Friday, June 9, 2017

The Heroes' Inheritance- Chapter Seven

May I present the latest installment of my WIP!

Chapter Seven



Mark heard Anduin’s footsteps coming towards him, and tried to climb to his knees, to reach for his sword, to do anything but lie there, completely helpless. Every time he moved, though, pain exploded in his torso, and he gasped for breath as he recovered.

Anduin stopped, and Mark felt the dragon’s hot breath on his face. He opened his eyes and saw Anduin on his right, walking slowly in a tight circle around him. The reptilian beast spoke in a voice so quiet Mark had to strain to hear his words.

“I remember the old days, when your father defended Liphaeum against the dragons and Dark Wizards,” Anduin said. “He was a mighty warrior, and many of my most faithful servants were slain by his hand. By human standards, he was an extraordinary fighter, and I wondered if his children would grow to be as exceptionally skilled as he was. Do you know where your father is now, Mark Farlander?” He continued without waiting for an answer. “He’s in the fortress of K’Raya, being tortured by Andrew Swiftviper. He will not be able to endure much longer. That is what your parents got for their meddling. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll forget about the wizards of Liphaeum altogether… though, judging from your attitude so far, you won’t be easily persuaded.”

He paused, and Mark saw the dragon’s head hovering over him. “How should I kill you?” he mused. “After the inconvenience you have caused me I think you should burn… but you should know how it feels to die by the claws of a dragon.” Anduin bared his teeth in something that vaguely resembled a terrifying, hungry grin. He lifted his right front leg and placed it on top of Mark’s body, pinning him down. Then he lifted the claws of his left front foot over Mark’s chest.

Time seemed to slow down. Anduin’s weight pressed down into Mark’s torso. He squeezed his eyes shut and cried out weakly with pain; then he sensed Anduin bringing his claws down. He would be skewered in four places, and he knew that it would be the most painful death imaginable.

He heard two people screaming, and dimly realized that one of the voices was his own. He wished for it to be over, for the pain to end. Death would be a mercy compared to this agony.

He heard a woman scream in denial, and sensed a rush of movement. He waited for the pain, but it never came; he dared to open his eyes and saw Anduin, his left leg dripping blood, mouth open in a long, deafeningly loud roar of pain. Mark realized that the dragon’s leg had been cleanly sliced off below the joint. He saw Mara standing there between him and Anduin, holding Mark’s sword in both hands. The blade dripped blood onto the ground.

Anduin whirled towards Mara, nostrils flaring, his yellow eyes filled with hatred. He started to step towards her, but she raised the sword again, and he stopped. “You will pay for this, Farlander,” he hissed. “You and your whole family will suffer for what you have done.” He turned to Tamar. “Come,” he growled, then launched himself into the sky. Tamar shot the twins a venomous glare, then followed.




All was silent for a long moment. Marianna and Adam stared at Mara, stunned. Then they seemed to notice why she had attacked Anduin. Marianna saw her nephew lying sprawled on the ground, and it felt like her heart nearly stopped altogether. “Oh, Father, no,” she whispered. She dropped her staff and rushed across the clearing, dropping to her knees beside Mark. His face was ashen, his eyes closed. For one horrible moment, Marianna thought he was dead. She pressed her hand gently to the center of his chest and waited. She sighed heavily as she felt a faint pulse. “He’s alive,” she breathed.

“William and one of his men are right behind me,” Mara told her.

Marianna looked at her niece, surprised. “Swiftviper came as well?”

“Yes, with nine men,” Mara replied. “I distracted them and led them into the yellow jackets’ nest in the woods. William’s still coming, though.”

Adam straightened. “Well, I’ll be here to meet him when he does.”

Marianna nodded. “Adam, give me your shirt.”

He nodded and stripped off his tunic. Marianna tore the thick cloth into strips and glanced at Mara. “I need to see his wound,” she said briefly.

Mara ripped open her brother’s blood-soaked tunic and inhaled sharply. “Oh, dear Father,” she gasped. Marianna finished tearing the fabric in her hands and swallowed, looking down at the wound. She could see three deep gashes in the flesh, caused by the spines of Anduin’s tail as they had slammed into Mark’s chest. “Mara, lift him, will you? Gently, now.”

Mara slid her hands under Mark’s back and lifted him several inches off the ground, grunting with effort as she did so. Marianna quickly wrapped one of the strips of cloth around Mark’s chest, covering the wound. The cloth quickly turned crimson as blood soaked into it. Marianna tied the makeshift bandage firmly over the wound, and Mark moaned softly in his sleep.

Quickly, they wrapped the remainder of the strips of cloth around the wound. The flow of blood ceased, and Marianna sighed, relieved. “He should be fine for now,” she said quietly.

“But not for long, sadly,” said a voice behind them. Marianna’s heart sank. She looked up and saw two black-clad warriors before them. Both held swords, and one had a bow slung across his shoulders. Or rather, her shoulders. The second figure was slimmer and slightly shorter than William, and she wore a black cloak, the hood of which she now threw back. The lower half of her face was covered by a black veil, and over the veil Marianna saw a pair of deep brown eyes peering down at Mark.

“Swiftviper,” said Adam, his voice cold. “What are you doing here?”

William smirked at him. “My father’s been in league with the dragons for decades.”

Mara stiffened. “Andrew Swiftviper. Of course,” she said, half to herself. She turned a frosty gaze on William. “Your father tortured my parents.”

