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NaNoWriMo 2018 Discord Server

Hey y’all! National Novel Writing Month (November) is fast approaching, and I’d like to get a group of people together to help encourage and motivate each other, keep each other accountable, talk about our writing projects, get input, and just shoot the shit!

Doesn’t matter if it’s your first or fifteenth time participating in NaNoWriMo, or if you’re not totally confident you can finish a novel in a month (though there will be resources listed in a server channel). Even if you’re not actually participating in NaNoWriMo, all you need is the will to write and the desire to improve.

I’ve obviously started planning/writing my project, as I know others have, so the server will be open for activity starting now, in September. All I ask is for members to be at least 16 years old, read the #rules channel, and make an introduction in the #introductions channel. (And, you know, don’t be a dick to the other members.) Here’s the join link!

If you’d like to connect on the NaNoWriMo site, my profile link is here.


© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and themountainalsorots.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Mountain Also Rots: Part ii.

ii.

Amarin.

For twenty-three years they’d told me that death smells savory in the worst kind of way; bitter like ash and powerfully pungent. I couldn’t have known for sure, though. All my life, my elders had warned me not to go down the eastern side of the valley, so I didn’t. For a time, the only death I’d ever seen was that of the flowers my mother tended to let wither in plain view of the gods in the recessed wall and everyone else. I was fairly sure she did it on purpose, though for all my imaginings I couldn’t know why, and my fiancé’s family and my own would never see this as anything but a reproach upon their respectability that must be kept private. Both families agreed that the withered flowers gave off that bitter smell, but to me they always just smelled like any other flower still growing on the mountainside. They’re our flowers, I reasoned. Our ancestors planted them there themselves. They could never smell like rotter corpses.

Levenus… My Levenus, he told me those withering flowers smelled like serenity, like the comfortable days of mid-winter and the graceful caress of the mountain breeze as it danced through the pillars of the temple. Like me… Like his Maritel.

Levenus called me Maritel when Amarin just wouldn’t do. He called me Maritel when we lay entangled in each other, when the moon passed quietly over her soil-black sky and he started to hear the winter breeze in each steady exhale I made upon his shoulder. “Sanctuary” is what he called me, and every time I heard Levenus murmur that name, my love nestled deeper in my chest, just as it had been doing most every day since I was old enough to recognize such a feeling.

We’d spent our lives as neighbors, you see, just as our parents did and their parents before them. Our marriage would make the two households one for the first time, and we supposed everyone else had been waiting for the day when Levenus would permanently change residence from his own mother’s house to mine for as long as we ourselves had. On a day we recounted dreamily from time to time, a seven-year-old Levenus walked to my house with a headful of windswept auburn curls, and holding a discarded feather from a lapis ibis– a perfect gift to complement a confession such as one he’d determined to make. He declared in my doorway that he had never laid eyes on anyone lovelier, and asked me to marry him. He held his left hand up, an offer for me to touch the tips of my fingers to his own, to weave them together and touch the place over his heart with the palm of my other hand the way grown people did when they fell in love.

I was so nerve-stricken and embarrassed by the idea of marrying Levenus that I ran and hid behind my great-grandfather, clutching his leg and the precious feather I had just received, robes crumpling in my little hands as I cried and shook. Seventeen years later, I still remembered the shade of Levenus’ reddened cheeks as he’d stared down at the floor, unsure of what to say or do, unable to decide whether he should stay or leave. Eventually the commotion I was making drew the whole household to the entryway, and after learning what had upset me so, my mother took my hand and said that if I was too nervous to touch Levenus’ fingertips, I could simply hold his hand instead. She said to me with a gentle smile, “You see? I’m holding your hand right now. It’s alright.”

I never touched my fingertips to Levenus’ that day, nor weaved them through his own nor touched his chest, but as I began to feel more reassured, I did walk over to where my family had ushered Levenus inside and, embarrassed, I held out my hand to feel Levenus grasp it even as we could hardly look each other in the eyes. I saw Levenus’ smile though, and Levenus saw mine, and that was enough.

