Tag Archive: fantasy

The End of Innocence

A/N: This was written for April’s Monthly Challenge for Innocence at the Ad Astra fanfction archive site. Herein lies the beginning of a new story, one for which I would like opinions, if anyone cares to share them. It has some elements of fantasy, but was mostly written as science fiction. Comments welcome!

 The green blue world shimmers beneath me, nothing disturbing its tranquility. Innocence. That is the word that pops into my mind as I stand, high up on the invisible glass precipice, looking down at a world with no knowledge of the existence of me, of my kind. A world of fire and ice. Viewed from inside a giant glass bubble that no one else will ever see. I hear my father’s voice inside my head, “They are innocents, Daughter, and you should always protect the innocents.” Though that is not what brought me here, it is what compels me to stay.  A society, not exactly primitive, but not yet ready for the infinite vastness of space and the unknowns it contains. Innocence. I have given that word a great deal of thought since they dropped me here.  I am Aife, protector of worlds.

The lives on the planet below me are my responsibility, and that means not showing them what lies beyond the stars they look at every evening before they go to bed. I sometimes wonder if any of them ever suspect that those stars might be a clever disguise, left as a gift from an unknown race, and meant to protect them from seeing what lies beyond until they are ready to do so.  After all, the field of stars the others have provided is almost perfect. The planets are well done, too, for those who desire a further glimpse. A glimpse is all that is permitted. If the star field fails, there is, of course, a backup plan in place. Cloud-maker satellites have been installed in the near atmosphere of the planet, and they will automatically kick in and the clouds will pile in thick and heavy, sometimes bringing rain, and sometimes not, and conceal the field until it can be repaired. It never really fails, though, so the cloud-maker satellites will, on occasion, come on as part of a self diagnostic, and cover the planet in clouds anyway. It adds to the illusion, and so, no move will be made to change it.

I have never thought about it, before now, but I wonder if by dropping me here, the others haven’t violated their supreme law, a law they call the Prime Directive. After all, isn’t this also interference, of a sort, in the natural development of the planet? What is it that makes men strive? Makes them try to reach beyond what is familiar and comfortable to what is new and dangerous and exciting?  What makes one culture strike out, while another retreats within?

The more I think about it, the more I don’t want to think about it, because when I do, the darker questions always creep in.  I am Sorcha, wielder of the flaming sword. If the others are hiding all of the wonders of their world from the planet below, what are they hiding from me? And why? What is their goal? World Domination or something more innocent? Innocence. There’s  that word again. They assure me I am not a prisoner, and yet they wish me not to leave this place. Perhaps they sense that I could be a danger to them.

A white hot anger stabs me, and suddenly, I understand. I am angry because the people below weren’t given the right to choose to stay innocent, or to walk out of Eden and into something else. And a cage is still a cage, theirs (or mine). No matter that the bars (or walls and floors) are invisible.  This time, they caged knowledge and freedom and the right to choose, and in doing so, they tried to cage me, but my essence cannot be contained so easily. In time, they will learn. What will they cage next, in the name of protecting the innocent? Are they really protecting the innocent, or trying to keep them blind to something? Can a people be caged, if they don’t know the cage exists?

The others would tell me I am thinking too much, and that may be, but I wonder what would happen if I open up the door, and set us both free. I am Sorcha. I am Aife. I am the wielder of the flaming sword. I am the protector of worlds. Aife. Sorcha. Sorcha. Aife. Protector of worlds. Wielder of the flaming sword. The sword screeches from the scabbard. I start to spin, and my sword whirls around my head, trailing little tendrils of fire behind it, slashing through the air. Invisible glass shatters, raining fragments all around. I slash again, and fire destroys the panel that controls that which brings the clouds.  It is the end of innocence, and in a way a death. But it is also life. I am Sorcha, wielder of the flaming sword, killer of innocence. I am Aife, protector of worlds, bringer of life.





That is the question, isn’t it? For some of us, it isn’t really a question. Or maybe it is, but there’s no real answer besides the one we know, have always known in our hearts to be true. Writing is the only way this chaos, this insanity that marks our crazy lives makes sense. My joke with friends is that I row crew because I like to row crew, and I teach because that’s my calling, but I write because I can’t help it. I can’t not. I can’t imagine a life without writing–a life without the words or the worlds of my imagination, a life without the ink-on-paper people who are more alive than many “real” people to me, or a life without the adventures and misadventures of these same people.

The fact that these people exist in my head makes no difference, nor does it render them any less real. If that seems crazy, then what I am about to say is even more so. I picked up the gauntlet thrown down by a couple of very good friends, and accepted the challenge of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in one month’s time. I SIGNED UP FOR NANOWRIMO. And what a challenge it is, too! Apart from a full time job, trying to get my business off the ground, and responsibilities at home, I will be attempting to write an entire novel (or most of one) in 30 days. The level of my success remains to be seen.

I will use the rest of this month to plan and plot and outline. Will it be a mystery story? Science fiction? Fantasy? Or something else? What of the characters dancing around in my head, half formed? Which will take the starring role? Who will the supporting characters be?  Where will the plot lines bend and twist like the branches of an old tree? Will this story follow the path of those before it and grow too complicated to finish in 50,000 words and thirty-days? Or will it fizzle and die in its infancy? I will brainstorm ideas, adopt them, and then discard them, and adopt others. I will outline and chart and plot. I will make notes and then tear them up and make more. I will come maddeningly close to throwing up my hands and walking away.

Then, on the evening of Friday, November 1, 2013, I will start to write, and the characters will finally have their say. At the end of it all, and as much as I might not want to admit it, I am simply their messenger, transcribing the story they wish to tell. If I do that well enough, it will be a story others want to read. If I don’t, well…

So, what do I need from you? Encouragement mostly. Motivation. To some degree, accountability. To reach the goal in the time allotted, I must write around 2000-2500 words per day. That translates to approximately ten to twelve pages. Every. Day. Feel free to inquire as to how it is going, or kick me in the pants (if I seem to need it) to get it done. You can ask what I am writing about, but please don’t be offended if I don’t tell you (not immediately, anyway). In my experience, sharing my work lessens the tension building as I work, thereby killing the motivation to finish in order to relieve said tension.

Thank you for your help, and I hope to see you on the other side of this coin with more stories to share. Happy Fall.