Friday, March 30, 2012

The Curse of Fierabras - Part One

I've decided to try my hand at writing a serial novel. My intent is post every Friday with a continuation of the story, so be sure to check back each week for the next installment. Feedback is strongly encouraged, so please let me know what you think in the comments below. I do not have a title for this yet, but I hope to come up with one before next week.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy and encourage you to share with anyone you think might enjoy reading this as well!


Part I - Into the Capital

            Dante has always wanted to see the capital in person, but he never imagined for his first visit he would be bound in chains. The rusty metal links rattle every time he shuffles his feet along the dirt road. The thick bars of iron cut into his flesh every time he lifts his feet too high or takes too large of a step. He has to move fast in order to keep up with the guards surrounding him. They won’t stop for him if he falls. He learned that two days ago when they dragged him along the road for over a mile.
            His lips are cracked and his skin is caked with dirt. Dante tries to rub the dirt from his eyes but he only manages to irritate them further. The heat from marching under the sun has his brown hair slick with sweat. He tries to catch the droplets with his tongue as they roll down his face. His body is in dire need of hydration.
            Dante’s mind, distracted by the physical discomfort, is still in awe of the vast walls surrounding the capital. They stretch in all directions as far as he can see with hundreds of buildings crowding together inside of them. Thousands of people swarm through the streets and stand in doorways, most of them dressed in torn and dirty clothing. His appearance right now blends in perfectly with the crowd of citizens, apart from the chains around his hands and feet. The stench of the unsanitary living conditions threatens to knock him off his feet, but the guards around him seem unfazed by it. He reaches up to cover his nose but a guard tugs on the chain and forces his hands down by his side. He supposes the smell is to be part of his punishment.
            As they navigate the labyrinthine twists and turns of the outer city the swarms of people begin to thin out. He can smell fresh fruits and meats and the aroma of burning coals in the furnaces of blacksmiths. Peddlers are stationed alongside wooden carts, holding up their wares to try and attract customers. The ragged clothing of the outer city has been replaced by vibrant colors and smooth layers of cloth. This part of town seems more alive, even though there are fewer people crowding the streets.
                The further they travel into the city the more open space they encounter. Houses and buildings become scarce, replaced by flowering trees and flowing fountains. Thick tufts of green grass are sprouting everywhere and extinct birds and animals are present among them. Everything he has ever been told about the capital and the Emperor don’t fit with this image of beauty. Why would the Emperor destroy everything out there while maintaining this paradise outside the palace?
            A sharp jab from the blunt end of a spear disrupts his thoughts and gets his feet moving again. Suddenly the decisions that have led him to this situation no longer seem to be the right choices. Maybe his family and friends were wrong; maybe the Emperor was trying to restore peace and prosperity to the land and everyone rebelling was preventing his success. Maybe he should have chosen differently.
            The guards bring him to a halt in front of a massive coliseum. White marble pillars gleam in the sunlight. Beds of vibrant-colored flowers encircle the base of each massive column. Dozens of arches lead into the building, each opening as wide as a dozen people. Stone steps are chiseled into the structure, leading up and down into hundreds of rows of seats. All the people in his hometown, combined with all the neighboring villages, couldn’t fill up a fraction of the seats in this coliseum. The enormity of the structure leaves him in awe of the place.
            All around them are soldiers dressed in short crimson tunics over a thin coat of chain mail. A black raven is embroidered on the left shoulder of each tunic. Each soldier has at least a small sword sheathed at their waist and a longbow strapped to their back. Many others also carry a variety of spears or maces, and a few have massive battle axes. All of them salute the man seated in front of the prisoner and his accompaniment of guards.
            The captain appears bored as he rustles through a few scrolls of parchment. He scratches his gray beard as his eyes glance up at the prisoner. He frowns and grasps a black quill and a blank roll of parchment.
            “Name?” he says without looking back up. The prisoner is hit upside the head from a gauntleted hand of the guard next to him. His vision blurs and he stumbles over his words as he attempts to answer the captain.
            “My name is Dante Silverstar,” he says. The captain jots the name down without looking up.
            “Crime?” he asks. Dante starts to answer, but one of his guards cuts him off and answers for him.
            “The prisoner is guilty of open defiance of the Emperor, inciting rebellious activity, and being in league with The Restoration.”
            Dante furrows his eyebrows and tries to step forward but the guard behind him kicks him in the back of his knee. He falls down on his knees, inhaling a cloud of dust that stirs from the impact. “I did no such thing,” he says.
            “Guilty,” the captain says.
            “Because I refused to join the Emperor’s army?”
            “Guilty,” the captain says again as he stifles a yawn. “Take the prisoner to the pit.”
            “But I…” are the last words Dante says before the world goes black and the guards drag the unconscious prisoner into the depths of the coliseum.


  1. Yikes! I like it and will continue to come back and read more. I'm currently doing a serial novel too although I'm doing mine in a month as part of an A - Z Blogging Challenge.

  2. Hmm, an interesting start. Very descriptive and well written.