The elemental ceremony

The elemental ceremony

A Chapter by Hailey Pippitt

Chapter 1 The elemental ceremony

“Hurry up we’re going to be late!” I huffed a bit while knocking on my best friend Tika’s bedroom door today was the annual elemental ceremony where the citizens of age finally get there elemental powers it only happens once at the end of every year and it’s a day that changes every 18 year olds life in the city Lithe forever we absolutely could not be late as the ceremony started in half an hour . I had come over to Tika’s house to get ready with her and to talk about our potential powers which we would soon be gifted with.

Tika flung open her brown bedroom door and ushered me inside. “God’s Rachel with how impatient you are sometimes I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up getting wind as your power you just want to go go go all the time.” She says the look on face clearly showing she’s irritated as her watery blue eyes glared at me a little.

I playfully glared back at her and and start to get ready I put on a light blue silk knee length colored dress that ties in back with a pair of white flats and curled my thick black hair putting on some light makeup all the people throughout the city are dressed in different colors based on their colony’s specific element. Blue for water elementals reds and yellows for fire elementals browns and blacks for earth elementals and gray for wind elementals. Every colony is in a different part of the city to insure that no there’s feuds or no dating among people who have different elements a few times this had almost led to all out war so I guess it was easier to have everyone segregated . I don’t think I have anything to worry about both parents are water elementals so it’s only natural to think I will be given these powers as well . I finish making myself look presentable and wait for Tika who is rummaging through her closet.

Tika puts on a gray simple cotton dress and gray flats to match she’s never been one to be flashy and it doesn’t help that some colonies are wealthier than others depending on the region since some elements are stronger and considered more useful than the others the people in those parts of the kingdom are given better jobs and that gives them the ability to generate more money for goods and luxuries unfortunately wind colony is not one of them. Wind colony gets by with bare minimum enough for survival due to the fact you can only you can do so much with it. Wind is mainly used as our mode of transportation sometimes power other than that it’s not used for much else.I personally think it’s a little unfair but that’s just the foundation the city was built on. The city’s laws were written years ago and I don’t think there ever going to change. Wind and earth have always been considered less than other elements and are heavily discriminated against .

Tika and I finished getting ready with about 20 minutes to spare. All the colonies walk to president Walker's mansion in unison and I spot my other childhood Xander in the crowd. All the citizens in lithe are required to attend the elemental ceremony because even if they already have their ability or aren’t of age the ceremony is considered a right of passage into adulthood a celebration to be witnessed. Considering some of the strongest and wealthiest people live in the city it brings shame upon families who don’t attend and is considered disrespectful. Xander is now a teacher to those who are learning to harness their abilities one of the youngest as well at just 19 years old. A master of elements doesn’t starting training others until they mastered their power for most people this takes about 13 years and show that their top of their class in their colony Xander mastered fire in two it's made him a prodigy of sorts and the president took notice .

I try to slow my quickening heartbeat when he glances over in my direction. Xander’s soft mossy eyes give me a look I can’t quite decipher, normally he’d look strong and confident but today he looked almost afraid as if he’s dreading what was going is happen. I’ve only seen him look this way one other time last year after the last elemental ceremony two strange looking adults had led him away from the rest of the group after he had found his element perhaps they knew there was something special about him. A year later he still hasn’t spoken about his experience every time I try to bring it up to him he shuts down.Tika notices him looking at me and smiles to herself I know what she’s thinking but I know better no matter how much we’re attracted to each other nothing can become of it, not only does he have a different element than I probably will but he also works under Walker and she would have me killed for breaking the law of pursuing a relationship with one of her teachers although no one knows the exact reason why that law was put in place.

I continue walking looking straight ahead while the hot afternoon sun beats down on me in full force. My feet moving at the same stiff pace as the rest of our townspeople beyond lithe lies the unknown and we’re forbidden to go anywhere outside city limits. I think our government wants us to know as little as possible to keep us from asking questions. Questions are dangerous asking the wrong ones can get you killed.

Everyone in town has an unspoken fear of president Walker those who have questioned her motives have ended up getting publicly executed, those who tried run end up losing a leg. Try escaping again you die. It’s the third law. No questions no escape. All around the older people of town have somber looks on their faces they know their children might not be with much longer and that their lives will continue to dictated by another person.

In the past I was outspoken about my curiosity surrounding our president and her backstory. Xander isn’t allowed to speak of any details of his job outside of work and he isn’t allowed to speak to Walker unless spoken to directly. I tried to look for Xander once again in the sea of people but I was unsuccessful. Minutes turned to what seemed like hours before we finally arrived at the mansion.

Tired after all the walking and nervous about what to expect I walked in with my fists at my sides knuckles turning white . I will not let my anxiety show. Fear has no place in our world you have to have the will to survive .

A person who I can only assume is a part of Walkers security separates us in smaller groups by three’s. Black leather suit possibly weapon proof combat boots , a helmet with a small microphone built in. The helmet has a visor you can’t see his face. A type of gun I’ve never seen before on his right side . The steps he took towards me tells he demands respect . The first one of the security team of about 30 or more we were going to see during our time here .

The guard grabs my arm roughly and leads me to front of the third group I quickly jerked arm back away from him and returned it to the side giving him the look of disapproval. The other kids in the group looked at me like I either insane or really brave, a few kids give me looks of admiration I’m guessing this guard wasn’t used to having to deal with very many people because he glares at me and heads to the front of the group turning to face us he begins to speak.

My name is commander Stokes he says in a booming deep voice, “I assume you know why you here.” “Today marks the 80th elemental ceremony and as such certain traditions will be carried out.” “President Walker has requested a personal audience with each one of our newest elementalist’s.” “I will give you a tour of the mansion and answer the questions I’m permitted to, after that you’re on your own.” I heard a few mummers throughout our small group quite frankly I was just as surprised as they were.

