This is the FIRST DRAFT of the novel, flaws and all, that I am writing for National Novel Writing Month 2020. Please refer to these posts to see the entire creation of this, from scratch, should you desire. Comments will be closed as of January 1, 2021. For any comments prior to that, please… be kind. This is a first draft! It’s just meant to help inspire anyone to write anything, whether good or bad.

The rest of the night was spent in silence amongst the group. None of them knew what to say or how to interact. Any creature could come and kill them at any moment, and none of them knew what the idea of trust even meant.

Vaeda sighed as he looked out into the black void that surrounded him. Maybe it would have been nicer if any of the creatures alive within this cave could have killed him like they wanted to. Wouldn’t any of this have been easier if he could have simply… ceased to exist?

That wasn’t a thought he wished to dwell on, and he pushed it away as soon as it came to him. He had to believe there was more to this life than the dank pit that surrounded them, and he held close to that hope as he carried on through the rest of the night.

Eyes closed, Vaeda saw a light that almost blinded him. It didn’t make sense as it occurred, and he shielded his face from the brightness as he sat up to figure out where the source had come from.

“Surid!” came Cochava’s voice, and Vaeda was even more awake than before. “SURID!”

The gasps of everybody else reminded Vaeda that he was unable to see what actually happened around him. Regardless of his lack of sight, he still felt a warmth, an energy unknown to him pass over his body as she shouted.

“What’s happening?” asked Runavan, and Vaeda joined him and Go’Ranashu as they ran toward Cochava.

For Vaeda, all he could see was the purple energies that made up Cochava pulsing in the darkness. Up until they’d met the Breckervie, Vaeda wouldn’t have known he wasn’t able to see what was really going on. Something in Cochava had changed, and by the sound of things and the warmth Vaeda felt, he knew he would have given anything to witness whatever was happening.

“What are you doing?” asked Yaga.

Cochava screamed, and the warmth on Vaeda’s skin increased. A sound similar to an explosion met his ears, and if not for the faint lines of Cochava’s purple energies hanging in the balance, he would have thought she’d blown into bits, disintegrated into nothing.

But the sounds of her raspy breaths still came in short staccatos as she regathered herself and found her center.

“Are you all right?” asked Surid as he approached her. Vaeda noticed his energies combining with hers as he drew her near and gave her a hug.

“I… I-I-I’m fine,” Cochava whispered, although her voice revealed the truth behind her words. She wasn’t fine; she was far from it. Whatever had happened had left her shaken, and although Vaeda hadn’t been able to witness it for himself, the shakiness in her voice told him everything he needed to know about how she reacted to what just happened to her.

“What was that?” asked Vaeda, but no one answered him upon him asking.

“That… was the power of the sun,” whispered Runavan, and Vaeda did not think to question him. Runavan had rediscovered his abilities to read minds, after all, and Vaeda trusted that the words he spoke aloud rang true.

That would also explain a thing or two about Cochava and why she was trapped down here in the Lanniswell Hollow. If she had the power to capture and emulate the sun, and Runavan had the ability to see into and understand different minds, perhaps all of them had some sort of supernatural power that acted as their damnation into the Lanniswell Hollow.

“Are you all right?” Vaeda asked as he approached Cochava, who, despite her altered breaths, slowly came back to a centered and calm state of being.

“As all right as I can be, I suppose,” Cochava answered. “I suppose I should have liked to know I carried the power of the sun within me, but I guess learning later is better than never learning at all.”

Vaeda bit his tongue as he thought about everything he hadn’t seen. All the others had probably noticed the glow within Cochava, but all was lost upon him as he remained in his darkness.

He hated that, but he didn’t know how to vocalize his complaints to his comrades. He sighed as he accepted his differences and allowed Cochava to continue discussing her experiences without any interference from him.

“The power of the sun?” asked Go’Ranashu. “Are you sure? That is quite the statement to make. Surely if you carried the power of the sun, you would have exploded in your display of it?”

“And yet she didn’t,” said Surid. “You saw what I did, did you not?”

“No,” said Vaeda, even though he wished he could have stayed silent. “Actually, I did not see what happened.”

“She lit up this entire cave,” said Yaga. “Every beast, soldier, and prisoner in here probably saw what she just did. Goodness me, Cochava, how did you survive that?”

Vaeda swallowed his growing agitation at his lack of understanding what had truly happened. 

“I’m okay,” said Cochava. “I don’t know what happened any more than the rest of you, but for now I should think I’d like to sit.”

The tallness of her purple energies shrank as she did just that.

“Oh, my,” she said once she had settled. “I don’t quite think I was prepared for that.”

“What was that?” asked Surid as he sat next to her.

“I don’t know,” Cochava admitted. “I was asleep, and in my dreams I was floating amongst the stars and moving toward the sun. Once I got there, I felt its warmth, the radiating energy emitting from its very core… As soon as I got close I felt it. I knew it was there, within me, like it had known my name all along. It spoke to me, and it told me to awaken. I did, even though I didn’t want to, and it just… overtook me.”

They all breathed in her words.

“The power of the sun,” said Surid. “Do you know what this means?”

“If I can learn how to use it, perhaps I can help lead us out of here,” said Cochava.

Vaeda said nothing. He wanted to agree with her, of course, but how would she be of any use to him, personally, when he couldn’t even see what she tried to show him?

Vaeda clenched his fists and kept his thoughts to himself. He didn’t want to cause any further conflict over the fact that now, unlike them, he wasn’t even able to see when light was provided for them. That frustrated him, more than anything. How was he meant to lead anybody out of here if he was never able to see? If they were, how was it at all fair to him that he, as the leader, wasn’t able to see or do anything?

He kicked at the ground beneath him, but remained grateful when none of them had noticed his little silent outburst.

Read Chapter Eight Part Two

Read Chapter Nine Part Two

Read the full story here.

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