“Ah yes,” he mused. “Actually, I believe he’s doing that at this very moment. Your parents have been less than voluntary when it comes to giving us information.”

“You’re outnumbered, Swiftviper,” said Adam. “Leave.”

William raised one eyebrow. “Says the shirtless runt who wouldn’t know a sword from a kitchen knife.” He allowed a scornful smile to cross his features. “I beg to differ. It is you who are outnumbered. Or have you not learned how to count, either?”

“You’d be surprised what those two can do when given the chance,” Adam replied, nodding to his mother and Mara, who were now standing. Marianna held her staff diagonally in front of her body, and Mara clutched her daggers in sweaty hands.

“You ambushed my men,” said William when he laid eyes upon Mara. “You’ll pay for that. Dearly.”

Adam promptly launched himself towards William, his sword raised.

The woman turned wordlessly towards Marianna, a long, slim sword in her hands. She raised the blade silently, and a duel began. Marianna knew that she wouldn’t last long. She had already been exhausted. Now, her limbs felt weak and her staff heavy in her hands.

Mara joined her, and Marianna backed off momentarily, breathing hard. She glanced towards Mark, and saw him stirring slightly. William and Adam, locked in battle, passed close by, and Marianna, seizing the golden opportunity, brought her staff down on William’s head with a loud crack. He dropped his sword, swayed unsteadily, then slumped to the ground with a soft moan.

“Adam, I want you to get Mark and head into the woods,” Marianna ordered as he nodded gratefully at her. “We’ll be along.”

He nodded, and sheathed his blade. Marianna’s eyes followed her son as he headed to where Mark lay, then she swallowed back the lump in her throat and went to help Mara.

For someone who had never handled the daggers, Mara was surprisingly good in close combat like this. She was quick on her feet and was able to easily evade her opponent’s blade. But the mysterious woman’s skill was apparent as she forced Mara backward, and Marianna quickly joined the fight, her staff landing hard on the woman’s shoulder.

“Mara, go with Adam,” she ordered. “I’ll take care of her myself.”

Mara nodded. Apparently she believed that Marianna could handle things, because she sheathed her daggers and ran off, following her cousin. Marianna sighed, and gave the now-recovered woman another whack, this time on the opposite arm, on the knuckles of her sword hand. The woman gasped in pain and dropped her sword, hissing out a curse. Another sound crack of the staff over her head sent her crumpling to the ground, senseless.

Marianna nodded in satisfaction. Apparently an old lady can fend for herself. Contrary to popular belief, that is. She smiled at the thought, imagining Adam gaping at her when she told him the story.

Then her smile slowly faded, for William was on his feet, his sword in his hand. “You’ll pay for that,” he hissed, approaching her.

The young woman slowly climbed to her feet, massaging the top of her head. She picked up her sword. “Drop your weapon,” she said quietly, a barely distinguishable eastern accent in her voice- Sinaian, perhaps. The dark eyes flickered with irritation. “You are defeated.”

Marianna realized that it was over. She was beaten. These two were master warriors, and she was a forty-year-old woman with nothing but a staff. She released her grip on the wood, and it felt to the ground with a thud. William stepped forward and snapped his fingers. A coil of rope materialized in his hand, but Marianna merely raised her eyebrows. She wasn’t surprised in the least. William’s father, Andrew Swiftviper, had been a notoriously powerful Dark Wizard. Of course William would have inherited the gift.

The woman kept her sword pointed towards Marianna as William bound her hands. “Will we go after the others?” she asked.

William yanked the rope tight, then straightened and shook his head. “No. We’ll come back for them later. Or Father will send the bewitched murlemas. Either way, they won’t last long.”

“They’ll make it to Liphaeum no matter what you do,” Marianna said quietly. “They’ll have help.”

“What are you talking about?” William demanded. “Help?”

“I sent a message to Liphaeum earlier this evening,” Marianna said, smirking at him. “Matthias knows about the children. He will help them.”

“Blast,” William muttered. He looked at the woman. “I’ll take her. You go find the men and follow me. Don’t engage.”

She nodded once and slipped into the trees, disappearing from view.

“You don’t know what you’re getting into,” Marianna grunted.

He met her gaze, and she saw in his dark eyes cold determination. “You’d be surprised.”



BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! CLIFFHANGERS!!!!!!!!!!! *laughs maniacally*

Monday, June 5, 2017


Hola amigos! A movement has been started. We have been inspired. Now, let's go make our vision real. #RebelliousWriting was created by Gray in her newest post at Writing is Life, and hopefully will be continued by many more people.
For those of you who think we can make this work, thanks for your support. WE GOT THIS FOLKS.
For those of you who don't think you can make a difference, listen to this. I posted my first R-Rated Writing protest yesterday. That post has received 100 views in 24 hours! People care! They want to see this happen as much as we do.
Our movement has a name. Let's make it even bigger.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

R-Rated Writing: Let's Rebel.

Hey folks. I know I posted just yesterday, but something recently came to my attention that I really need to talk about. For those of you who are accustomed to reading my lighthearted, sillier posts, I'm sorry.

I am a Christian writer, and part of being a Christian writer is that I try to communicate the Gospel of Christ in my writing and teach strong Christian morals through my characters. Of course, those of you have read my writing know that I don't usually incorporate direct Christian theology, but I use symbolism to communicate strong moral themes.

Being a writer, I also read. I love reading, and can finish a 300-page book in approximately a day. I've read some incredible stories in my decade of reading.
Unfortunately, some of those stories come along with something that I cannot condone.