Years later, I’d come to have no trouble asking Levenus to hold out his hand, felt no embarrassment touching our fingertips together, and it was a long time since Levenus had felt the need to say anything about it. I still feel warm when I think of the gentle expression I saw that no one else did in those quiet moments, as we sat at the table or lay in bed, Levenus with his small and private smile and me focusing so intently. I imagined that the scenery around our hands was actually the inside of the temple, that the following seconds involved threading my knuckles between Levenus’. And there was Levenus’ heartbeat, quickened and lively and thrumming beneath my palm. As it came to be sooner and sooner that what I envisioned would happen in reality, I spent more and more of my time feeling utterly lovesick. Levenus was quick to pick up on when I was feeling that way, and he was always happy to humor my yearning to hear him murmur Maritel, to feel him draw my hair away from my face and tuck it behind my ear with such reverence. Levenus would tell me, his Maritel, how much he loved me before kissing my face anywhere and everywhere he felt like kissing.

This is how I was awakened one morning, with Levenus scattering gentle kisses along my mouth, upon my cheekbones and across my untroubled brow, whispering, “Maritel, it’s time to wake up” as he leaned over me. I did not want to wake up. I wanted to stay right where I was, cradled and warm in my bedsheets.

“Maaaaritel…”

Levenus left a last feather-light trail of kisses on my lips before shaking my shoulder gently.

“Maritel, wake up.”

I groaned and flipped over to face away from Levenus, knowing that my moments of being pampered this morning were about over. Sure enough, Levenus decided then to roll over me bodily with his full weight, drawing a surprised wheeze from my chest. As Levenus faced me at the very edge of the bed, he pinched my cheeks, tugging at them, pulling this way and that and forcing me to open my eyes at the aching sensation.

“Good morning, Maritel. The day has begun,” Levenus said, still tugging on my face. I took my arms out from under the thin summer sheets and returned the discomfort. Between my knuckles and thumbs, Levenus’ face stretched to comical proportions.

“You look like a great idiot,” I told him in a sleep-heavy voice, and then Levenus stopped pulling on my cheeks and started pushing them together instead, squishing my lips so that I couldn’t close my mouth.

“You look like you usually do.”

I felt myself scowling despite my efforts to remain poised. Taking my hands away from Levenus’ cheeks, I put them to his chest instead and pushed him off the sliver of mattress he’d been occupying, watching his expression expand with surprise as he fell and grasped frantically at the topmost blanket that did nothing to slow his descent. Levenus yelped as his full weight dropped to the floor with a thud. Upon rolling onto my back, I rubbed at my sleep-heavy eyelids with a tremendous yawn that made my eyes water.

“Amarin!” Levenus exclaimed accusatively, swallowing his own breath wrong and coughing. I turned my head to see him pushing himself up onto his elbows, and I sighed, leaning over and drawing Levenus’ face to my own to place a kiss upon his lips, pressing harder than he had before. Predictably, Levenus dissolved right into it, and as tired as I was, so did I. He nipped at my mouth, and I inched closer on my stomach and forearms, placing one arm on the bed to brace myself and putting my other hand on Levenus’ neck. There was no fighting the deep, exhaling sigh that poured out of me, but the kiss was fleeting, lasting only for a small abstaining moment before Levenus gripped my thick black hair and yanked my head back, purring into my neck that I should kiss his ass next since I’d caused him to fall on it. As I fought against the stinging sensation on my scalp and mumbled that I would do no such thing, Levenus leaned back on his free hand, looking past me to the doorway. His grip on my hair loosened, and I twisted around to see what had caught his attention. Standing there was Levenus’ sister, Somraena. I could feel my cheeks reddening upon the realization that she had seen me in a somewhat compromising position. Almost automatically, my hand shot out to smack Levenus’ out of my hair, and it caught him in the face by mistake.

“Ah!” I gasped, my hands flying to cover my mouth. “I’m so sorry!”

“It’s alright…” Levenus muttered, rubbing his right eye where I’d hit him.

My face was burning up now. Drawing my knees up to my chest, I peeked at Somraena from between my fingers.

“Did you need something?”

A smile threatened to break apart her stern expression, though it was visible only briefly, and her face was stony again before she addressed Levenus.

“You need to come back to the kitchen and help out.”

Levenus nodded. “I’ll be there in a moment,” he said, which was enough for Somraena. She nodded back and left us, closing the door behind her.

“You’d think a priest would have more careful hands,” he said, and though I knew he was teasing I felt guilty.

“Hey,” he said, trying to get me to look at him. “It’s fine, Maritel. I’d even say I deserved it for pulling your hair.” As if to aid his point, he put a hand to the back of my head and pulled me closer to plant a kiss upon the spot where he’d yanked. When he attempted to pull away I threw my arms about him to keep him where he was. I placed a small kiss on his neck. A laugh rumbled in his chest and the sound filled me with warmth to the tips of my toes. Oh, I adored that sound with my whole soul… Gingerly, Levenus took my wrists in his hands and put space enough between us that he could kiss my lips.

