Karli is Andra’s pet dragon rescued in opening scene. Ferdinand is a white owl He belongs to Marius the Weaver. Ingrid is Andra’s family servant. The Chapter House is set in the Ecclesian Forest.
Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down.
Obadiah 1: 4
‘The stars are falling. The stars are falling.’
The cry echoed through the Chapter House and into Andra’s dreams, but in her dreams it wasn’t the stars that cascaded through the night. A man was falling from the imploding universe. His descent ended when he smashed through the glass ceiling of Marius’ workshop. This was the sound that entered Andra’s dream. She sat up, holding her breath to listen. Karli’s rhythmic snore came from the corner of the room where she was curled before the stove, but there was no other sound. The remnant of last night’s fire bid farewell in a shower of embers. Oh, that’s all it was. Andra let out her breath and flopped back to her pillow, relief playing around her lips in a smile as she lay in the dark with the fragments of her dream around her.
But then Karli cried and rose to the air. Andra was alert too as from behind the drapes at the window, the sky glowed. She leapt from her bed and threw back the curtain.
Fiery debris was falling into the forest. Glowing streams of light trailed though the night accompanied by screams of panic and cries for help. When her door opened she jumped and turned to see Ingrid beckoning.
‘Andra, we need you. Come quickly.’
Andra dragged on her robe as she followed. Karli swerved above them down the corridor. The Chapter House had come alive with many footsteps, pounding through the halls like a heartbeat. Ingrid pushed ahead of her into Marius’ workshop. Andra stopped at the doorway with a hand to her mouth.
The Weaver’s hair was hanging in long strands about his face and his shirt was blackened and smeared by ashes. He was frantically moving the bowls of stars to the safety of a trunk. Ingrid joined his rescue efforts by putting out spot fires that started as the embers fell and landed on stored blankets and fabric. Ferdinand circled and dived around the ceiling until he flew away, out through a broken section of skylight. Karli flew after him squealing.
‘Karli, No.’ Andra stood underneath the skylight watching them disappear into the falling, burning sky.
‘She’ll be alright. Come help me here.’
They fought the embers threatening the Weavers desk.
‘It’s not the stars is it?’
‘No, it’s not.’ Ingrid smiled and patted Andra’s shoulder pointing to another ember taking hold of the floor rug. Andra smacked it and it expired.
Then with a crack, the universe fell in and landed heavily on the workshop floor in the shape of a man. He was followed by a shower of glass and other debris.
‘Look out.’ Andra pushed Ingrid out of the way as a large metal bar fell into the workshop and crashed through the loom. Ingrid clung to her.
‘The Weaver’s whole life is in that loom.’ Andra said but she saw her own future lying in the splinters of broken timber and tangled thread.
‘It will be mended. There are more pressing things now.’
‘Help me here,’ called Marius as he bent over the visitor who was lying very still.
‘Is he dead?’
‘No, but he is burned and very badly injured,’ he replied.
Ingrid joined the Weaver in his task. Their heads were close together as they loosened the scorched clothing and inspected the injuries.
‘We need to get him to the Infirmary.’ Marius ordered.
Together they rolled the body onto a Star Blanket. Ingrid took one end and the Weaver, the other. ‘On three’, said Marius. ‘One, two, three.’ As they left the workshop, he called over his shoulder, ‘Stay here Andra.’
The fire rain had ceased but the smell was still strong in the wreckage of the workshop as trails of smoke rose here and there. Not sure what to do next, Andra loitered around the smashed loom, collecting pieces of wood and cogs. She gathered them into a pile. This provided her with momentum, so she swept up the broken glass and disposed of it on the same pile. It was not long before she had a mound of debris and her uncertainty was replaced with satisfaction.
As she surveyed the workshop for more remains, something caught her eye. She reached under the corner of Weaver’s desk to retrieve an intriguing brooch. It was tarnished by fire and broken at the clasp. One side displayed the long feathers of a peacock; on the other a silver snake twisted toward the centre which contained a red gem surrounded by smaller ones, two of which were missing.
She moved from the workshop to the balcony for a better look under the lamp on the wall there, but her inspection was interrupted by Karli’s return. The fire lizard landed on the wall and Andra deposited the brooch into the pocket of her robe.