Have you ever read an incredible story with strong characters and a gripping plot that you just really loved and didn't want to put down? You're so happy with the story up to the tenth chapter, then you turn the page and-
Well, I certainly didn't see that coming.
In fact it hit me rather like this:
Maybe that's the only scene where something like that happens! I'll keep reading.
Twenty-eight pages later: They're making out. AGAIN. Oh my goodness, what is she doing? What is HE doing? Why am I reading this?
Very good question, my young reader friend.

Not only is the story riddled with trashy scenes, the author consistently uses the worst language on planet Earth (I think. I'm a little sheltered so I thankfully haven't heard everything.) Is it really that hard to write two sentences without inserting a swear of some kind?
We've all had this experience. Some great stories out there are filled with what I will from now on refer to as 'Muck.' Why?
Because every story has an author. And the authors are wrong. I'm sorry, but I must be blunt.
Ever read Tamara Pierce? She's a well-known YA fantasy author, and her stories are well-written and mostly clean. However, in her Lady Knight Quartet, she just had to incorporate a relationship. Lovely. This quartet is mostly clean except for a scene in book three, where... THE MAIN CHARACTER AND HER SORT-OF BOYFRIEND LITERALLY HAVE THEIR SHIRTS HALFWAY OFF?!!!!!!! This story was so incredibly good without that scene and the dozen kissing scenes in it! Pierce could literally have cut out just those trashy 'romantic' scenes and still have a complete story! WHY??!!?!?!
Is there anyone who genuinely likes to read Muck?
Here's part of the problem. I recently met an Indie author at an event. I asked her what age range she wrote for. She said that she wrote for older teenagers, and I asked why just older teenagers. Here's what she said. "Oh, some of the content is totally not stuff I could condone."

As a good friend of mine said, we, the teenage authors, are the new generation of writers. These YA authors we have now won't be around forever, and who will take their places when they're gone?
We will. Don't feel pressured to put bad stuff in your stories. Society has changed, has desensitized us to what is wrong. Some writers of young adult fiction say that they're 'writing for the age group.' WHADDAYA TALKIN ABOUT, WRITING FOR THE AGE GROUP? IF YOUR STORIES WERE MADE INTO MOVIES, THEY WOULD BE RATED ABOVE R! AND R-RATED MOVIES ARE RESTRICTED FOR PEOPLE UNDER EIGHTEEN! HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?
 We can choose to write stories with strong morals, or we can choose to write stories with Muck. You want to write fantasy? Well, write fantasy without sex scenes. You want to write Sci-Fi? Then write Sci-Fi without foul language. Even romance stories can be honoring to God. Authors such as Melanie Dickerson and Robin Jones Gunn do it all the time.
People say that teenagers are rebellious. And though I don't agree with many of the false stereotypes that adults place on teens, I agree with this one! I want to stand up for what I believe. I want the world to know that Elleanna Vines or Elena Iren, whichever name I use, is a Christian author who will refuse to put sexual scenes or foul language in my stories. I want to rebel. So stand up! Who will rebel with me?

Please, dear friends, leave a comment if you care about this. If you have a blog, or social media, will you please post about it? If you do, please let me know, and I can plug it here.
Gray at Writing Is Life wrote an incredibly inspiring post about this. Please read it!

Also, here are some clean novels and series that you can read. They aren't all Christian, but they don't have anything graphic. Christian series/books marked with *

-The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan
-The Merlin Spiral by Robert Treskillard *
-Adventurers Wanted by M. L. Forman
-Artemis Fowl (I think there's literally one kiss in the entire series)
-The Hidden Doors trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson *
-Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan (His two newer series aren't as good. One has a gay character and the other has a transgender character. However, he doesn't praise the lifestyle.)
-Left Behind *(there's two series, one for adults and one for young adults, I've read both and they're incredible.)
-Warrior of the Son by Samuel Schiller*
-The MindWar trilogy by Andrew Klavan*
-The Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan

And here's some older ones:

-The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien *
-The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis *
-Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell
-The Giver by Lois Lowry
-Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne (this book is great, kind of a spinoff on Greek Mythology.)
-Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
- Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
-The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
-Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
-The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

See y'all. Elena out.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Heroes' Inheritance- Chapter Six

And here, my friends, is where our story takes a turn for the worse- that is, it becomes darker, and the more sinister side of things is revealed. Mark and his family are fleeing from the dragons, but they know they will have to fight eventually. Marianna has made her nephew swear to leave her behind if anything happens. 
Will they meet the dragons?
Will they escape from their pursuers?
Will they make it to Liphaeum?

Chapter Six

The Cost of Escape


The repetitive thumping sound was now directly overhead. Marianna slowly opened the door, and Mark spotted a large winged figure flying in the direction of the forest. “He’s coming back this way,” he muttered, and his aunt nodded, taking his hand.

“When I say go, run,” she whispered. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Mark started to nod, then Marianna hissed, “Now!”

Mark bolted, and was surprised to see that his aunt easily kept up with him. In the light of the full moon, he saw the figures of Adam and Mara racing towards them through the tall marsh grasses by the lakeshore. They met halfway between the two houses, and Marianna hissed out an order. “Down! Hide in the grass!”

Without question, Mark dropped to the ground, his tall form instantly hidden by the grasses. Curled up in the fetal position, he listened as the others did likewise.

Thump, thump, came the sound again, and Mark realized he was hearing the dragon’s powerful wings beating the air.

