Fade to White Chapter 19

Fade to White

Chapter Nineteen

Bright warm sun shone down on the roof of the quiet cottage while the birds chirped in the trees, giving the illusion that Ramo had stumbled across an abandoned magical hideaway. If he hadn’t known otherwise, he would have been tempted to wander into the building to look around and to find out if the place was really as pristine and quiet as it looked. It was important that he put Jerek’s bag somewhere that it could easily be found, to prevent it from getting lost and never reaching Jerek at all. That meant close to the house.

Dismounting his horse and holding tightly to the shoulder strap of the bag, Ramo skulked around, cautiously making his way closer to the front door. Everything remained completely quiet, and when he reached the front door and put the sack down onto the ground, he relaxed his shoulders. Next was the sword. Jerek would be furious if he didn’t properly take care of it, so Ramo undid it from his belt and carefully reached over to prop it up against the outside wall. The front door swung open, causing Ramo to stumble backwards and fall down.

That girl was there, standing stunned as she stared down at him. In one of her hands was a bucket, while her other hand still rested on the door. Scrambling backwards, Ramo started to pick himself up with the intent of running, but she said “wait,” and he felt compelled to stop.

“Who are you?” she asked, frowning at him as she took in his black clothes and gloomy appearance.

“Nobody,” Ramo replied, standing up and dusting himself off before turning around to walk back to his horse.

“Did you bring these?” she inquired, stepping outside and picking up the bag, opening it enough to peer inside.

“Make sure that Jerek gets them.”

“Are you Jerek’s friend?” She pulled the door shut, taking a couple steps closer to Ramo.

Looking over his shoulder at her, Ramo replied, “We grew up together.”

“Really?” She smiled, then seemed to realize something that made her pull back slightly. “You’re with Nosaj, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Then why haven’t you tried to kill me yet?”

“I’m not . . .” Ramo trailed off, wondering how he should explain it. “I’m not a fighter, and I’m not supposed to be here.”

“People who work for Nosaj are more complicated than I originally thought. Last month I could have sworn to you that all of Nosaj’s minions were blood thirsty murderers who destroyed everything they could, and now I’ve met two of you that break out of that stereotype. What’s up with that?” She laughed slightly.

“I’m Jerek’s best friend,” Ramo blurted out. “I would never do anything to hurt Jerek, and I would never shove away from me no matter what he did.”

Her face grew serious after he said that, and she looked sadly at the ground. “I’m glad that Jerek has a friend like you.”

“I’m just here to help him out. That’s all.”

“Thank you, I’m sure Jerek will appreciate it.”

Curiosity got the better of Ramo, so he casually asked, “How’s he doing?”

“He’s sleeping right now. I just barely finished bandaging up his back, and it looks like he’ll be fine in a couple days. It’s horrible how he was whipped like that, he must have been in a lot of pain.”

“I tried to get him to fight his punishment, but he refused to . . . He said he deserved it.”

“Oh dear.” She put her hand up to her forehead. “That’s probably my fault.”

“Yes it was your fault!” Ramo started fuming, glaring at her. “He didn’t deserve it, but he was hurt because of you.”

She didn’t reply, turning around and picking up Jerek’s sword as well. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, pushing the door open.

“Don’t tell Jerek!” Ramo said before dashing off.

That girl was most definitely a siren, Ramo was sure of that. There was some undefinable characteristic about her that made him want to like her, yet at the same time hate her all the more for using that power in such an evil and manipulative way. Poor Jerek, he had been ensnared by that girl’s enchantment and he was convinced that he loved her, but at the same time Ramo did trust Jerek with her, at least physically. She wouldn’t kill him. She didn’t seem like she was capable of actually harming someone, instead she seemed to be more of the type to use psychological warfare.

Mounting his brown horse, Ramo reaffirmed his conviction in his mind that they needed to get rid of the girl for Jerek’s own good, though he knew now that Jerek would resist and be devastated when it happened. Ramo would be there for him though, to help him pick up the pieces and move on. Perhaps, Jerek would choose to move on with him. Ramo giggled. Yes, that was going to happen. Everything would turn out okay, as long as he trusted in the Commander and stood there for Jerek, no matter what Jerek did or said. Nosaj would help him to win Jerek back.

