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The whole world was watching when the Prime Minister had a knife driven through his heart.

Eliana was home sprawled on the floor, a pile of gears and and bolts and screws splayed out before her. She only half listened to the news caster as she excitedly commented on proceedings. Ana’s mind and fingers more concerned with building a pocket-sized catapult, per her father’s instructions. Her father sat behind her on the couch, his posture sloppy. Quite unlike him, his elbows on his knees, one hand buried in his hair. The action let his ears show, the pointed tips quivering as he strained to hear the news over the sound of Eliana’s three elder sisters once again attempting to recreate the Elfen Girls newest music video.

Ana hadn’t been asked to join their fun. Not because she was tone deaf -- though, to be sure, every single one of the Lochland girls was about as musical as a bullfrog -- but because they knew she’d never be so frivolous with her time. Not when their father was home and there was a chance to win his praise.

Ana swore softly  under her breath as a gear slipped, threatening to capsize the whole venture. Below the gears was her homework, half-finished and mostly wrong. Coffee colored one edge of her math tablet’s case, something for which she’d gotten a scolding, not because she’d ruined the computer, but because the beverage was not appropriate for a 12-year-old girl and especially not a girl in her condition. But her father drank it. So she did as well.

“Eliana, come sit with me,” her father said.

The gear slipped again, and this time, the half-finished catapult did come apart, a nut rolling away to disappear beneath an easy chair. Ana looked up at her father, eyes wide. This was just about as close to affection as she ever saw from him, and it made her own ears, large, but not quite as pointed, quiver.

Silently, she stood. On socked feet, she crossed the plush carpet to sit next to him on the couch, knees curling so she could tuck her toes beneath her butt.

“Do you know what’s happening, Ana?” he asked, one hand giving a weak wave toward the television.

Ana shrugged. “They’re signing the peace treaty,” she said.

Harvarde Lochland sighed. While the rest of the planet was out dancing in the streets, the end of the war between Fae and humans had left him melancholy. As she looked at him, Ana had a straight line of sight down through the dining room and the hall beyond. A door stood half open on the farthest wall, and through the opening she could see a glint of metal. And even from where she sat on the couch, she could smell the the burn of oil and solder.

“Papa,” Ana said, giving her father an attempt at a warm smile, “you can still make people things. Just maybe not weapons.”

Harvarde looked down at his youngest daughter, no hint of a smile on his own face. “Do you know what happens to weapons smith after a war?” he asked.

Ana gave a slow shake of her head. His tone was inquisitive, but beneath it she could hear an edge she couldn’t quite place. Not fear, precisely. It was more like he was steeling himself for a verbal onslaught that hadn’t yet been formed. She’d heard similar tones at school, when kids were in the middle of being caught in a lie that they knew they’d never actually pull off. But her father hadn’t ever shown a hint of of uncertainty that she could ever remember. And a lie? Surely not.

“They are ilamera,” he said, the Fae language of his home rolling easily off his tongue.

“Disgraced,” Ana translated out of instinct more than real understanding, long days of drilling through that impossible language burned into her mind.

“Outcast,” Harvarde agreed. “It will not happen right away, perhaps. But at some point, they will decide that the real person to blame is the one who supplied the weapons. And on this they will be able to agree wholeheartedly.”

Ana knew that the Fae and human forces did not have much in common, but all of their weapons bore the name Lochland. Harvarde had been diplomatic to a fault, careful to stay in the good graces of the humans while still fulfilling his obligation to the Fae as a weapon’s master. And both sides, it seemed, had allowed it because without Harvarde Lochland on their side, there was no hope of winning.

Ana looked back at the television. On a raised dais, the human Prime Minister and the Fae High Lord were seated at an oval table that seemed far too big considering the setting. The faced each other across a chasm of deep mahogany inlaid with Fae runes, twisting curves of golden and bronze. Ana spotted the sign for the falyorn, a winged bird that was said to have feathers the color of jade and was the size of a child’s leg, but the camera cut away before she could read what story might be laid out across the table.

A high priest of the Fae goddess Imli was speaking, which struck Ana as strange. True, Imili was a goddess of peace, but not of the Seelie. And the priest’s red hair marked him as a Seelie Fae just as surely as it did for the Lochland clan. But Imili was the UnSeelie’s favorite goddess of peace, for her name more closely translated into the goddess of waiting. The peace that occurred right before a war.

As the priest spoke in rapid Fae, a translation crawling across the screen, Ana watched the faces of both leaders, Prime Minister and the High Lord, each with a fixed smile full of too many teeth. “But Papa, don’t you want peace?” she asked. “The war is terrible. It has caused more destruction than any other in the history of our worlds.”

