Posting this one pretty late, but here it is. I picked my own topic for this week, reworking the critique piece I submitted last class into a more modern setting. World building is great and fun, but I find I can write a little bit easier if I have some sort of accurate frame of reference. Anyway, here’s the tentative first chapter of the book I plan to write for NaNoWriMo:
Kairen shoved the redhead against the wall and slammed himself into her as a thin ray of flame shot down the hallway and through an ancient relic of a copy machine. Dragging the protesting secretary to the ground as another ray pierced the wall behind her, Kairen pulled his 1911 from its holster with his off hand and fired two haphazard shots at the barreling Lava Child. Catching it in the knee with a lucky shot, Kairen cursed as he heard the bullet sizzle.
Flaming Michelin Man? Check. Mutinying partner? Check. Disgruntled damsel in distress? Check. Some days it was good to be a wizard—most days in fact—today was not one of them.
“Let’s go!” Jerking the woman to her feet, Kairen sprint pushed her towards the smoking remnants of the copy machine and around the corner.
“Will you stop pushing me?” She tried to whirl around in protest, but Kairen just pushed harder.
“No! Just start running.” I do not have time for this! Jamming a free hand into his jacket pocket, Kairen pulled out an old walkie-talkie and slammed his finger on the button. One problem at a time.
“Tig! Where the hell are you?” Emptying the clip blindly over his shoulder, Kairen listened to another lucky bullet evaporate as it struck the hulking construct behind him. How the fuck do they call something so big a “Child”?
Guiding the secretary down another hallway, Kairen shot past a row of cubicles before slamming his finger on the button again. “Tig!”
“I’m working on it! Over.” an annoyed voice chirped out of the walkie-talkie.
Sliding behind a nearby cubicle wall, with the damsel in tow. Kairen ejected the empty clip from his 1911 and slammed a replacement home. Holding his breath, he pulled himself away from the warming cubicle wall. Moments like this reminded him of why he cooked most things in the microwave.
“I hate fire.” He muttered to himself.
“Aren’t you supposed to be a wizard?” the now quite disheveled secretary whispered at him. “Can’t you just use magic or something?”
“Listen, Laura, I’ve told you before, It’s not that simple.”
“Laura, Lola, Lucy—whatever! The point is it’s not that simple… I need authorization.”
“Um…hello! Giant fire man shooting laser beams through an office!”
“I’ve noticed.” Kairen responded dryly.
“I knew I shouldn’t have worked late today…”
“Hush.” Kairen pressed his hand roughly against her mouth as the temperature in the room abruptly rose another ten degrees. He glanced at the walkie again. I’m going to kill him. There’s no way he can still be waiting on authorization? There’s a freaking demon breathing down my neck!
It crackled to life.
“Just a few more minutes. Lava Children are mostly blind above ground, though, so if you just find a quiet place to hide for a bit you’ll be fine. Over.”
“Are you shitting me!” Kairen once again surged Lucy to her feet and broke both of them into a sprint as the hulking mass of humanoid lava tore through a row of cubicles towards them.
“Are…you really…planning…to stay…in the car?” Kairen huffed a yell into the walkie as he ran.
“Yessir. Over.” Tig clipped back.
I’m gonna to kill him the second this is over. True he had made a few more unsavory remarks about Tig’s most recent choice in women but that was no reason to send him in alone. And definitely no reason to stall an authorization call. Not when two tons of angry laser shooting lava monster was chasing him through the halls of a Midtown office building.
Tearing ahead of the surprisingly fast construct, Kairen turned down a scorched corner and gave Lucy another push forward.
“Will you stop that?” Lucy came to a stop to yell at him.
“Keep going! I have an idea.” and without warning, he aimed his pistol at the sprinklers above him.
He’d disabled the alarm and fire system on the way in to avoid any unnecessary police intervention, but a well-placed bullet would still get the things going. Switching the gun to his good hand, Kairen caught the sprinkler on the head. Putrid brown sludge that had at one point been water erupted everywhere. He knew it wouldn’t be nearly enough to stop it, but maybe it would slow it down.
He was wrong. Hot smelly steam erupted down the hallway as the Laval Child followed behind them relentlessly.
“Well…crap.” Kairen gagged.
“How does that even make sense? It boiled bullets!”
“Shut up and run!” Kairen bolted down the hallway past Lucy and screamed into the walkie talkie. “Tig! I could really use some help here!”
