Chapter four part one: https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work.php?id=1...
The Fallen King
Liam returns to the lighthouse with a storm brewing. The storm begins to put out the lights of the village, and fearing the oncoming Darkness, Liam speaks the magic words his father had taught him before his death. Grandfather awakens and tell him of the old tongue.
Liam felt a small pang of longing. A feeling he’d grown used to. Arwen’s stories had been twinged with those legends.
“Words that crackle with power and smell of the mountains and rivers,” Liam muttered.
“Yes! So you have been taught of it?” Grandpa said, excited.
“Not by my father,” Liam said, “Dad never cared much for legends. Arwen told me of something like that, though,” Liam said, unsure whether he should mention his recent encounters with those strange words.
Grandpa got off his knees and brushed the soot off. “Of course she did. Arwen always knew more than she let on. What did she tell you?”
“Only stories,” Liam said, confused, “Things from before the Kingdom fell.”
“Stories can teach you more than you’d expect, sometimes,” Grandpa said. He sat down in the chair on the other side of the hearth to Liam. “I must admit, I cannot be too disappointed that your father never taught you more. Thomas, (may he rest in peace), was always a single-minded man, more of a warrior than a Keeper. I can forgive him for never teaching you much about a subject he never understood.”
Grandpa furrowed his brow as if trying to figure out where to begin. “You ask about the storm - it was a messenger. Someone like me, who can speak the Old Tongue, used it to command the storm to come here.”
“Like the people in the legends? Who could make mountains walk and trees speak, and stars fall?” Liam asked, feeling that hint of excitement that the words carried, that smell of the ancient.
“Yes, like them,” Grandpa responded.
“But all the stories are from before the Kingdom fell. That all stopped when the Darkness came!” Liam protested.
Grandpa shook his head and smiled. “Much knowledge was lost when the Kingdom fell, but not all was. Some of it is in this very lighthouse,” Grandpa said, gesturing at the disorganized shelves of old tomes. “And outside of Lownire, among the lost villages, the Austermen, there are some who still know ancient secrets.” He frowned. “But you’re not wrong that there are few True Speakers of the Old Tongue. I was the first to learn in generations, but I always thought that if I learned, others could as well.” He added another log to the fire and watched the flames greedily lick the new wood. “It appears I was right. This strange storm was sent by another True Speaker of the Old Tongue. Even more strange, they seemed to have known that I existed. The storm was a messenger sent to me. It was sent to retrieve me and bring it back to its master. I wasn’t exactly in the mood to go traipsing after this typhoon to its mysterious master, so I declined the offer. It appears this was also expected because it said it would destroy the village if I didn’t follow it. So I sent it away with the same language and power that brought it here. A simple command in the Old Tongue and this ancient spirit had to listen.”
Grandpa pulled out a dried fish from the bag he grabbed in the kitchen and spent the next minute grunting and positioning it on the spit above the fire. Liam didn’t interrupt with any of his questions, though, since his grandpa currently seemed much more engaged with getting his fish cooking than anything else. Grandpa finished and sat back in his chair.
“How did you learn this language?” Liam asked, “I know nobody in Lownire who knows it.”
“Us men may have forgotten the Old Tongue, but the ancients have not. The trees, the mountains, and the waves still remember their true names, and if you listen close enough, you can hear them. They may slumber, but they whisper in the Old Tongue,”
“Those words I spoke, what were they? Were they the Old Tongue?” Liam asked. They had truly felt different.
“Yes and no,” Grandpa began, turning his fish on the fire, “I put my mind into a slumber with the Old Tongue. Much like the other ancients, I became dormant. Weaving a complex spell that would preserve my mind until the right trigger words were spoken to awaken me. What you said were those trigger words set to awaken me.”
“Slumber?” Liam asked, “You weren’t asleep.”
“Yes, but my mind was. Dormant. Only active enough to keep me alive. The rest was safely tucked away, unused, and preserved. The wheel kept in the corner lasts much longer than that on the cart.”
“Why would you do that to yourself?” Liam asked.
“I was waiting for something. Preserved until the right moment. Your father was told the conditions of my awakening, but he must have communicated them poorly since you woke me up early.”
“He said to awaken you when the lights went out,” Liam said.
“Light singular is what I said. When Astrum went out,” Grandpa said, his voice quivering slightly with anger. But he sighed, and the tone left. “It is an understandable mistake, though, and I am almost glad you awakened me. That storm was powerful and would have flooded the city if I hadn’t stopped it. It had already put out too many of the wall’s lights,” Grandpa said.
Liam suddenly jumped out of his chair. “The city!” He shouted.
How could he have forgotten? Stupid, stupid Liam. He was a terrible Keeper. They needed light. He was the only one who could bring it. Hugh and Sitric had told him to bring it if he was able. He’d been too distracted by all the strange happenings to remember his basic responsibilities.
Liam glanced at the window, the sun was rising, but through the thick clouds and mist, it barely gave light. The village would still be in danger without Astrum on the walls. At this very moment, they could be facing creatures of Darkness. He thought about all of the people in the village tucked inside of those walls, now threatened because they needed light.
“I need to go,” Liam said.
“What?” Grandpa asked.
“Lownire… the walls,” Liam said, rushing to the second floor where he always kept a lit torch of Astrum. His father had kept it on the first floor, but he didn’t like it down there. Too bright. “They need Astrum. I need to relight their torches and command them to burn bright.” He shouted as he grabbed the torch and a spare cloak balled up in one corner.
He rushed back down the stairs. “Now that dad’s gone, they had to make me Keeper of the Light.”
“I suppose I should have considered that the village would need light,” Grandpa said, “My mind was elsewhere.” He turned and leaned on the hearth with one hand, rubbing his face tiredly with the other.
Liam nodded, setting down the torch in a holder next to the door. Maybe Grandpa should have, but it wouldn’t be Grandpa’s fault if Liam discovered someone had died while the light had been low. Liam pulled on his cloak. Grandpa wasn’t the Keeper of the Light.
Liam stopped with only one arm in the cloak.
He whirled and faced Grandpa. The old man standing next to the hearth, staring into the flames, considering something with great thought.
“You’re back? Well and truly back,” Liam said, his voice quivering with excitement.
“Hmm?” Grandpa said, seeming to be pulled out of his consideration, “Oh, Yes. There’s no going back to sleep for me. A command like that is too complicated. Doing it again, at my age, would make the change permanent.”
Liam laughed, a sudden sense of joy coursing through his limbs, awakening him from the stupor of the past month. It was like the first sunlight of spring, breaking through the winter clouds. “Perfect!”
Grandpa turned from the fire and looked at his grandson. “What? No, that’s not perfect. I-”
“I can leave!” Liam shouted, not hearing Grandpa’s protestations over the sound of his chains snapping.
1. Do you like the descriptions of the Old Tongue? Is it evocative?
2. Do you understand the basics of how the Old Tongue functions?
3. Is this chapter too expostiony?
Chapter four, part three: https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work.php?id=1...