This week’s WIP Wednesday deals with a story I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. “Blooded” tells the story of Samartin’s quest to enter the heart of Izuntu and become one of his high priests, a group known as the Blooded.
If you haven’t read the primer on Izuntu, here’s the short version: Izuntu is an ancient dark god trapped in a remote region of space, and his followers seek to accumulate enough power to eventually free him and bring about his reign.
So, in “Blooded” we’re following Samartin, a devoted priest of Izuntu who’s spent years acquiring the power and knowledge needed to venture into Izuntu’s realm (which is also his body–I swear, this all makes more sense if you’ve read that primer…). The bulk of the narrative tracks our protagonist as he works his way through a bizarre landscape that’s been warped by the dark god’s influence, but there are also some short interludes involving Samartin’s dream-visions.
I gotta say, this one is fun to write. Sometimes a story turns out to be a real pain in my ass once I’ve gotten into it; this is not like that at all. I have a feel for the character as I’m writing, which is always helpful, and I started with a partial outline of the plot. I think I managed to find a good mix of planning and room for inspiration on this project, too. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy so far, though difficult doesn’t always mean dull. Even when it’s giving me trouble, I’m still enjoying the process. I’ve got almost 5,000 words of the first draft written.
Time for an excerpt from the draft. Remember, this is unedited and likely to change by the time the final draft is done.
Early in the story, we see Samartin entering the god’s realm. This requires him to complete the rite of entrance, which in this case involves an offering to Izuntu. For those of you who’ve read the primer on Izuntu, you might recognize some of this from what I wrote about it previously. Read the excerpt below to learn about the items that Samartin has brought for the ritual.
The rite of entrance required three offerings. First was an oblong flask, sealed tight with a knotted cork, containing a drop of blood from one-thousand of Samartin’s enemies. The fluid held a potency that many a practitioner would seek to harness: the collected samples mingled together and shared their life-energies. He’d only taken blood from the slain, seeking to prove himself further to Izuntu, and so the contents represented victory over a great many foes.
Next was a handmade cloak, every piece of which he’d gathered from one-thousand beasts he’d hunted in his travels. A thick layer of hair and feathers formed the fabric, woven in tight patterns to create a sturdy covering that shimmered under light, reflecting the many hues of its sources. The edges he’d lined with a thin, scaly covering cut from the hide of a sleek reptile. An assortment of sharp teeth and jagged claws were worked into it, displaying the breadth of Samartin’s prey. He’d fought and killed so many fearsome creatures to obtain the parts, everything from werewolves to giant squids, but making the cloak from so many disparate components had proved almost as difficult as the slaying itself.
The final item was one he’d spent years searching for, its existence something of a legend. The memory extractor resembled a long syringe on one end, constructed from a crude mixture of ancient materials that nonetheless provided a sturdy frame for the device. Intricate scrollwork and series of runes snaked around the barrel, leading up to heavy plunger of hammered copper. The needle, when inserted through the victim’s ear, was long enough to reach through and puncture the opposite ear drum. An opaque bulb sat atop its other half, where the memories of one-thousand lives swirled in perpetuity, held fast by the magic of the artifact. He would miss it a great deal, but all of his possessions were expendable in pursuit of the high priesthood.