Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
Today marks week 13 of the 52 week writing challenge!
Storm was second place in the poll that I had on Twitter to decide last week’s prompt, so I decided to use it this week 🙂
The prompt for 2nd April is Storm:
This prompt is based on another figment daily themes prompt: ‘Seeking shelter from the storm, we made our first mistake.’ I love being signed up to these daily themes, some of them are so inspirational!
This weeks attempt is work in progress based, because I made such a poor start to Camp NaNoWrimo yesterday and I wanted to make up for that. It’s from the perspective of a group of my villains as they climb a mountain for nefarious purposes.
A strong gust of wind whistled around the group of men, who struggled onward through the large snow drifts. All around the mountain, the higher they climbed, the worse the weather became.
A middle aged man looked up towards the sky, and his bandanna slipped from his nose to reveal a long thin scar across his left cheek. Deft hands pushed the bandanna back up to cover his scowl.
“We have to turn back, boss. This is madness,” a young man by his right hand side huffed, as he brought a hand up to cover his face.
“The men can handle it,” the man with the bandanna insisted.
“But boss…” the young man tried again, as his hood blew down and a chill crept up his spine.
“Are you in charge here, Raph?”
“No, boss,” Raph sighed. “But look around… Snow, wind so strong that we can barely walk straight. We’re no nearer to the top than we were before, an we’re not makin’ much progress.”
Raph watched as his bosses sharp eyes scanned over the assembled men as they attempted to trudge upwards through the snow drifts. Hair was tousled in the wind. Ears and cheeks were red. Their hoods were fluttering free behind them, unable to stay up in the storm that continued to batter them.
“We go on,” the boss insisted. A hand reached up to touch his own hood. Dragonskin. Sturdy and clasped tight. It would not fall back, and his shoulders tensed. Neither would he.
Raph huffed, but he did not protest further. The men sighed and continued to struggle upwards.
The wind picked up. It roared around the group, who hunched low and huddled close as they were pelted with cold pricks of ice. They had made very little progress through the snow drifts. It had only gotten deeper, and now they were all drenched.
Soaked through and wracked with shivers, Raph spat out a hailstone and glared towards his boss. “I can’t go on. We’re stopping.”
A few of the other young men looked on with relieved smiles. An older man shook his head in warning.
“Did I say that you could?” Raph’s boss scowled.
“Do you really think my father would forgive you if I died out here?” Raph threw back. “He sent us out here to retrieve the treasure, not die trying!”
Underneath his bandanna, Raph could see his bosses lips twitch. A scowl then. But Raph crossed his arms and held his ground. A glance around him at the assembled men confirmed it. He was right to insist that they stop. If they didn’t, there would either be casualties, or there would be mutiny.
“I agree wif’ the kid,” one of the elder men put in with a gruff cough. He settled against a tall tree, with large branches that bent over in the wind to provide a sheltered nook, and broke into a fit of coughs. When he had calmed down, he muttered, “Here’s good enough place as any.”
Their boss rolled his eyes. “I was assured that you were the strongest warriors in the kingdom. Seraand already proved useless. Must I leave you all to return in disgrace, too?”
A tree branch high above began to wobble, and a loud rumble shook the air and ground around them. Raph shuddered.
“Look around you, boss.” Raph gestured to the rapidly darkening sky and the heavy hail of stones. “Can’t see a thing. Ain’t no way we can go further, even if we wanted to.”
“What we needs a fire, shelter, an a good nap,” the elder man yawned, but he began to choke as an errant gust of wind blew some hailstones into his mouth. The coughs shook his body, and the tree above him groaned.
“Watch out!” Raph yelled, and he began to struggle towards the tree.
It was too late. He could not move fast enough through the drifts. A large branch, heavy with snow, came down on the man with a crash. When Raph reached the man’s side, his hand twitched and went still. Raph shook his head and grimaced.
“See what happens when we stop?” the boss retorted, as he turned with wide arms towards the group. The air crackled, ominous and bright, behind him, and he seemed manic, not bothered by the death of one of their comrades. “Anyone else want a break?”
A large fork of lightning illuminated the sky above them and thunder crashed overhead. Raph shuddered and looked around. “We need to find shelter, cos other than that tree an the mountain top? Guess whose the highest thing on this mountain? I ain’t getting struck by lightning.”
Raph watched as his boss paused and brought a hand up to his chin. He considered the sky above him with a long glance upwards.
Finally, his boss shook his head and huffed a sigh. “Fine,” he relented, as he glanced around them with keen eyes. He cupped a hand over his eyes to peer into the distance. Through the driving snow, he could make out a large snow drift. At it’s base, was a grey stone block. “This mountain used to be home to a civilisation of mages. We can use the ruins for shelter.”
Raph tried to grin, but his lips cracked and he could only offer a shuddered smile. He bent down to grab their fallen comrades pack and hesitated. A glint of gold caught his eye around the man’s neck. Raph reached out a slow hand and lifted the chain over the man’s head, which flopped back against the tree. The snowstorm was quick to cover most of the dead man, but his eyes, wide open and staring into the abyss, remained uncovered.
Raph shivered and looked away. He turned his back on those eyes and studied the crest. Gold glinted back up at him. His father would never return it to the man’s family, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was his father’s assault on the throne, and that needed all the gold that they could get their hands on. Raph pocketed the medallion, retrieved the pack, and hastened to catch up to the others.
By the time he reached the snow drift, the men were already hard at work. They had dug out the snow to reveal half of a stone structure with a high arched doorway.
“That’ll do,” the boss insisted. He approached the arch, and pressed a firm hand against it. It did not give. When he nodded, the men began to head inside.
A deep rumble filled the air, and Raph pushed past the others to get inside. It wasn’t warm, but it was warmer than it was outside. He glanced up towards the ceiling and frowned at the large crack, which ran across the centre. Raph eyed it cautiously for a few moments. When it did not seem to move with each new howl of the wind, he let out a sigh and relaxed his shoulders.
“Start a fire, will you?” Raph ordered one of the youngest among them.
The boy nodded and tipped out his pack. Clumps of firewood cluttered across the floor, mercifully kept dry from the raging storm outside. The boy was a lowly squire, but the desire to alleviate the chill was great enough to prompt the others to move in and help him stack the fire. Soon, the group had a small fire burning in the centre of their shelter, and the men huddled around it, grateful for it’s warmth.
Only one man did not join them by the fire. Raph watched as his boss leaned against the doorway, silent, with his arms crossed and his long cloak draped down his back. He did not even shudder as the wind picked up and tossed the blizzard right at him.
Raph set up their packs in a pile by the fire to block the wind from the doorway and eyed his boss warily. He was stronger than any man that Raph had ever met, and he carried himself as a lord would. The only person he answered to was Raph’s father, and yet, in a competition for the throne, a strong warrior could be an enemy as much as an ally. It was obvious that his boss was a leader, not a follower. Even Raph’s father only referred to the man as ‘Sir Roderick.’
Raph was sure that it wasn’t his bosses actual name, because half of the time the man did not answer to it. A youngster like Raph was only permitted to call him boss anyway. Raph pulled a small piece of parchment and some charcoal from his pack. It was with a hasty hand, and in the language of his mother’s kingdom, that he scribbled the note: A reminder to keep an eye on Sir Roderick, and to confide in his father his suspicions about the mans intentions.
Thanks for reading! I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing that I enjoy writing these supposed bad guys so much!
Next Sunday’s prompt:
The prompt for Sunday 9th April is Trains:
If you try next weeks prompt yourself, let me know how it goes. Post your attempt on your blog on the 9th of April, and leave a link in the comments below this post so that I can read it 🙂
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 🙂