“You are parroting your teachers, Ana,” he chided. “This war is no worse than any of the wars the humans had already been locked in. We just changed the rules a little.”

The camera cut from the flame haired priest to a human dignitary who was carrying a tray upon which sat a single white sheet of paper and two pens.

“How quaint,” Harvarde murmured. “They are going to write the it down on actual paper.” He tilted his head back as Ana leaned forward, trying to get a good look at the pens. She’d never actually seen one used before outside of films. “Charlise! Evean! Adela!” Harvarde yelled, earning himself a reproachful groan from the other room as the singing, blissfully, cut out. “Come and watch this. Your teachers are sure to talk about it tomorrow at school.”

Three pairs of feet were stomped disagreeably toward the living room. Ana’s sisters, each a year older than the next, ending with Charlise who was 15, came to a stop behind the couch wearing identical scowls and crossing their arms so that they looked almost like a Fae army themselves. If the Fae army had worn their hair in fashionable curls and sported enough reflective fabric to blind the sun.

The high priest was speaking again, arms outstretched like a man who might be able to lift the roof off the building if only he tried hard enough. The news caster was still speaking as both leaders signed the paper, fixed smile still in place. But the translation scrolled across the bottom, and Eliana read the crawl, brow furrowing. The text read, “And may the dark be forever banished, a distant memory long forgotten by two peaceful nations.”

But that wasn’t what the priest was saying at all.

Harvarde sat forward, eyes suddenly sparking with life.

“Papa,” Ana said, confused. “They aren’t translating that right.”

With a low thrum that shook Ana’s collarbone even through the television’s speakers, the air behind the dais illuminated, a bright blue light schisming down like a lightning bolt suspended in mid air. The line cracked, each side pushing outward, first a slow motion and then a sudden surge, the air renting in two. On the other side of the tear, there was darkness broken only by stars and a strange orange glow, like a night sky polluted by the light of a city.

Before Ana had a chance to process what she was seeing, a figure emerged. A man. A Fae, the tips of his ears glinting with silver rings. His black hair had a ragged, choppy look to it, like it’d been cut by unsteady hands. The camera had been zoomed in on the exact spot he emerged from, and for a brief moment, he looked straight at the camera, eyes a dark pool with no iris or cornea, just pure black. Expressionless. Already dead.

He had a dagger, jagged and gleaming, gripped in one hand. With the other outstretched, he lunged right for the Prime Minister. The knife was buried to the hilt before anyone had a chance to react, red blood seeping into the cool cream color of his shirt.

Behind her, Charlise and Evean screamed. Harvarde was on his feet now, eyes riveted to the screen where the camera still showed the Prime Minister, slumped forward, blood pooling onto the peace treaty. The Fae, too, was dead, a bullet-wounded brain. His blood was darker, almost purple, and it mixed with the bright red of the Prime Minister’s, covering the sigils inlaid in the table, falyorn lost beneath the dark liquid.

“What’s happening?” Adela yelled. “What’s happening?”

Ana looked to her father, heart pounding not just because of the horror playing out on the screen. No, it was her father who scared her more.

He wore a smile. Broad and gleaming. When he spoke, the words were almost a purr.

“We’re back in business.”
I move 400 miles away in 4 days. I'm not packed. I still have work that needs to be done. So of course -- of course -- now is when I want to write the most. And when I can't possibly shut out the sound of voices that want to be heard. I've written so much of this story in the last weeks. I thought I'd start putting some of it up here in hopes for feedback as I have no real idea where it might be going. It doesn't even have a real title yet. But! Writing again!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2017-06-18
Eliana - Prologue by Halatia ( Suggested by xlntwtch and Featured by doughboycafe )
:iconoverdebated:
While I enjoyed this piece - it does have some exquisite textures to it though it left me wondering about all these Fae things and such - I found myself wanting something. Something only you can give me:

Meg, where are the fucking velociraptors?

You need to write to your audience, woman, and some of us are rather old and a bit senile and remember you best as "that velociraptor woman who Sarah mailed a cat to". In light of this I've considered several ways in which you can increase your velociraptor quotient:

- A velociraptor could stab the prime minister.
- All references to Fae could be rebadged to Velociraptor.
- At the end of the piece, in a poignant moment of love and familial bonding, Eliana's father could disembowel her with his as-yet-hidden talon, rip off a convincing latex mask (credit to Priya and General Hospital for the idea; #Obrecht4Lyfe), and make some sort of velociraptor call. Perhaps hissing or clicking? I'm no expert on velociraptor linguistics so you may want to consult an encyclopedia on that one.