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Aww how cute!

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From Pinterest

I’m such a sucker for beauty/beast pairings.

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Fade to White Chapter 18

Fade to White

Chapter Eighteen

“Commander, I know where he’s been going.”

Nosaj looked up as the doors to his Throne Room swung open and Ramo entered with grim determination. “That was fast,” he commented, leaning against his elbow with his chin in his hand.

“There’s a farm in the forest, northeast . . .”

“Of the castle, I know,” Nosaj cut Ramo off, finishing the sentence for him.

“There was a girl, and apparently Jerek is . . .” Ramo trailed off.

“Not too surprising.”

“Commander, what are we going to do?” Ramo pleaded, clasping his hands together and biting his lip.

“Indeed, what can we do?” Nosaj stood up, stretching both of his arms above his head then slowly bringing them down. “Don’t worry so much Ramo. Everything will be right in the end. For now, let’s just wait a couple days. Jerek won’t be going anywhere, his punishment will make sure of that. Then when he’s regained his strength, we’ll go and get him.”

“What?” Ramo frowned. “Wouldn’t it be easier to rush out there right now and bring him back? That girl won’t be able to stop us and Jerek can’t fight because of his wounds.”

Walking up to Ramo, Nosaj put his hand on his shoulder. “You are young, and there are things you don’t understand yet. We will wait.”

“But I can’t stand waiting! Jerek betrayed me, because of that girl!” Tears flooded Ramo’s already red eyes as he screamed, “I want her to die!”

“Hush now,” Nosaj murmured, “don’t get yourself worked up. Let’s sit down and you can tell me about this girl.”

Blinking furiously, Ramo let Nosaj guide him to the side of the room where couches and chairs lined the wall, and sat down on one of the cushioned sofas. Swallowing, Ramo began, “It looked like she lived at the cottage.”

“Yes, it’s quite the possibility.”

“She was . . .” Ramo gritted his teeth together before forcing out the word, “pretty. She was wearing a loose pink nightgown when she came out of the cottage and found Jerek lying unconscious on the ground. Her hair was long, a bright reddish-gold color, and kind of wavy. The morning mist made her seem kind of mystical, like she was some sort of nymph.”

“It sounds as if you’re taken with her too.” Nosaj smirked.

“No, I’m not!” Ramo burst out, then sullenly added, “there was something about her that struck me, is all.”

“There must be something about this girl that makes her considerably more pretty than her mother, because that whore was as plain as dirt.”

“I think she used her siren charms to brainwash Jerek.”

“Oh?”

“Jerek would never kiss or hold anyone like that! He’s too strong for it, too independent.”

Nosaj frowned. “Jerek is just a man, after all. They did that?”

“Yeah. When she came up to him, she touched him and woke him up. After she saw the whip marks on Jerek’s back, they clung to each other for a while, then started kissing each other with such intensity it was disgusting to look at.”

“My poor Ramo. It seems this situation is worse than I had originally thought. Because of Jerek’s stubbornness and hatred toward the more intimate aspects of life, he’s completely unguarded when it comes and hits him. He’s just a child when it comes to love.”

“Then we need to go and get him right now!”

Pausing, Nosaj thoughtfully pursed his lips before soothingly saying, “Ramo, ever since you came to live with us ten years ago, I’ve thought of you as a son. Just as you trusted and obeyed your real father, I want you to trust and obey me. You hate this girl that stole Jerek away from you, right?”

“With all my heart!”

“Then don’t you want her to suffer?”

“Suffer?” Ramo repeated.

“It’s only what she deserves, for manipulating Jerek and turning him against you. I bet if it hadn’t been for her, Jerek would be devoted to only you. You’re the only one he spends any time with, the only one he’s formed any attachments to.”

“Yes . . . I want her to suffer.”

“How much?”

“A lot.”

“Then you’ll help me with what I’m about to do?”

“Yes.”

“Good. We’ll wait to go to the cottage, but when we do we’ll take out our revenge on the girl. We want her to feel a false sense of security, we want her to think that she’s succeeded, so that when we rip everything away from her, she’ll fall from the top to the very bottom. Doesn’t that sound like a plan?”

“Yes. It’s a plan.”

“Out of curiosity,” Nosaj spoke as Ramo stood up, “if I brought her here, would you use her? Is she that pretty?”