His aunt nudged his shoulder. “Up again, all of you. Run.”

They rose, and clutching his sister’s hand, Mark ran faster than he had ever run before for the woods. He heard the thump, thump of Anduin’s wings behind them, and a deep, throaty roar from the dragon’s throat. A rush of wind just above him- Anduin had passed low over them.

The trees were just ahead of them now; perhaps ten yards before them.

Eight yards- Anduin swept over their heads again, and Mara screamed as she dodged narrowly.

Five yards. Anduin roared in fury and shot straight up into the sky. Mark and Mara stumbled into the shelter of the trees, followed closely by Adam and Marianna. The four of them gasped for breath. Mark remembered his sister’s earlier cry of terror and wheeled to face her. “What… happened?” he asked breathlessly. “Did he… hurt you?”

“Just a scratch,” she replied, cradling her shoulder. Mark saw that the sleeve of her tunic was torn, and a thin line of blood marked the place where Anduin’s razor-sharp claw had scraped across her skin. “It’s… not bad,” she said in a hoarse whisper. “I’ll be fine.”

“Oh Father, I came so close to losing you,” he said quietly, holding her close with his good arm.

“Come on,” said Marianna. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

They gradually made their way deeper into the woods, moving as quickly as they could. Strangely, Mark could no longer hear Anduin, and he almost wondered if the dragon was even still there. He leaned wearily against the trunk of a nearby tree. “Why aren’t they still chasing us?” he asked no one in particular. “Did they let us go?”

“No,” said Marianna grimly.

“Then where did they go?” Adam whispered.

“I don’t know,” his mother snapped, then sighed. “I’m sorry, Adam. Let’s just… keep moving.”

They walked slowly through the silent forest. Mark’s nerves were on edge, and he flinched at every snap of a twig. Finally, after they had walked for about ten minutes, they came to a small clearing. Mark sighed heavily, fingering the string of the bow slung across his shoulders. Marianna stopped, glancing around. “We can rest for a few minutes,” she consented, but didn’t relax.

Mark shifted restlessly. Something seemed…wrong, somehow. He wasn’t sure how to describe it- just a tingling at the back of his consciousness, warning him. Then he realized what it was.

He was being watched.

Slowly, he raised his eyes, and what he saw turned his blood to ice in his veins. There, crouched in the shadows of the forest, was a huge, green reptilian beast. The yellow slit eyes met his own, and Mark saw them narrow.

In that moment, his instincts kicked in. He screamed a warning, throwing himself into Mara and Adam and slamming them both to the ground. Seconds later he felt a burst of blistering heat above them; he opened his eyes to see the flames leaping over their heads. A few nearby trees ignited, but the four Farlanders were unharmed. Marianna, reacting quickly, had dropped to the ground.

“Tamar,” Mara hissed in Mark’s ear as they slowly stood. Mark nodded, and drew his sword.  The emerald dragon emerged from the shadows, crouched close to the ground, watching.


Mark heard the ominous sound of steel on leather as Adam drew his own blade. Mara silently pulled out one of her knives. The four of them stood facing the dragon for a long moment.

Then Tamar charged. With a roar of fury, she sprang forward towards them. Mark leapt out of the dragon’s path, lashing out with his blade at the beast’s side. The sword connected and sank a few inches into the flesh of Tamar’s left flank. Momentarily, Mark felt a surge of triumph, which quickly faded as one of Tamar’s powerful wings slammed into his back, slamming him to the ground. He tasted earth as his face hit the dirt, and felt a tiny prick of pain as something sharp, maybe a stick or rock, dug into his cheek. He touched the place and felt warm, sticky blood.

He pushed himself gingerly to a kneeling position and grabbed his sword up from the ground. Turning, he saw a second winged figure landing in the clearing, and he recognized Anduin. The scarlet beast turned and saw Marianna and Adam fighting Tamar-then his eyes fell on Mark. “Farlander,” he hissed. “The little warrior. Let us see if you are as good of a fighter as your father.” He charged.

Before, Mark hadn’t been able to appreciate Anduin’s size completely. Now, fighting the beast head-on, he realized just how huge the dragon was. He dodged one of Anduin’s flailing wings and stabbed towards the dragon’ side with his blade. Anduin growled in anger as the sword dug a long, shallow gash in his shoulder, and turned his head blindingly fast towards the boy.

Mark barely avoided the jet of flames that shot out from Anduin’s throat, and he now used the dragon’s bulk as protection from the blistering heat. Anduin, enraged, turned on him, and Mark scrambled out of the reach of those deadly sharp talons. He hit the ground, and, disoriented, he reached for his sword. His hand had just closed around the hilt when he looked up and saw a huge, scaly, barbed appendage swinging towards him.

As Anduin’s tail slammed into Mark’s body, he felt all the air leave his lungs at once. As if in slow motion, he flew across the clearing, his sword thrown from his hand and falling to the ground in a gleaming arc. He heard his ribs crack as he hit a tree, and as he fell limply to the forest floor, he screamed in agony as the ends of the broken bones ground against each other. He felt blood on his chest; the wickedly sharp spines of Anduin’s tail had dug deep into his flesh.

He felt the ground vibrate beneath him, heard Anduin coming for him. He tried to push himself up but every movement caused him excruciating pain; he panted for breath and his body trembled violently. He managed to raise his head, and scanned the clearing to find Mara, but she was nowhere in sight.