© 2019 Hailey Pippitt

Author's Note

Hailey Pippitt
What do you guys think of everything

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register


So, I have good news and bad news. But none of my news has to do with good or bad writing, talent, the plot, or your potential as a writer. But still, it matters a great deal, and represents a major problem that must be corrected—a problem that over 90% of hopeful writers like yourself are not aware of. And since you can’t fix the problem you don’t see as being one, I thought you’d want to know.

A good deal of the effect of the problem will become obvious if you have the computer read the text of the story aloud, so you hear it as the reader does, instead of treading it as you WANT the reader to hear it. That's an editing trick you should make use of, in any case.

Specifically, before you go on reading, stop and have the computer read your second paragraph to you, to hear what the reader gets, and how different that is from what you hear as you read:
- - - -
Tika flung open her brown bedroom door and ushered me inside. “God’s Rachel with how impatient you are sometimes I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up getting wind as your power you just want to go go go all the time.” She says the look on face clearly showing she’s irritated as her watery blue eyes glared at me a little.
- - - -

Aside from the obvious… since your approach is to explain the story events to the reader, there are several pitfalls that won’t be obvious to you, because you begin reading knowing the backstory and the characters, plus the your intent for the scene. You know HOW you want the reader to perform the story as they read. But the reader? They have no access to your intent, and must make-do with what your words suggest to them, based on their background, which won’t match yours.

1. The reader can’t hear or see the narrator, and so, doesn’t see the storyteller's expressions, their gestures or body-language. They can’t hear emotion in the narrator’s voice, either, nor the intensity and cadence changes that are such an important part of the performance. So, they're missing the all-important emotional aspect of the story.

In short: You can’t use the techniques of one medium in another, if it doesn’t support them.

2. Because you’re explaining the progression of events TO the reader, things that are obvious to you will be left out. And as you read, you fill in the necessary details because they’re in your mind. But the reader can’t, because they’re in YOUR mind.

3. In our school years, though we’re not aware of it, we learn writing skills useful to our future employers, and so, focus on writing reports and essays, nonfiction applications meant to inform. But fiction is a profession, and like all professions, is learned in addition to our schooldays knowledge. Did any of your teachers spend enough time on dialog tags, for example, to tell you that we drop the last period and replace it with a comma, and then, open the tag with a lower case letter? Of course not. Nor did they tell you that we use a quote to open dialog, and another to close it, not one pair per sentence.

The short version: Fiction, with its goal of making the reader feel as if they’re living the scene, not hearing about it, has a full set of techniques that parallel, but do not match the skills our schooldays gave us.

I know that’s absolutely horrible news, but it’s a surprise to pretty much every hopeful writer, so…welcome to the club. 🙄

With that in mind, let’s look at that paragraph you just had read to you and make things even worse by analyzing it from the viewpoint of a reader:

• Tika flung open her brown bedroom door

So she threw the door open, rather than simply opening it? Why, given that she doesn’t jump aside, or speak, but mildly “ushers” the speaker inside. You can see her, her expression, and her body-language, so your reaction to the video playing in your mind will be what you intend the reader to be But will it? The line that comes after, might clarify, but it's too late because you can't retroactively remove confusion.

Suppose you'd had her speak her line, AS she opened the door—which the door opening part of tag. Then, she didn't have to "fling" it open because the point has already been made.

And… Does a reader care what color a door they can’t see is, given that they don’t know where they are or what the place, and the people, look like. This may seem a small thing, but fiction on the page is serial, and every word you use takes time. So if you can remove a word that doesn’t move the plot, meaningfully set the scene, or develop character, it reads just a bit faster, and has a bit more impact. Remove a lot of unnecessary words, and sentences, and…

Bottom line: Writing fiction requires special knowledge and techniques, as does any other profession. And we no more learn them by reading fiction than we learn to cook by eating. And while such skills as punctuation and grammar are used, none of the skills of nonfiction are useful in fiction because with the goal of moving the reader emotionally, it requires its own specialized skill-set—one you can learn as easily as anyone else. But you must master them. After all, you, and everyone you know, have been reading only professionally prepared and written fiction since you learned to read. So while you don’t recognize the techniques in use, you expect the result of them. As Sol Stein observed, “Readers don’t notice point-of-view errors. They simply sense that the writing is bad.” And that means the writer must know what a viewpoint error is, and how to present it so as to pull the reader into the story, emotionally.

Does viewpoint—one of many issues—matter? I’ll let you decide after you look at this article:

In fact, you might want to look around in the other articles there. They’re meant to give a feel for the issues we must master.

So, are you doomed as a writer? Of course not. Everyone who has succeeded as a writer faced this, and didn’t let it stop them. And if you are meant to write, you’ll find the learning fun. So dig in. There are lots or resources available online, and endless books on the subject.

A really good, and gentle introduction to the field can be found in Debra Dixon’s, GMC: Goal Motivation & Conflict.

But whatever you do, don’t let this news throw you. Learning to write is like eating an elephant. You do it one bite at a time.

So hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 6 Months Ago

A great little read, very discriptive and well formed. Could use some more punctuation to break it up slightly, but other than that I found it quite captivating. Nice writing hope to see another chapter

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


2 Reviews
Added on April 24, 2019
Last Updated on April 24, 2019


Hailey Pippitt
Hailey Pippitt

Cottage Grove , OR

I’m 18 almost 19 and have spastic Cerebral palsy. I love to write and share my writing with people. I also love to read and I volunteer at a nursing home and library where I do reviews on books .. more..