Ramo danced slightly on his feet, thinking hard about the question. Finally, he answered, “I probably would. We don’t have any like her in the castle.”

“Thank you, Ramo. You may leave now.” Leaning against the armrest and putting his feet up onto the cushions, Nosaj smirked and stroked his chin. “Beautiful enough for Ramo, eh?” he mused out loud, chuckling, “and beautiful enough for Jerek too. I am lucky, there is no doubt.”

Out inside the corridor, Ramo stopped and leaned against the wall. He couldn’t stop the sick feeling in his stomach, the sense that everything was on the verge of crashing down. No, it already was falling and it was just a matter of time before it exploded. His life as he knew it had already ended, and the future only held uncertainties.

He didn’t want to think about that. It was a scary thought. Without considering what he was doing, Ramo found himself wandering to Jerek’s chambers and pushing his way into the empty room. All of Jerek’s stuff was still there, packed up and sitting on his bed. Jerek didn’t have a shirt and he would need one. He would miss his sword too, and his cigarets. Kneeling down, Ramo retrieved the little tin from underneath Jerek’s bed and went to stuff it into the pack with Jerek’s clothes, but saw that they were all in a bundled mess. That was typical of Jerek. Sitting down, Ramo proceeded to pull out all of Jerek’s shirts and pants, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles as best he could with his hands before neatly folding them up and putting them back into the bag.

He hated the idea that had come into his head, but it was better than sitting and waiting. At least Ramo would be doing something, and helping Jerek, instead of moping around the castle. He had done enough of that recently. It was time for action, even if it was as simple as making sure Jerek had his clothes.

Slinging the bag over his shoulder, Ramo picked up Jerek’s sword and considered it for a moment before strapping it around his waist. Common sense told him that it wouldn’t be a good idea to hand Jerek a weapon like this, considering what they were planning, but for some reason he couldn’t leave it behind. Jerek was proud of his sword, and proud of his ability to use it. It would be a shame to withhold it from him.

Despite his resolution to help Jerek, Ramo’s feet were still heavy as he dragged his way through the corridors of the castle. It would be better if he was going with the intent to bring Jerek back home, instead of going to drop off his things. He couldn’t understand Nosaj’s purpose in delaying such actions, all he knew was that he would have to trust the Commander.

Even with slow-moving feet, it didn’t take too long for Ramo to reach the stables. After asking the Stable Keeper to saddle a horse for him, Ramo stared out at the trees. It felt strange to be leaving the castle a second time like this, especially with both of the trips being so close together. The sun didn’t even seem to be shining as brightly as it should have been.

When the horse was ready, Ramo mounted it and kicked it lightly to urge it forward. In a few hours he would be safely back in the castle. He would do this for Jerek.

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Contemporary Fade to White

If I were to write Fade to White today, it would be a very different story. For starters, it was written before I started listening to bands like Within Temptation and Kamelot.

I’m not posting the novella because I think it’s good — it’s a snapshot of how I used to be.  When I look at the story, I can see the battle between who I was and who I thought I should be during a pivotal moment in my life. Fade to White was written by the girl who went to college, because everyone told her she should.

I am now the woman who said “Fuck you, it’s my life,” and made my own choices against enormous amounts of criticism. Who knew that random strangers would be so invested in whether or not I had a college degree? And that was only the beginning.

Quite a few plot events happened because I thought they were the sorts of things that should have happened. Characters are rigidly righteous because I thought that was how protagonists should be. The romance is slow paced, because I was told that was how all relationships had to happen.

Nowadays my definition of ‘good’ is more fluid. Would a contemporary Tryne become upset at Jerek for being Nosaj’s heir? Probably not. She would likely conspire to use him as the perfect inside man.

The characters would be far more interested in flat-out revenge.

Insidious, convoluted, and dark.

The ending would be completely different, but we haven’t posted that far yet.

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Fade to White chapter 17

Fade to White

Chapter Seventeen

Making it to the edge of the clearing of Tryne’s farm, Jerek felt his strength drain completely from his body, and suddenly he was lying horizontal on the ground. His horse stopped this time, lowering its head down to bite at the soft grass. Rolling onto his back, Jerek stared up at the blue sky, resting his hands across his stomach and feeling relaxed. He didn’t want to ever move again. In fact, what he felt like doing was going to sleep. Seemingly on their own, his eyelids closed and blocked out the view he had of the world around him.