He closed his eyes, and in that moment, something happened.

It felt almost like his hand touching another’s, almost like physical contact- but somehow deeper, like he was thinking two sets of thoughts, feeling another consciousness brush up against his own. He heard words echo in his mind- Where’s Mark? I need his help- oh good Father, no! For a brief instant an image flickered through his mind, and he saw himself sprawled helplessly on the ground, Anduin pounding towards him. He wondered if this was what Mara had experienced, hearing his thoughts- and even as he had the thought, he knew that his guess was correct. He was experiencing the mental connection that the Farlander line had possessed for more than a century. But it wasn’t with Mara, surprisingly.

He sensed Adam’s mind.

Experimentally, knowing he had little time left, he called to his cousin, thinking the words because he couldn’t draw in the breath to speak them. Adam. Adam, I… need you. Please.

He sensed Adam’s attention turn to him, felt his cousin’s momentary surge of satisfaction as he drove his blade deep into Tamar’s shoulder, then his worried thoughts as he turned to where Mark lay, helpless. But Mark knew his cousin wouldn’t, couldn’t make it in time- just as Adam knew, though he ran anyway. Mark lifted his head and met his cousin’s eyes, then his strength left him and he collapsed backward in the dirt.




Mara could hear the noises of battle behind her as she slipped quietly through the woods. A few times, out of the corner of her eye, she saw bursts of orange light- dragon fire.

She wondered what the others would think when they noticed that she had left. They might wonder if she had abandoned them, or had been captured. But she hadn’t abandoned them. She had left for an important reason- and she believed that she would do her family more good this way than by fighting the dragons.

She had remembered as they fled that she had forgotten to share an important part of her dream- the fact that William Swiftviper was coming too, along with his finest warriors. She knew that the other three had to stay behind to battle the dragons, but she had a plan- and she constantly prayed as she walked that it would work. In her hands, she clutched a length of rope.

She could sense William’s men just ahead- ten people including himself. They were intent on their purpose- sneaking up on the Farlanders as they fought the dragons and taking them captive. They were confident that their four targets, distracted by the larger enemy, would be fairly easy to handle.

What they didn’t know was that not all four Farlanders were in the clearing.

Mara moved quickly, her feet making almost no noise on the soft ground. She remembered everything she had learned from her years of hunting with her father and Mark- eventually, she had taken over the job completely, as Mark wasn’t exactly the most subtle or quiet of people. Quick. Silent. If it looks your way, freeze and don’t move a muscle. Mara slipped silently through the trees, knowing that she had to wait for the right moment to show herself.

She quickly caught up to the small group, and none of them heard or saw her. Once she was around two hundred feet away from the men, she stopped and straightened. I want them to see me, she told herself. Once they do, I’ll need to be quick to avoid them.

She began walking once more, this time purposely stepping on piles of leaves or sometimes a twig, dragging her feet through the various debris that littered the forest floor. She saw the light from several torches in front of her, heard the warriors speaking in low voices- then the voices went silent, and the light of the torches flickered. Mara ducked behind a tree to listen.

“What was that?” asked the deep voice of a man.

“What do you mean, ‘what was that?’ asked a second voice, this time that of a woman, who sounded mildly annoyed. “I didn’t hear anything.”

“I heard something, I swear!” said the first voice, a little irritably. “Raoul believes me- don’t you, Raoul?”

“Er… began a thin, higher-pitched yet still obviously masculine voice. “I dunno, Stefan.”

“I know I heard something,” said the first man grumpily.

A fourth person entered the conversation, as Mara heard another man say, “Of course you heard something, Stefan. There’s a battle going on. Them dragons are a little noisy.”

“Shut up, you blithering idiots.” The words were quiet, but a chill went down Mara’s spine as she recognized the low, menacing voice of William Swiftviper.

The three men and the woman went silent as William continued. “How you four got on my father’s good side is beyond me. I’ve never seen any as stupid as you lot.” His voice dripped with contempt. “Now shut your mouth, Raoul- before your foul breath smothers us- and listen, all of you.”

They went quiet, and Mara began moving again, darting from tree to tree and making rather feeble attempts to remain silent. She heard William’s curse, and saw the torches move closer. “There’s someone out there,” William said softly, then Mara heard the sound of steel on leather as he drew his sword.

She drew nearer, and at last she could see the ten dark figures. They all wore black, and had weapons drawn. William stepped forward, and Mara saw the blade of his sword glint in the torchlight. “Show yourself,” he called out.

Mara silently moved closer, then stepped into the light. She stared at them with a stunned expression, but inwardly she smiled. It was all going according to plan.

William stepped closer. “Who are you?”

She felt a surge of anger towards him as she remembered how close he had come to killing Mark. She smiled and threw back the hood of her cloak. “My name is Mara Farlander,” she said. “You tried to kill my brother.”

William froze. Then he regained his composure. “I’ve heard much about you,” he replied. Then he glanced at his men. “Go get her,” he said quietly.

Mara turned and ran, not so fast that she lost them, but quickly enough to keep out of their reach. She heard the deep twang of a bow, and an arrow whizzes past. She began crisscrossing the path, darting from one side to the other, from tree to tree. Now they couldn’t possibly aim true. She saw the bend in the trail up ahead, and knew the time must be soon. She sped up and rounded the bend, then ducked behind a tree.

