arckia’s breathing slowed, and he took a deep breath as he lay back down. His eyes slipped closed, and he forced a smile. It would be okay. It would be…

A howl split the air. Arckia whimpered. He closed his eyes tight, and he thought of home. His warm bed, four solid walls to keep the wildlife at bay, the village streets, where, no matter where you went in the village, the street lamps never went out.

A few tears slipped from between his tightly shut eyelids and trailed down his face. Arckia’s fingers released their hold on the knife, and he sniffled as he curled in on himself, limbs brought in tight to his chest. His arms slipped around his own waist, seeking comfort that no one was around to provide.

The rustles and scuffles and howls of the night continued around him, and Arckia shuddered. His heart continued to beat a staccato rhythm in his chest, and he was hyper aware, terrified of an unknown threat. He tried to will himself back to sleep, but it was too much, too new, too frightening. He whimpered and dropped his head closer to his chest.

As he lay awake, tense and ears strained, one sound became more prominent. The sound of Orik’s breathing cut through the small clearing, closer, and louder than any of the other sounds which surrounded him. Arckia latched onto it, focused on it, and let the familiar sound wash over him. It took a long time, but, eventually, he drifted into an uneasy sleep. His nightmares were filled with darkness, and a falling man with wide eyes.

End prompt.

Thanks for reading. Did you try the prompt yourself? If you did, let me know how you got on!

I encourage participation from anyone who is interested, so if a prompt takes your fancy, give it a go. If you make an attempt and post it on your blog, let me know the link in my comments section. If you can attempt the prompt in less than 140 characters, you can also #sunscribbles on Twitter. I am super interested to see what you all come up with 🙂

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