Soft warm hands touched his face, and he slowly opened one eye. The sky was lighter, a pinkish hue that signified dawn. Her hair was loose around her face, and hanging down toward him as she leaned over him, her facial features seeming to be even softer and more beautiful in the pale light.

“Come on Jerek,” Tryne whispered, “We’re going inside.”

Jerek sat up, and put his hand to his forehead as dizziness suddenly washed over him. Feeling sick, he leaned forward, squeezing his eyes shut and clenching his teeth. He could hear Tryne gasp, then her hot hands touched his shoulders and guided him forward so he was braced up against her body. Putting both of his arms around her, Jerek pulled her tightly against his cold chest, resting his cheek against her hair.

“I need you to stand up Jerek. I can’t carry you to the cottage.”

“Just . . .” Jerek’s voice cracked, “. . . a little bit . . .”

“Shh, don’t speak. We’ll wait as long as we need to.”

“Tryne, I’m sorry.”

A hot tear splashed against Jerek’s frozen skin, surprising him. Tryne buried her head in the crook of his neck, and he could feel more of her tears falling. “I shouldn’t,” she sobbed, “but I do. I love you, Jerek.”

Jerek pushed Tryne slightly away from him so he could see into her eyes. He brushed away a tear with his thumb, putting both of his hands against her cheeks. Then, lips slightly parted, he kissed her, holding her so tightly against him he almost couldn’t breathe. But, he didn’t really want to breathe. He just wanted her.

Something inside Ramo broke, and he pulled himself back behind the tree, sinking to the ground. Water flowed freely from his eyes as he rested his head against his knees, and he put his hands up to his ears. Everything made so much sense to him now, and he felt stupid for not realizing it sooner, for not being able to see this coming.

Jerek was in love with a woman.

Ramo knew he had no claims over Jerek, and he had no right to be as upset as he was. Jerek had made it very clear that he would never feel any tender emotions toward him, yet despite that Ramo had continued holding on to the hope that some day Jerek would. At the very least, he had hoped that he would forever be Jerek’s one and only friend. Even that had been ripped away from him, because of that girl. A sudden and deep hatred filled Ramo’s chest, directed toward the female who had the gall to touch Jerek. She had gotten into Jerek’s head, manipulating and controlling him to the point where Jerek had turned against the Commander and King. That had to be the answer. There was no other way that Jerek could possibly be in love with someone, no other reason for the things that he had said to Ramo. Someone else was controlling him.

That girl needed to be exterminated before she could cause any more damage.

Standing up, Ramo pressed his hand against his heart. Even if Jerek wasn’t himself, it still hurt to see him kiss a girl like that. It hurt a lot. Treading softly, Ramo walked deeper into the forest to where he had dismounted his horse and headed back to the castle. It was important that the Commander heard about this right away.

“You’re so cold,” Tryne whispered, brushing her hand through the side of Jerek’s hair and feeling along his arm. “Can you come inside?”

Nodding, Jerek pushed himself up but faltered slightly. Tryne caught hold of him, and putting his arm around her shoulders, supported him as they slowly shuffled their way to the cottage. Inside, Tryne sat Jerek down on one of the beds, then immediately filled the kettle with water and put it on the stove.

“What happened to you?” she asked, pulling out a few rags and dumping them on the floor next to the bed, sitting on her knees next to them.

“I was whipped for disobedience.”

“Didn’t you say that you were the heir to Nosaj?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Will you please tell me the truth now?”

Taking a deep breath, Jerek looked away for a moment then met Tryne’s eyes again. “Nosaj adopted me when I was five years old after my parents died in a fire. I was raised for the sole purpose of being his successor, and recently I had started carrying out Nosaj’s dirty work for him. Destroying Opal was my doing.”

“What about the orphans? Did you really take their sister in exchange for letting them go?”

“Heh, yeah.” Jerek shook his head, grinning slightly but using his hand to cover it. “I shouldn’t have, since I was supposed to kill everyone and leave no survivors. If Nosaj had known about the orphans, he would have been furious with me. He chastised me over the girl, though I knew he was pleased with her.”

