Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Absolute Write Blog Chain: Seasons

Yes, I'm crazy enough to join yet another Blog Chain, this one comprising posts from members of the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum. Since the topic was seasons, I immediately thought of Day of All Seasons, one of my trunked novels. Every four years, the country of Challen is afflicted with a magical storm that mixes up the seasons, and a group of four magic-users (servants of the Four Gods and Goddesses) must deal with the storm and the resulting damage.When the Sola Spring, leader of the magic-users, dies unexpectedly, a new group of four female magic-users must learn to work together despite internal differences and sabotage by the current Sol Win. The excerpt below shows a soltrans, a religious ceremony marking the change of seasons. (Jenna and Bel are two of the trainees.)

“God of Summer, God of the sun that gives us life, God of the plants that feed and clothe us, heal and please us, accept our thanks,” the Sol Sum said. His voice was strong and clear, carrying over the square. “You have given us a good season, a season of warmth and light, a season for growing, a season for enjoying all the gifts of the Four. Truly this has been a season of life.” The Sol Sum paused and glanced at the Sol Win, who nodded slightly. The Sol Sum continued, “Although this fire and these grains come from You, accept them as a measure of our gratitude.”

As he finished, the lucifer burst into flame. A strong breeze rustled the Season Lords’ clothes as the Sol Sum tilted the bowl and the Sol Win put the lucifer into it. Jenna wrinkled her nose at the smell of burnt grain, made worse by the incense mixed with it.

When the grain and incense had burned out, the Sol Win caused a small cloud to rain into the bowl, quenching the fire. He took the bowl and stepped back. The Sol Sum continued, “Oh God of Summer, Your season has been so fruitful we would ask You to stay with us always — ”

“Stop!” the Sola Fall called out. She stepped forward and threw off her cloak.

The Sol Sum looked astonished. “Who are you to interrupt my prayer to the God of Summer?”

“I am the Sola Fall, representative of the Goddess of Fall. This is Her season, and you have no right to pray to the God of Summer now. His time is over.”

“Not so. I challenge your claim.”

“I accept. Bring out the sticks.” The Sol Win stepped forward with a long stick in each hand. One end of each stick was well wrapped with leather. The Sol Sum and Sola Fall each took a stick and paced towards the sides, where the girls stood. Jenna stepped away to give them more room and motioned Bel to do the same.

“I used to play this with my brother,” Bel whispered.

“I’ve done it in the actual ritual,” Jenna whispered back. Back in Bull Rock she and her opponent would just tap each other a few times with the sticks and go on to the Kiss of Peace. She couldn’t wait to see how the real Season Lords fought.

The Sol Sum and Sola Fall saluted each other with the sticks and rushed forward, hitting each other with the padded ends. They crossed their sticks like swordfighters, retreated, and attacked each other again. The Sola Fall’s divided skirt flared as the fighters danced back and forth. Once the Sol Sum knocked the Sola Fall on her shoulder hard enough to make her sit down abruptly, provoking laughter from the audience. But she skillfully fended the Sol Sum off with her stick until she could get up, and they continued.

Bel tapped Jenna on the arm. “I hope you and Gwen don’t ever actually fight, but if you do, see if you can borrow those sticks.”

Jenna stifled her laughter.

The Season Lords moved to the center of their stage. Sweat made the Sol Sum’s green silk shirt stick to his back. The Sol Sum took the offensive with a series of blurred strikes, forcing the Sola Fall to retreat. She parried with her stick, but a few of the blows landed. Suddenly, as the Sol Sum rushed forward, the Sola Fall tripped him with her stick, and he fell. Before he could move, the Sola Fall placed her foot on his back and raised her stick above his head. “Yield!” she cried.

“I yield,” the Sol Sum said, and he dropped his stick. “On behalf of the God of Summer, I yield to the Goddess of Fall. Let us fight no longer, but follow the Goddess of Spring’s teaching and work together for the good of Challen.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Here is the list of the September Blog Chain participants; please visit their blogs too for their individual takes on the seasons.

Ralph_Pines: and direct link to his post
Aheïla: and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: and direct link to his post
orion_mk3: and direct link to his post
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
semmie: and direct link to her post
llalah: and direct link to her post
hillaryjacques: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: and direct link to her post
laffarsmith: and direct link to her post
sbclark: and direct link to her post
FreshHell: and direct link to her post
IrishAnnie: and direct link to her post
PASeasholtz: and direct link to his post
SF4-EVER: (You are here.)
T.N. Tobias:


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. :) Thanks for posting it!

semmie said...

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing this! I love the fight. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice. One paragraph near the end confused me - are they all women or are some of them men? Maybe I wasn't ready carefully enough. But, this was enjoyable to read.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

freshhell--The trainees are all women, but two of their trainers are men. I should have explained that before.

De's Stories said...

I liked this excerpt, Sandra. It is very interesting. And I love the design on your blog. It is so cool.

Unknown said...

How funny that the snippet absolutely works for this theme. An interesting world. I like your observers' personal asides.

Ditto on the blog design - gorgeous.

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

A fascinating excerpt. I hope you'll un-trunk this novel and finish it. The seasonal/magic concept and the character relations in this excerpt has me hooked. I'd love to read more.

I couldn't help but think, after the mention of the "Kiss of Peace" that having a male Summer and Winter and a female Autumn and Spring could make for an interesting man/woman sexual dynamic where the seasons meet, touch, and conflict.

Non Sequitur718 said...

Cool concept. Reminds me of global warming personified.

Anonymous said...

Tell Sol Sum to eat more wheaties so next time he battles Sola Fall, he'll win and give us a longer summer. LOL

Anonymous said...

I like the way the piece hints at the large and complex cosmology you's created while being able, at least in part, to stand on its own. For obvious reasons, I really enjoy stuff like that :)

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