“You’re too much,” he said with a tender smile, his amber eyes gazing into mine. “When are you going to give me my heart back, hm?”

Levenus had succeeded in drawing a grin from me, however shy it was. I felt like a blushing virgin as I answered him.

“I will never.”

There was laughter in Levenus’ eyes. Good, they said as he offered me his hand and pulled me to my feet.

Levenus followed me as I walked to the basin in front of the mirror. I noticed that it was full of fresh water already. He must have filled it while I slept. He spun around me playfully on his way past, flicking the mess of hair that I had begun trying to suppress by combing my fingers through it.

“Take your time,” he said.

“Not today,” I replied, though I wished I could. “Too much to do. I’ll come help out in the kitchen as soon as I can.”

Levenus gave me a nod and exited. The door was shut and I went back to the task of taming my unruly mane. The polished copper before me was growing dim and my reflection more and more difficult to make out in the dulling sheen; it could stand to be taken to the smith to be repolished before the solstice moon came that night. Quickly I decided that I would drop it off on my way to the temple, but I knew that I couldn’t be the only person in Ionorn to have had the idea. It was this way every year, with the artisans’ courtyards overflowing with waves of people who had been putting off taking everything they’d need for repairs until the day of whichever holiday it happened to be. The sound of jingling coins in leather pouches was incessant on the first day of any festival.

Perhaps I could talk to Tarimus directly and pay her extra to work on my order first instead of simply setting it aside to work on later like everyone else would be doing. And the carpenter that Levenus was apprenticed to worked closely with Tarimus and her guild; if she could not be incentivized with gold, maybe she would do it as a favor to Levenus.

My eyes flickered from my own reflection to the corner of the copper sheet, where an ant was scaling the ridge of the dark wooden frame. Still raking my fingers through my hair with one hand, I plucked the ant from its high perch with the other and squashed it between my fingertips. After flicking the remains out the window and wiping my fingers on the grass at the ground nearly level to the window, I closed the shutters and picked up the black ribbon near where the ant had been, tying my hair off with practiced and unthinking movements as I strolled through the hallway outside my bedroom door. Someone should check for insects today, I thought.

In the courtyard which was open to the air and the gentle breeze that dipped into the bowl-shaped space before disappearing up the short staircase and into the valley, my eyes closed and I sighed, the sound lost in the din of the common area— beating footsteps going this way and that, and clambering voices fighting to be heard over one another. I lingered there for as long a moment as I could allow myself today, drinking in the mountain’s scent and the warmth of the sun-bleached wood under my soles before padding, suddenly sleepy again, over the creaking floor back into the building proper.

There was too much to do today… All the time in the world was never enough.


© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and themountainalsorots.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Mountain Also Rots: Part i.

“In the midst of the solstice festival of a city nestled in the mountains, far above the rancid debauchery of the rotter country down below, the two young lovers Amarin and Levenus are set suddenly adrift across an unfamiliar land, their households and everything they knew torn apart by the memory of a mother and the truth she kept hidden.”


i.

Minkirli.

In my memory, there is a young noble constantly looking over her shoulder. She has not eaten in two days. If I focus hard enough, I can feel the blisters on her feet as she runs as swiftly as her legs will carry her, keeping pace with her thundering heart even after the point when those legs should have given out.

I can still see the sun as it was then… on that day, in the wasteland. With my waking eyes, I see the light peering down from the heavens– and swallowed up by the flames of the burning earth. The ashes of people and animals that had walked upon it tumbled forth into the skies, and the sand where once there had been fields of grain beat at the monuments that were crumbling to the ground, their wooden skeletons collapsing and stirring up a storm that suffocated everything around me. Scavenging insects’ wings were stilled and their bodies crushed under heel as my body fought to keep moving through the blaze. My eyes saw nothing. My skin was stung and burned, and in the fore of my mind, I heard the wrath of the gods who churned the very earth itself beneath my feet. Above the sound of my roaring blood, they cursed me. In the darkness behind my eyelids that had shut tight, I feared like I had never feared before.

Continue to Part ii. —>


© Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and themountainalsorots.com, 2018. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alixander F. D. Bragiteilen and Bragiteilen.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.