“Is she still there with him?”

“No, I killed her.”

Pulling a disgusted face, Tryne looked away and stood up, walking over to the stove and looking at the kettle.

“Tryne.” Jerek stood up as well, moving right behind her. “I didn’t mean to kill her.”

“Did you have anything to do with my Mother’s death?”

“No. From the very first day I met you, I didn’t have anything to do with Nosaj’s actions at all. I was completely unaware of them until after they happened.”

Turning around to face Jerek, Tryne asked, “How do I know I can trust you?”

“My loyalty lies only with you, isn’t this proof enough?” Jerek spread out his arms and twisted around to show the cuts in his back.

“The water is warm enough now, go lie down on your stomach.”

Jerek did as he was ordered, feeling pained at Tryne’s unemotional tone. Dipping the rag into the water, Tryne rung it out then dabbed it at the wounds in his back, causing them to sting. Wincing, Jerek gritted his teeth and clutched at the blankets on the bed.

“I’m sorry, I know it hurts.” There was a pause, before Tryne continued asking, “Did you really sever all your ties with Nosaj? Are you really loyal only to me or is this some sort of set up?”

“I’m telling you the truth! I’m not stupid enough to do something like this just to get one person. If I intended to hurt you, I would have done it a long time ago.”

“Well I don’t know. I thought I knew you, but it turned out that I was wrong. You could be capable of anything.”

“I won’t ever deceive you ever again.” Sitting up, Jerek grabbed both of Tryne’s wrists and held them. “I love you, Tryne! I shouldn’t, I have no right to, but I do! I’ve loved you from the first moment I saw you! I loved you when you forced me to do menial labor, and I loved you for all of your silly little activities you insisted on making me do with you! I love you!”

Tryne was surprised for a second, but then smiled very warmly as she gently pushed Jerek back down. “I can’t clean your wounds if you keep moving around like that.” Putting one of her hands on Jerek’s head, she stroked his hair and whispered, “I’ll never doubt you again, my love. Stay with me for always.”

“I’ll never leave you, even if you tell me to.”

“I’m glad. Your back is probably going to be extremely sore after this. I mean, you were whipped and you rode your horse all the way here without it being bandaged up or anything. You might not even be able to move.”

Jerek grunted in reply.

“Do you still want to run away with me?”

“I intend to as soon as I can.”

“Maybe I ought to go into town and buy you some clothes. Have you ever considered wearing a black or red shirt? I bet that you would look very good in those colors.”

“White suits me just fine,” Jerek grumbled, then yawned.

“Oh, I’m sorry. You’re probably exhausted. Go ahead and sleep.”

“Don’t leave the cottage without me,” Jerek murmured, closing his eyes. “I don’t want anything happening to you. It isn’t safe in Amber.”

“I won’t.” Smiling, Tryne dipped the rag into the water again and continued wiping up Jerek’s blood. “I’ve got enough to do around here just worrying about you. I swear, you always seem to be getting yourself injured, like a wild cat that gets into fights. I have to stick around to make sure you don’t hurt yourself any more.”

Taking a deep breath, Jerek mouthed the words, “I love you,” once more before slipping off into sleep.

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Bad Advice

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Now that I’ve inflicted this incredibly long image on you . . .

NEVER EVER FOLLOW WRITING ADVICE FROM THE INTERNET

Yes, I really did just post that image then tell you not to follow it. However, despite all of my rampant egotism, I am aware that my own philosophy is recursive, so go ahead and ignore me.

Anyway . . .

It’s your story, and chances are that if you’re writing romance, it’s your fantasy as well. Don’t turn it into a formula.

Personally, I can’t stand slow burn “we’re just friends” relationships — I have quit quite a few novels and TV series over it. In real life, my husband and I eloped quickly after meeting, skipped the typical dating thing all together, and have a better marriage than anyone I know. That’s what I know and what I like — slow burn always comes across as contrived and indecisive.

I also hate “on again, off again,” relationships, and quit reading/watching over them as well because it’s unnecessary drama. I like it when characters stay together against every odd.

Essentially, if I followed this list I would wind up with a story that I loathed.

It’s far better to write what you love, especially when it comes to love.

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Inspiration

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Source

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