All things considered, though, for a velociraptorless piece this was quite decent. Have a tanka rebuttal:

dead politicians
pollute our storm drains
and red light districts;
all is impermanent
but the velociraptor

You're welcome.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
15 out of 16 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconmrgash88:
MrGash88 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I like it. The only thing I can pick on is the lack of background on the world which I'm certain will be explored upon as it progresses.
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:iconerzsabet:
Erzsabet Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I don't often read lit pieces on DA, but this one definitely caught my attention, and held it. Very well written, just a few typing mistakes. "The faced each other across a chasm of deep mahogany inlaid with Fae runes" first word would obviously be "they", and in "“They are going to write the it down on actual paper.” I believe the word "the" shouldn't be there.

Really great though, and definitely deserving of the DD!
Reply
:iconthewarofthering:
TheWarOfTheRing Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Jeez - those last two paragraphs were like :o (Eek) 

That was a really fascinating piece! Congrats on the DD! 
Reply
:iconarynchris:
ArynChris Featured By Owner 5 days ago
I'm grinning IRL, because this is neat.

Also, wow.  I don't know what to think of Harvarde as a person.  On the one hand, his life and possibly the lives of his family members have just been spared-- for now.  On the other hand, that's the wrong kind of gleeful.  Makes me wonder if the "lie" he was trying to pull off was that it was his life he feared for... and if the reality was that he mourned the loss of his dark occupation.
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:iconeremitik:
Eremitik Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Wow. Fantastic lead in. I seldom come across such well written and gripping pieces here. I would love to read this story.
Excellent work and Congratulations on the DD.
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:iconericvonschweetz:
EricVonSchweetz Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Student Digital Artist
Congratulations for DD!
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2016  Professional Writer
 Eek! But the beginning really drew me in. :)
Reply
:icondailylitrecognition:
DailyLitRecognition Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2016
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLR (Daily Literature Recognition) in a news article that can be found here. Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by +faving the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconqueen-kitty:
Queen-Kitty Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015   Photographer
I really, really enjoyed this! It kept me on the edge of my seat and it was a really interesting perspective on war.
Reply
:iconsedentaryperipatetic:
SedentaryPeripatetic Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Critque it? Bloody hell this is all too good for me to be criquing. Fml. I like it too much. 
Reply
:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2015  Professional Writer
Thank you so much for the comment! I hope you like the rest -- some of which is even on the way! -- as much!
Reply
:iconforgottonjourney:
ForgottonJourney Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Why was the critique asking for raptor's?... is this something common in your writing, Madame?... Investigations to be made!
Reply
:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Professional Writer
Yes, it is my solemn duty to deliver as many raptors to the community as possible. And I have failed. :cry:
Reply
:iconforgottonjourney:
ForgottonJourney Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Not failed, no, rather you have not yet fully succeeded. KEEP UP DEM RAPTORS!!!
Reply
:iconikazon:
ikazon Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2015   Writer
I read this while I was flying, so I couldn't comment at the time, but I want more and I want it immediately. Harvarde is terrifying, but I'm fascinated by what he plans to do — and if he's got a plan B, should another opportunity for peace arise.
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:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015  Professional Writer
I am working on more as we speak! I'm trying to get a vague outline together first...that seems like the smart thing to do, right?
Reply
:iconikazon:
ikazon Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2015   Writer
Maybe! It kind of depends on the story you're telling and how you tell it, I think. For Nozaki, I just made a really basic, general list of scenes I knew needed to happen, and the novel sorta wrote itself from there. :lol:
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:iconarithenorseman:
AriTheNorseman Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015
I love the twist on human-elf relations in a postmodern setting! Definitely a world and people I'd like to know more about. Will there be more Eliana? :meow: (Also, pocket catapults are the best~)

Good luck on your move! It sounds both exciting and nerve-wracking. (And writing inspiration to vent the feelings?)
Reply
:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015  Professional Writer
I certainly hope there will be more! I have more written, but it needs tweaking...and filling in. I have a tendency to scene jump like mad! And I think mostly I write when I'm stressed as a form of extreme procrastination. If I'm writing, I'm still being productive, right?
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:iconarithenorseman:
AriTheNorseman Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015
Huzzah!

I do the same thing: procrastination isn't bad when you're still doing something productive~ Eventually the thing you're avoiding becomes something you do to avoid something else, so it all gets done in the end.
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:iconmemnalar:
Memnalar Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015
Good to see. 
Reply
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