Ellis 12 Excerpt
Author's note: While not the begining of the chapter, this excerpt is the begining of the scene (also lacking the ending of the scene). Context: Jorm, a fairy, hangs around Ellis and doesn't want him telling anyone secret knowledge; Paseht is Ellis's room mate; Ellis has amnesia and is trying to learn how the world works.
Paseht snored nearby as Ellis slid on his soled socks. The room was too stuffy; some fresh air could help him sleep better, he thought. As he followed the map in the lit halls with walls shifting more than usual —due to an increase in shadows cast— he found he was excited without too much reason.
He stepped through the barrier and was struck by cold air that felt so good in his lungs. The map led him to a spacious courtyard that he took his time strolling across. He imagined how busy it must be in the day to need so many benches and such spacious amounts of stone pathing. Small islands dotted the yard, golden-leafed trees that seemed to grow from bases of neatly shaped and bare bushes. The fountains burbled with wonderful water. Stepping up to the stone-brick railing, Ellis peered over the edge to view the chasm below. His head swam for a moment before collecting himself and looking out to the distant forest instead.
“So you’re up again tonight. What are you doing this time, I wonder. With you, it could be anything, sitting, standing, turning invisible, skydiving,” Jorm said.
Of course he would be here, Ellis huffed in his head. Jorm's glow in the night made the fact that he decided to use Ellis’s shoulder as a perch more nerving. He really didn’t feel like talking so he continued to take in the night beyond him. He wondered what it was like out there, if he could survive.
Jorm tapped at Ellis’s mind then, to his surprise, didn’t barge in. He spoke aloud, “so, you going to tell me what you're doing? It’s not actually going to be skydiving, is it? Before you fly, you should learn to walk. Or, at least, learn something that won’t be as harmful. What I’m trying to say is that if you’re up, you should be practicing.”
“I was practicing only a few hours ago,” Ellis said. Jorm laughed and fluttered to the railing next to Ellis’s hand, just far enough to be out of reach. Then the two of them stayed there, looking out over the canyon’s forested shoulders. Ellis couldn’t stand still any longer, “maybe I can practice a bit more.”
“That’s the spirit.”
Invisibility, that’s what he was trying now. He didn’t need the scroll to know what to do anymore; he began. The words pointed in his head, unintelligible to him but a thing to focus on. For the change to work, more than the words or the motions he envisioned, it was his skin and a will of shadow that he commanded. He shivered what was his pale skin in a way that was nearly unnatural. He commanded forces he didn’t understand to take appearance from him. The coldness crept in, it must be working, so much slower and manageable than his three or five past attempts. He was learning this one so much faster than the week it took for the air cushions. It was like he had done it before and just had to remove the rust from his gears.
The cold, like it always had, overtook his senses. He could continue, though at the cost of freezing to death. So he pulled what felt like a light blanket of frost from his will and warmth regained its purchase. And, as his senses were less focused on keeping the spell, he heard it, the soft clapping of cloth or leather —he couldn’t tell what. Ellis spun. There, by a tree, stood Paseht who clapped with a whistle. Other than the gloves, he wasn’t wearing much. That still disheartened Ellis, but this time it was more that Paseht was outside in the cold with so little to warm him. Though, Ellis thought, it could be a lot colder.