“Alright, alright. Calm down Ace you’ve got your authorization. Over”
Finally! stopping dead in his tracks, Kairen dropped the 1911 to his side as Lucy blazed past him.
“I’m tired of running. Now it’s my turn.”
Gathering his will, Kairen focused on an image of the Lava Child flying backwards. He pictured everything as he needed it to be, as had been drilled into him over the years. In less than a moment, he had drawn everything around him in his mind’s eye. From the wrinkles, creases, and striations in his clothes, the scorch marks beneath him, the scowl on Lucy’s face, to the cracks on the Lava Child’s charred skin. Everything in painstakingly vivid detail.
Then, he changed it.
The Lava Child was no longer barreling towards him. Rather it was moving backwards, apparently shoved at with alarming speed and force. He imagined it flying backwards, through the rows of sad cubicles, and as far away from him as possible without pushing it out of the building and out into the streets below.
This is me. Kairen laughed as he let power recklessly rage within him, willfully preparing himself to offer up seconds, minutes, and even days from his life if necessary. It felt good.
“Piss off”. Lifting his free hand in front of him, Kairen prepared to bring the whole of the storm within him to bear on the image he desired to be, like threading a hurricane through a needle. The image in his head would be real.
The walkie chirped again.
“You’ve got LFA 1 clearance. Over.”
Kairen’s concentration immediately dissipated and the power he had gathered along with it.
“Level 1? This isn’t a pixie Tig it’s a two-ton construct! How am I supposed to even dent the thing?” Kairen shouted into the walkie as he turned and started running again, barely missing a beat and knocking over anything he could in an attempt to try and slow the thing down.
“What happened to your turn?” Lucy yelled from a few paces in front of him.
Looking around him for ideas, Kairen strained to find anything he could make use of. There were five standard Levels of Force Authorization—LFA for short—within Messier ranked by increasing potency. Kairen could think of a million ways out of the situation with even the Level 2 force he had been planning to use. But Level 1? It seemed hopeless—that was just enough to pull small pranks here and there. Conjure a small flame or shift small objects. Nothing nearly big enough to stop a construct.
Continuing his lap around the office, Kairen felt the back of his neck rapidly heating up. Screw this. I’m not about to get killed by the Michelin Man’s angry cousin.
Gathering his will again, Kairen felt ecstasy flood his body as he mustered enough strength to blow out the entire floor—far more than he needed—and focused it on his pursuer.
Kairen sensed the impact before it came. The temperature in the room dropped a good twenty degrees as a lance of ice as thick as his thigh and a few inches longer than he was tall tore through the hallway and into the Lava Child behind him.
Instinctively, Kairen ducked low as two more slightly smaller lances followed in quick succession dropping the construct to it’s knees.
Before he could even release the power he’d gathered, another barrage of lances hammered into the construct again eliciting confused screams of pain with each blow.
“Holy crap.” Kairen gawked as he turned to find Lucy calmly approaching him. Giant chunks of ice materialized in the air around her effortlessly and then screamed forward with terrifying speed into the lump that had at one point been the Lava Child.
Kairen swallowed hard as Lucy continued her onslaught. He’d often been considered a prodigy by his peers, one of the best in Messier in fact. He didn’t come close to Lucy.
Magic, generally speaking, was hard. And while the majority of the mages recruited by messier made it look pretty easy, he couldn’t think of a single one that could do what Lucy was doing this easily.
At its core, magic was a struggle of wills. The mage’s will to change the world versus the world’s will to stay the same. The more you wanted to change way things were, and the more unrealistic that change was the more difficult it became.
Lifting a pencil on the other side of a table, for instance, was basically as easy as lifting a pencil give or take a bit of stubbornness. You could just as easily get up and lift the pencil with your hand—nothing too out of the ordinary was happening. Conjuring dozens of glaciers out of thin air and hurling them faster than a major league fastball, on the other hand, was a totally different matter. Coupled with the fact that ice hadn’t been melting as it came into contact with the mobile furnace meant that Kairen was majorly outclassed and most definitely in deep shit.
Pile of steaming Michelin Man parts? Check. Mouthy partner with a grudge? Check. Disgruntled damsel in distress apparently armed with a mind cannon big enough to level the whole building? Check. Today was most definitely not a good day to be a wizard.