‘Hello you. Sssh. Let’s hear what’s going on.’
A crowd was gathering below in the courtyard under instruction from the Captain of the Guard. His voice rose to where Andra and Karli watched from above.
‘You are looking for survivors of an airship crash about two kilometres in. Stay with your group. If you have been given a medical kit, you may go. Thank you for your assistance.’
The crowd filtered into the forest which Andra could see was alight in places. From the darkness she could hear calling as the volunteers from the village and the Chapter House spread out into the search area.
She swapped her robe for one of Marius’ jackets and threw her backpack over one shoulder. She jumped down the stairs two at a time and raced out the door of the Chapter House into the courtyard.
‘Can I help?’ she asked the Captain, who was now turning the courtyard into a temporary infirmary, setting up stretchers and medical equipment.
‘You can get more linen from the Quartermaster.’
‘No. Can I go into the forest? Karli here has great night vision and I. . .’
The Captain was looking her up and down.
‘I think you would be safer here, little one.’ He turned away from her without another word.
‘Oh, Captain, please,’ Andra called after him but he did not respond. He picked up his pace and joined another man who was establishing a tent.
Andra stood in the courtyard, alone for the second time this night. The gates of the Chapter House were open and the forest lay beyond.
‘The action is all out there, Karli,’ she said. The fire lizard responded with a chirrup and hovered, looking out the gate. She turned her bronze head back to Andra and called again.
‘I know. I know. I should do what the Captain said.’
She turned to enter the Chapter House when Karli flew in front of her. Flapping her wings, she herded Andra toward the gates.
With a glance behind to make sure no one was watching, Andra slipped beyond the gates and onto the path leading into the Ecclesian Forest.
2 thoughts on “Andra of the Aki”
I loved the way you described her piecing together that it was a dream, without using the cliche that she woke only to find it was just a dream.
I love the line “pounding through the halls like a heartbeat”
Not sure what bowls of stars are, but maybe previous chapter’s give insight, or maybe they control the stars?
So much of this sounds so poetic, like “The Weaver’s hair was hanging in long strands about his face and his shirt was blackened and smeared by ashes”
I stopped reading when they were told they we’re looking for survivors of an air ship. It struck me as odd that someone else had to tell them what they were doing.
The whole story line was extremely confusing and I couldn’t figure out what a loom and star bowls and star blanket etc were used for and why the universe would be in the form of a man? Are they Gods? Maybe this would be more clear after reading past chapters.
Your writing style is what kept me reading. This is so beautifully written.
Hello! Thanks for sharing! Before I get into the details, I just wanted to say this has the makings for a fun story. I can tell you write well and with a few polishes this will be great. Now for my super nitpicky comments. 😀
“Andra was alert too as from behind the drapes at the window, the sky glowed.” There should be a comma after “too”.
“Fiery debris was falling into the forest.” You could make this more immediate: Fiery debris fell into the forest.
“Andra dragged on her robe as she followed.” I’d use a word that reflects the mood of the moment. “Dragged” slows the action. On that note, you could also replace “followed” But it’s not really a big. Deal, I’m just nitpicking because this is awesome so far 😀
“The Chapter House had come alive with many footsteps, pounding through the halls like a heartbeat.” I’d break this into two sentences The Chapter House had come alive. Footsteps pounded through the halls like a heartbeat. Maybe… I dunno. See what you think.
“Ingrid pushed ahead of her into Marius’ workshop. Andra stopped at the doorway with a hand to her mouth.” Not sure what it is, but I feel these two sentences are lacking something. I think it’s because they’re right next to each other and have the same rhythm. I know you can make this better.
“The Weaver’s hair was hanging in long strands about his face and his shirt was blackened and smeared by ashes.” You could change this to: The Weaver’s hair hung in long strands about his face” Anytime you can get rid of some of “was” is a good time 😀 (The same goes for the was in the following sentence about the bowl of stars.
“Ingrid joined his rescue efforts by putting out spot fires that started as the embers fell and landed on stored blankets and fabric.” This is a bit hard to follow without knowing the scenery in the room. Is Ingrid patting down a shelf, is this in the center of the room, the side? A good place to establish a bit of scenery would be when Andra stops at the doorway. Just give us a quick glimpse. If this is a setting you’ve already established in a previous chapter, take this opportunity to tell us something new and interesting about this (obviously interesting) room (I mean, bowl of stars! I’m so interested.)
