Midday: The Firewall

Northwards the Firewall burns, its dead flames rising far beyond the clouds. It has been burning for ten years, cutting off all contact between North Haven and the world. Northerner settlements, the Shadowless King’s grand and violent attempt at expanding his rule, lie abandoned and dismantled throughout the Midlands, most of their inhabitants dead from aborigines, dragons, or the midday sun.

Zhado and his people are lucky, surviving this long. But the drought has been long, taking a severe toll on their numbers. They have lost the last of their old Scribes, and now their Papers are running out.

Midday: The Village

Returning from their trip to the neighboring village, Zhado and his men release their saddled cats to rest by the water. Soon the cats overrun the water hole, chasing away the swimming mice and the basking lizards, disturbing the small serpents sleeping under the mud. A feral approaches them slowly, but they see it and swarm around it, tearing it to pieces before fighting over the meat.

Zhado enters the village and immediately sees the carcass of the cave dragon on the village square. Its hide has been removed, and most of its meat and gut carved away, leaving only its gleaming bones and still beating heart. The bones will make good tools and construction material, if ever they’ll need them. The dragonheart will be burnt tomorrow, and its ashes spread over the land. It is a long-awaited gift from the Grand Writer; rain has been scarce, and the waterscripts can only do so much.


Due to technical problems, I will be uploading Aji’s drawing today. She hasn’t named it yet, but in the spirit of her titles, I have decided to call it “Anina and Escoda sparring and touching inappropriate things while Henrik tries to study and Vil keeps copying him while wearing a fez

Anina: Strong fingers! Been training in somewhere?

Escoda: Ugh, you can still talk? If I bring your tongue down, can you still?

Henrik: Keep the flirting down, guys. I’m trying to study.

Yes, you see the canon pairings are Anina/Escoda and a one-sided Vil/Henrik.

Dust and Roses

It is midmorning. One would expect the sun to be shining, for me to be in the hall with my classmates, practicing my sight and scriptwork. We are starting divination this week: tea leaves and lizard bones, ours to examine for signs, to bring order out of chaos.

Today, reality did not concede to expectations. It is midmorning and the sky is midnight black. I am in my tower, staring at a dove that has decided to perch on the window by my bed. It is as small as my hand, the feathers on its neck ruffled, and its beak slightly bent. It smelled faintly of dust and roses.

Nothing is by chance. I take in every detail, but they tell me nothing. Yesterday, I overheard Chief Guardscribe Flayvn talking with his men as I passed by their station. Rumors of Southern armies with dragons, coming to disturb the peace, he said, his beard twitching. A shiver went through the room, like an absent draft had taken lodging. I left briskly and told no one I was there.

Nothing is by chance; the bird tells me nothing. I release it, praying silently to the Grand Writer for its safe journey.

Today, reality did not concede to prayer.

I hear a loud crack, like thunder, and through the window I watch the poor creature fall, tracing a graceful curve to the barren ground below. The smell of smoke and gunpowder reaches me, and in the distance I see stars emerging in the darkness, the shine of dragon wings, forming chaotic constellations from which I am finally able to divine one thing:

War has come.

For creative writing class we were tasked to write a one-page story that employed a symbol we randomly picked in class. 

Aji and I spent an entire hour arguing over dragon anatomy

It eventually devolved into an “Engineer vs. Architect” debate, which is kind of unfair because I have no artistic skill whatsoever.

The whole thing started in one of my eee classes, when I had a huge urge to draw a dragon. This was my first drawing:

A better (but still crappy) drawing addie took for scanning.

After class I showed it to aji and ordered asked her to draw a dragon for me. I wanted something that was like a mix of a komodo dragon and a pterosaur.

External image

(I especially like this gif)

Aji, on the other hand, wanted it to be “slender” and “elegant”, which was definitely not possible in a komodo dactyl. Her design slowly morphed into a strange amalgamation of a hippogriff, a unicorn, and a dragon. A hippocorn dragon?

This is Vil, an upbeat sixteen-year-old homeless boy in the city of Singayn who named himself. All of his clothes are inexplicably too big for him, and he somehow has a different hat every day.

He first met Anina and Henrik when they were running away from some Lawscribes. The next time they see him, he’s cooking dinner in Anina’s hideout and offering them some bread.

Vil can’t remember anything about his past, and much about him remains a mystery. But one thing’s for certain: he has a big crush on Henrik.

This one’s Anina, the daughter of an exiled Firstborn. You may remember her from a previous post. In this one I’ll talk more about her history and stuff. 

The Firstborn are the native people of Haven, having lived here for thousands of years before the “Outworlder” Haveners came and took over. They now live in the Midlands, a region of the continent specially “fenced off” and “protected” for them.

Anina’s father was exiled from the Firstborn cities forty years ago  and nearly twenty years before her birth. Despite this Anina is proud of her heritage and is eager to learn more and practice her culture, even though her inherited status as an “exiled” means she can never enter a Firstborn city.

Five years ago the settlement her family lived in was ransacked by the Shadowless King. Since then she’s been living on her own, dealing in the black markets of Singayn with her knowledge of potions and poison.

She owns two things she got from her father: a dagger and an amulet.

This is Aji’s concept art of Escoda, the current leader of Singayn’s underground rebellion against the shadowless king. The character was based on Josefa Llanes Escoda and Gregoria de Jesus, a fact slightly obvious from her name.

She is in her mid-twenties, incredibly proficient with the use of fans (for combat Aji, and yes, I know why you’re laughing), and is of mixed race.

The last one is a secret she’s kept since she joined the rebel ranks, because even though the people of Singayn have no qualms with having a female leader, they are still wary of (and sometimes outright racist against) people of Firstborn blood. If her heritage is discovered, who knows what might happen.

Escoda was created as a love interest for Anina. Aji denies it but we all know this to be true.

Case in point:

this is Anina. Look to her right.

Midday: The Dragon

Up above, a dragon flies east, toward the ocean. Her immense shadow sweeps across the savannah, momentarily eclipsing the water hole. She must find food for her mate and their hatchlings, waiting back in their cave. She is hurrying; her Papered wings will last only a few hours before they become vulnerable to human weapons, and if she is caught, her family will starve.

The humans from the nearby settlement look up and realize nothing of this. They see instead the brilliant purple sheen of her hide, the sharpness of her talons, the plumpness of her body, and they ready their Papered arrows.

Midday: The Savannah

A lizard waits by the water hole. It is midday, and in the distance it spies the crowd of mice leaving their burrows, carefully scanning the surroundings for predators before spreading out. They do not see it as it lies low, its brown stripes blending in with the tall grass around it.

 In the still air of the savannah, the swaying grass betrays the mice’s movements as they scamper towards the water. A party of five comes too close, and the lizard pounces, catching one before it can run away. The mouse will be enough to satisfy it for a few hours. It will have to hunt again before the sun sets.