She heard them run past her, and nodded, satisfied. She would have to move quickly. She went back around the bend to a place where the road forked. There, she tied one end of her rope around a tree on one side of the trail, close to the ground. The other end of the rope was tied around a tree on the path’s opposite side in a similar fashion, creating a trip wire of sorts that was strung across the path about six inches off the ground.

She nodded in satisfaction as she glanced at the muddy trench on the other side of the trip wire. She vaguely remembered digging it with Mark when they were young, pretending that it was a moat for a castle. Of course, they had quickly discovered that just across the foot-wide trench lay an enormous underground yellow jackets’ nest that stretched across the path. She grinned wickedly at the thought as she skirted around the nest.

She heard the pounding of footsteps nearby and took a deep breath as she made her way to a place well away from the wasps’ nest. She would need to move quickly in order to avoid the yellow jackets herself.

The ten warriors rounded the bend, and William held up a hand, stopping them, as he saw Mara. “What’re you up to?” he asked, halfway to himself.

“What do you mean?” she asked, with an innocent expression. “I’m just running for my life. I just happen to be very good at cutting corners.” She grinned wickedly.

Predictably, Raoul and Stefan, whom Mara had already judged to be the stupidest two of the group, charged. Emboldened by their companions’ initiative, several more of the warriors rushed forward as well. Their cries of triumph quickly turned to yells of agony as they tripped and fell headlong into the yellow jackets’ nest.

Mara bolted, cutting through the woods to the path she had taken earlier. She could still hear her pursuers’ cries of pain as she ran for the clearing where her family fought the dragons. She heard the footsteps of William and at least one more person far behind her, but she didn’t look back. She heard the roar of one of the dragons close by, and saw the light of its fire.

She burst into the clearing, her daggers already in her hands, and was greeted by utter chaos. Adam and Marianna were fighting Tamar; in fact, it looked rather like they were taunting the dragon instead. They stayed just out of the reach of Tamar’s talons and wings, and every so often one of them would dart in and score a hit.

Mara glanced around, looking for Mark, then her blood seemed to freeze in her veins. He lay sprawled on the forest floor, his shirt torn and soaked in blood, his eyes closed. For a moment Mara thought he was dead, then she sighed with momentary relief as she saw the slight rise and fall of his chest as he breathed.

Then her heart skipped a beat as she saw the scarlet dragon Anduin stalking towards her brother’s still form.



I'm truly sorry for the cliffhanger, guys.
Haha! Just kidding! I feel no guilt.
Have fun waiting until I finish another thousand words....
This next chapter should hit most of you like this:

Now have fun waiting in fearful anticipation!

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Few Announcements

Okay, folks! A few minor announcements.

First, I am now on Pinterest! I tried to figure out how to put a button on here somewhere to link to it, but just go there and type in 'Elleanna Vines' in the search bar and I should pop up... Lots of Harry Potter and LOTR MEMES there.
Second, my baby sister got a blog... *sniffs and wipes eyes* I'm so proud... You can find her at A Tween's Random Ramblings! *pauses, then screams* SHE HAS BETTER HARRY POTTER MEMES THAN ME! NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Peace out.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Heroes' Inheritance- Chapter Five

¡Hola! Now that it's summertime, I suddenly have way more time to write, and I LOVE IT.
May I present Chapter Five of my epic fantasy WIP.