“Ferdinand circled and dived around the ceiling until he flew away, out through a broken section of skylight.” Nothing major here, I’d just suggest exchanging “until” for “before” or “and then” or something like that. Maybe “…before flying out through a broken section …”
“Andra stood underneath the skylight” I was confused at this because earlier you’d said it was a glass ceiling. Which is it?
‘She’ll be alright. Come help me here.’
They fought the embers threatening the Weavers desk.
‘It’s not the stars is it?’
“What they want with humans is anybody’s guess, as for us, what you said earlier about the Harag being escaped lab rats, wasn’t so far from the truth. They escaped from the Quaadah something like two thousand years ago, possibly even earlier, no one is certain. At some point the Harag learned humans could be infected or turned, call it what you will, and hahmi were born. They’ve been hunting us ever since.”
For the section above, I’d suggest more dialogue tags since there is a third character. Also, why isn’t the Weaver saying anything?
“Then with a crack, the universe fell in and landed heavily on the workshop floor in the shape of a man. He was followed by a shower of glass and other debris.” I thought he’d already fallen through? If not, what broke the glass and where’d all the fire come from? Also, why the delay?
“‘The Weaver’s whole life is in that loom.’ “ First, she’s talking about him as if he’s not also there. Second, she’s in the room now and so should say “this” room. But also, this dialogue feels a bit flat. I know you can do better.
“‘It will be mended. There are more pressing things now.’” Said ?
“‘Help me here,’ called Marius as he bent over the visitor who was lying very still.” In a single scene you should stick to calling the character the same name. You’ve already started out calling him the Weaver, it’s a bit odd to suddenly switch to Marius. Also, this is the first time he’s said anything. Why?
‘Is he dead?’ Said ?
“‘We need to get him to the Infirmary.’ Marius ordered.” This isn’t written as an order, an order would be “Get him to the infirmary” Also, I don’t think you need to cap infirmary, it’s not a proper noun.
” a Star Blanket.” I’m not sure what this is, maybe it’s been explained in previous chapters. (along with the reason it is capitalized)
‘Stay here Andra.’ said ?
‘Hello you. Sssh. Let’s hear what’s going on.’ This dialogue seems a little out of place, maybe include it with the action below, so we know what she’s referencing. Also, there should be a comma after “hello”
“A crowd was gathering below in the courtyard under instruction from the Captain of the Guard.” This sentence is a bit confusing. It could be understood several ways 1: Under the instruction of the captain of the guard, a crowd gathered below. OR A crowd gathered in the courtyard below at the instruction of the Captain of the Guard. It could use some clarification. (notice both times I removed a pesky “was” 😀 ) In the following sentence, I’d change “His” to “The captain” just to be extra clear.
“A crowd was gathering” A crowd gathered in the courtyard under instruction from the Captain of the Guard.
“If you have been given a medical kit, you may go.” I was a bit confused at the wording here, does it mean you get to go on the search if you have a medical kit, or you can leave your group? or you get to leave entirely for someplace else?
“The crowd filtered into the forest which Andra could see was alight in places.” I think there’s a comma after “which” There should also be one after “From the darkness”
“She swapped her robe for one of Marius’ jackets” Again weird to be switching back and forth on the name. Maybe some characters would always/only call him Weaver, others would only call him Marius. You as the narrator must also choose a name that you will be calling him, and that is best done with whichever character’s POV you are in for the scene.
“She swapped her robe for one of Marius’ jackets and threw her backpack over one shoulder.” Same sentence, different issue. Where’d she get her backpack? did she go back to her room or is it his backpack? If she did go get her own bag, why is she wearing his jacket?
“she asked the Captain” You don’t need to cap Captain, unless you say “she asked Captain Bob”
There were a few more instances of “was” that I didn’t comment on, for the sake of brevity. I can’t remember where, but I’m fairly certain Ellen has a great post somewhere on this site about words like “was” and “were”. Also, I noticed just a few filtering words “heard” “felt” that sort of thing. Ellen also has a great post on weeding those out.
Happy writing! Keep at it, I love your voice and style 😀