Halcyon: Receptor Sketch

I’ve been quiet here because I’ve been spending my effort developing the Halcyon project for NaNoWriMo. It’s been fascinating and challenging. Although the last week has been more of a struggle than the initial planning stages or the first two weeks of writing, I am still finding a lot of satisfaction in the work and interest in the process. It seems like every time I turn around, Halcyon grows. What started out as a short story has shifted to a novella, into a novel, and now possibly into a trilogy. It’s daunting and exciting in turns and I am feeling the frustration that Ian talks about when there’s such a rich world in your head that you’re trying to capture in text. Oh, do I ever relate to that now.

Charles has been a fantastic collaborator, and I am finding the process of working with someone else really fruitful. Recently Nicole has been able to start offering her insights as well, which has been really incredible. Collaboration has kept me thinking and inspired, as well as teaching me about the limitations of my own experiences and perspectives. The meta thinking-about-thinking has been fascinating.

Here’s a short sketch, mostly to tease Joanne. Love you, Jo. ❤

***

As the door opened, Shaava was surprised to discover the Collegium’s Receptor intimidated her almost exactly as much as an adult dragon.

An imposing, sour-faced man, the Receptor was tasked with guarding the peace and productivity of the Symposium and took his job very, very seriously. He sniffed in distaste at the shabby appearance of the high elf on the step and nodded the barest acknowledgement to the human cleric by her side. At least they were clean. “May I help you?”

“I’ve come to address the Symposium, goodsir.”

At least her tone indicated proper civility, even if her clothing looked like she’d been lost in the woods for a year. The Receptor sniffed again. Everyone thought they were important enough to address the Symposium. Fools. “On what matter?”

“Regarding the dragon attack on WhiteRock, goodsir.”

“A dragon? Likely story.” He did not want to hear this. He took a step back into the hall, drawing the door closed with the movement. “Enjoy the afterno–” He found he couldn’t finish the word, the air frozen in his lungs, everything about his movement arrested. If he could have expressed surprise, he would have. It had been a very long time since anyone had dared to cast a spell on him. He was the Receptor. His indignation would have been palpable, if only he could move.

“I intend to achieve this address one way or another, goodsir. I have travelled over a year with this single purpose. It would be kind of you to assist me with this endeavour.” The spell loosed, restoring his movement and breath. Of course she would be a mage. Of all the rotten luck.

“You audacious little–”

“I will perform a truth spell if you prefer, Sir,” the cleric offered. The Receptor recognized an amulet of Keltyr around his neck.

“That would be far preferable to being ambushed,” he replied, haughtily.

“You are familiar with how they work?” The cleric seemed unperturbed by the Receptor’s sharpness.

“I am. Begin at once or be on your way.”

The cleric nodded, closing his eyes, reciting the spell quietly. A thin wreath of fog formed around them, indicating a successful casting. “This will dispel if anyone within the circle lies.”

The Receptor nodded, stiffly, and glared at the high elf. “A dragon?”

“Yes, goodsir. It attacked WhiteRock, just over a year ago. I was there. I saw it myself.”

The fog remained resolutely intact.

The Receptor grimaced. “Very well. I will pass on your desire for an audience to the Symposium. They will send word if and when they decide to hear you. Where shall it be sent?”

“If you would send it to the attention of the Sodality of the Stormborn, it would be deeply appreciated,” the cleric replied, dispelling the fog.

“It shall be so.” The Receptor turned, staring the grubby mage down, waving off her thanks and any further conversation. “You are not fit to attend an audience, even if you were to be granted one. Make yourself presentable before accepting their invitation, should one come. Good day.”

He was successful in closing the door this time and as it latched shut he leaned against it, breathing heavily as the carefully suppressed shock finally surfaced.

A dragon. For the love of power, that damnable mushroom hadn’t been lying.

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