Last time, the twins' aunt Marianna revealed that their parents were really wizards of a distant castle called Liphaeum, and that not only did magic exist, but so did dragons.
Chapter Five
Dragon Fire
That evening, Mara collapsed into bed, exhausted. She slept in her aunt’s spare bedroom, while Mark lay on the parlor floor. As soon as her head touched the pillow, she was asleep- but there would be no rest for her that night. In fact, later she wished she hadn’t slept at all.
She found herself standing in an enormous cave, perhaps larger than the entire village of Travela. One of the first things she noticed about the cavern was the putrid, sickly sweet odor that filled the air; it smelled of rotten meat that had been rotten for an extended period of time. Mara’s dream-self tried not to gag.
The next thing she noticed- and, in retrospect, she realized that it should have been the first thing- was that the room was filled with beasts. Huge scaly, winged beasts. Snakes with legs and wings, was Mara’s first thought when she saw them. Then, stunned, she realized what they were.
“Dragons,” she breathed. “They’re all dragons.”
There had to have been around thirty of them- and there was much variety among them. Mara spotted green ones, blue ones, orange and yellow ones, even a stark-white, red-eyed albino one. They ranged in size from three or four feet to more than thirty feet.
Each of the dragons that Mara saw had yellow or green slit eyes, a long, tapered snout, and huge nostrils that puffed out a tiny plume of smoke every time they exhaled. Their ears were indistinguishable in the spikes and spines that encircled each of their heads. Their tails made up a third of the length of their bodies, and it ended in a short tail barb.
All the dragons in the room were facing the rear of the cave, perfectly silent. A single voice echoed through the cavern, raspy and masculine, but the words were almost unintelligible. Mara couldn’t see the speaker around the huge body of the dragon closest to her, so she slowly took a step around it towards the back of the cavern. What she saw there seemed to make her blood turn to ice in her veins.
This dragon was bigger than all the rest, looming far above them. His eyes- for he was certainly male, judging by his voice- glowed yellow as they scanned the room. His scales shone a brilliant red, the color of blood, and they gleamed in the light of a fire roaring in the corner beside him.
Clearly, this beast was in charge here. Mara instinctively ducked back behind the scaly body of one of the dragons, but then she glanced down at her own body and saw nothing. Only her mind was here in this underground chamber, and she was invisible to all its occupants. Thank the Father, she thought wryly. If I was really here and these things saw me, I would be dead in three seconds.
“…Lord Swiftviper has informed me that the Liphaeum wizards are growing careless,” rasped the scarlet dragon. “Soon we will attack… and reap the reward we have so long awaited.” His eyes gleamed. “Blood.”
Thirty throats rumbled in agreement and horrible anticipation. The first beast continued. “However, we must not become overconfident… we still do not know the secret to entrance into the castle. Our plan will fail if the humans cannot infiltrate Liphaeum.”
A growl sounded from across the room, and a smaller, emerald-green dragon stood. “My Lord Anduin,” began the reptilian beast- and Mara guessed from her slightly higher-pitched voice that this one was female.
The red dragon-Anduin- turned his yellow eyes on her. “Tamar. You may speak.”
“Twenty wizards held prisoner, and not one has revealed the secret?” demanded Tamar. “What is Swiftviper doing to them, singing them to sleep?”
Anduin hefted himself to his feet and began pacing, his tail swishing back and forth. “Lord Andrew has tortured every prisoner who could possibly give him that information, and we know nothing.”
“He goes too soft on them,” said a third dragon, whose scales shone deep purple. “Perhaps you go too soft on him, Lord Anduin.”
Anduin whirled to face him, bristling with anger. His nostrils flared as he stalked menacingly towards the smaller dragon. “Merkesh. I will remind you who is in charge here.” His voice was quiet but carried a threat. “We will wait as long as we need to wait.”
“We do too much waiting!” Merkesh replied, unpersuaded. “We should make our move! A victory is guaranteed if we bring down a storm of dragon fire raining down on Liphaeum! Who needs the secret to opening the gates? We are powerful enough to crush their walls to powder.”
Anduin sighed, and the smoke billowing from his nostrils turned black and grew thicker around the dragon’s snout. “Merkesh, we’re not waiting to get the secret to opening the door. Have you ever flown over the Telliar Mountains and seen the castle with your own eyes? An enchantment is required to reveal it, and that is what we need.”
Merkesh backed off sulkily, and Anduin watched him for a long moment before turning away and settling himself back on the cave floor. “Swiftviper is torturing the Farlanders as we speak. Soon, one of them will give us the enchantment.”
“Father,” began Tamar from the corner, and Anduin turned his eyes on her. “What is it, Tamar?”
“In the meantime, what are we to do about the children?” the emerald-green dragon asked. “They intend to go to Liphaeum.”
Anduin gazed at her. “I did not know of this,” he mused. “Fine then. We go to Travela tonight. Order Lord William to gather ten warriors; he will accompany us. I fear that battling the young Farlanders may prove to be more difficult than Andrew foresaw.”
He stood once more and strode to the mouth of the cave. “I will inform Swiftviper. If luck is with me, I’ll come upon Naia Farlander revealing the enchantment.” He made a sharp, repetitive coughing sound, and Mara realized the great dragon was laughing. She felt sick to her stomach. The monster.
Mara woke, soaked in a cold sweat. She lay there, the covers twisted and wrapped around her body, breathing hard. “Oh, Father,” she breathed.
She stood, limbs shaking, her sweaty nightgown clinging to her back. Staggering to the window, she pulled the curtains aside. A steady drizzle of rain was coming down, and the ground outside was soaked. The moon was full, and Mara could just see the dim silhouette of her cottage across the lake.
We go to Travela tonight. The words of Anduin, the great red dragon, popped unbidden into Mara’s mind, and she shivered. It had all felt so real…
Then she recalled what her aunt had told them- about the wizards of Liphaeum, the Dark Wizards of K’Raya, and… the dragons. “It was real,” she whispered out into the night. “I have to tell Mark.”
She slipped on a tunic and leggings, then stepped outside the bedroom door. Tentatively, she pushed open her aunt’s door, only to find Marianna already up, sitting on the edge of her bed. Sweat glistened on her forehead, and she jumped, startled, as Mara entered. “What-” she began, then calmed down as she saw her niece. “Oh, it’s you,” she murmured. “What is it, Mara?”
“A… dream, or at least that’s what it seemed like,” Mara admitted, suddenly feeling bad for disturbing her aunt because of it. “Remember what you told us- about the dragons?”
Marianna nodded, her green eyes wide and concerned. Mara swallowed and continued speaking. “Well, I saw them,” she said, a tremor in her voice. “I saw Anduin.”
“Oh good Father,” Marianna breathed, straightening. “Go on,” she said, noticing Mara’s hesitation.
“He was talking to the other dragons, and he spoke the name Swiftviper several times… both William and another, named-”
“Andrew?” asked her aunt.
“Yes.” The girl swallowed, a lump rising in her throat. “He said that… well, my parents are there, being…” she took a deep breath, eyes welling up. “They’re being…”
“Tortured,” breathed Marianna. She opened her arms and Mara fell into her embrace. “Sshh,” Mara’s aunt breathed, holding the girl close.
Mara nodded, and wiped her eyes, taking a deep breath. “The Dark Wizards need something from them, an enchantment, they said. But… Anduin knows we’re planning to go to Liphaeum, and he’s coming here- tonight.”
For a long moment Marianna stared at her. Then, with surprising speed and agility for a forty-year-old woman, she leapt to her feet. “Go wake your brother and Adam,” she ordered. “I knew something like this would happen.”
Without hesitation, Mara dashed out of the room and to the couch where Mark lay. Gently, she shook her brother’s shoulder. Mark had always been a light sleeper, and when Mara touched him his eyes flew open and he sat bolt upright, his head almost hitting his sister in the face. “Oh… sorry, Mara,” he said drowsily. “What’s happening?”
“I had a dream. The dragons are coming here,” she told him quickly, then slipped off to wake Adam. Mark was left staring after her, rubbing his eyes confusedly.
Once all four of them were gathered in the kitchen once more, Marianna faced them. “If Anduin really is coming, then we need to be ready. He may go straight for you three, but if what Caleb told me about him was true, most likely he’ll go to the house and burn it. He’s always preferred burning buildings because it can be more easily recognized as his doing. He’s a little extravagant. He wants the world to see his work, and fire is the best way.”
“We can’t just let him destroy our home,” Mark said firmly.
“Mark, you won’t be able to stop him,” Marianna replied flatly. “Have you ever seen one of these beasts?”
He started to shake his head, but his aunt interrupted him. “No. You haven’t. I have. You won’t be stopping him from doing anything. I know you’re the best swordsman this side of the Telliar Mountains, but there’s no point in throwing your life away. Even your father, the most skilled warrior I ever knew, only ever killed two dragons, and he barely managed it by himself.”
She waited for a moment, until the point had sunk in. Then she touched Mark’s shoulder. “I know-trust me, Mark, I do. I want you to come with me to your cottage, and we’ll gather yours and Mara’s things and some provisions. Adam, I want you to stay here with Mara. Gather our belongings, and at the first sign of trouble, get out and run for the woods.”
“Yes, Mum.” Adam immediately headed to his bedroom.
Marianna faced Mara. “Gather some provisions. We’ll be back.”
She turned back to Mark. “Come with me.”
Mark tossed some clothes into his satchel, then glanced around his bedroom. There wasn’t much there; a low table, a rough, homemade quarterstaff made out of pine wood leaning in the corner, and a stack of books. He realized that most of those books were Mara’s, and placed them in the bag as well. He vaguely recalled borrowing the books at some point, saying that he would read them, but it seemed as though he had never lived up to that promise. One thing was certain, though. Mara would kill him for leaving her books behind.
That is, if he wasn’t already dead, burned to a crisp by dragon fire.
He picked up the staff and, slinging his bag over one shoulder, he stepped out of his room and closed the door, not looking back. He found his aunt in Mara’s room, stacking folded clothes inside an open bag by candlelight. She glanced back at him. “Will you get those books there?” she asked him.
He picked up the five or six volumes and passed them to Marianna, who nodded in appreciation.
“It’s hard to believe that this place will be burned to the ground in a matter of hours,” Mark said quietly. “What’ll I tell Mum and Dad? That the life they built together here is nothing but ashes?”
“Don’t talk that way,” Marianna scolded. “Your parents never intended to stay here forever. They always called Liphaeum home, but they swore not to return until your magic showed itself. Now we’re going to rescue them and bring them back to Liphaeum, and I think it will soon be the place you call home as well.” She stood, and the staff Mark held caught her eye. “Could I borrow that?” she asked.
He nodded and handed it over, puzzled. She tested the weight and flipped it in her hands a few times, then nodded, satisfied. “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll use this tonight. I’ve never been any good with a sword, but I think this may do the trick.” She smiled at his doubtful expression. ‘You’d be surprised, Mark. I used to be quite skilled with a quarterstaff.”
Holding the candle, she led the way into the kitchen and began gathering supplies; Mark watched as she quickly packed basic necessities. “I certainly hope that you become good enough with that bow to shoot us some meat later. I can take care of the rest, but we can’t live on just bread.”
Mark wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
His aunt had just closed the satchel when they heard a loud thump, thump, thump in the distance. They froze, glancing at the ceiling.
Thump. Thump.
Marianna groaned softly. “Blast it, they’ve come.”
She met his eyes, and even in the dim light, Mark read in his aunt’s expression a kind of resigned yet fearful certainty. “We will need to fight, Mark. This time you can’t play by the rules. Anduin will search for a weak link in your armor, so to speak. If something happens to me get the others out and don’t come back for me. I’m your weak link.”
Thump. Thump.
“No, Aunt Mar-” he began, but she shook her head, seizing his wrist.
“Promise me that you’ll get the others away safely,” she said, her voice dead serious.
Thump, thump.
“Promise me, Mark!”
He sighed. “Yes, ma’am.” Even as he said the words he loathed them, loathed the fact that he had just consented to leave her behind if necessary. He didn’t want to believe that it would ever be necessary- that he would ever leave the woman who had cared for him and his sister for three years.
Marianna stood there, gazing into his eyes, for a long moment, then nodded, apparently content. Then her eyes widened, and she scooped up the two satchels that she carried.
“Now what?” Mark asked.
“Now we run like hell's on our tail,” she replied, and extinguished the candle.

Sorry that chapter was kind of long... but hey, it's exciting, so hopefully you don't mind having more to read. I'll post the next chapter in a day or two, I'm on a writing spree right now and will finish really fast. Is there such thing as binge writing?

Lemme know what y'all think in the comments! I would take advice from my dear younger sister, but she is refusing to read this story on my blog.  

One Thing I Forgot To Mention

OH YEAH- I will continue posting The Heroes' Inheritance on this blog. Updates may be a bit sporadic, but I'll keep writing it. El...