Ch 1

Ch 1

A Chapter by Marmar

Ishtar and Cay's first day in Kapala, told from the perspective of Ishtar.




    When we got to the gate, we gave the guards the usual talk on how Cay, my older brother was a hired guard to protect me, a traveling dancer. I would have preferred to call him my brother, as he was, but when we first tried that a couple of years back, they wouldn't believe us and even accused our paperwork of being forged so we had to sneak in like a couple of bandits. Apparently city-dwellers think that the only siblings are the ones bound by genetics. Who knew?

    After we had been let through, we headed to a hotel in an area that was ruled by the warlocks. According to Raiju, each area was ruled by a different race, but all the areas had humans residing in them and the unwritten rule among the humans was that they owed their allegiance to whichever race was in charge of the area they were residing in. Even so, from experience, Cay and I have found that as the night gets longer and the drinks start flowing, even the most loyal human will start talking and where better to learn of warlocks than in Magi, the warlock sector of Kapala?

     After unpacking, we look at those timekeepers that city-dwellers call "clocks." I always wondered why they were so obsessed with knowing the exact minute and second of everything when the sun and stars are perfectly capable of helping us figure out the time, but to each his own, as the saying goes.

    It was about six pm. That meant we had about an ''hour'' (God it felt weird using city-dweller time) before all the clubs and bars opened up and about four hours until anyone would be drunk or high enough to give us any real info. Cay said, "Let's go down to get a meal." This was Cay-speak for "Let's eat and figure out how many places we'll be hitting tonight."


    At the break of dawn in our room, Cay said, "Not one word" in Nahuatl. It was the language that Tlapixqui, Cay's father's servant, had forced us to learn growing up. I hated the lessons as a kid, but now saw the use in speaking a language that few understand.

    Now, I might have agreed after the wild goose chase we had gone through and I was just as exhausted as he was, but he really should have known me better after all these years. So I said, "That was a bust." He glared and sparks started flashing around his hands so I said, "Save it, bro. That won't work on me." In the standard language, he said, "Just go to sleep." And now we were being watched by some paranoid warlocks, how lovely. What made it worse was that Cay picked up on it before me so I was never going to hear the end of it when we got rid of these spies.

     I actually decided to listen to him, but only because of the wild goose chase we had been on where no one had apparently heard of any young fire warlocks in the area. So I headed to my room. Before I fell asleep I told myself that it was only the first day and we were sure to have some clue tomorrow or at the very least throw off the warlocks spying on us by doing what our papers say we were here to do.

    The next day, I changed out of my travelling dress, pants, and shoes into a white dancer's skirt with a blue belt that had a trail of fabric down the center. And a blue top with my left shoulder and belly exposed. On my left shoulder I put on two arm bands. On my ankles I put on circlets that jingled when I moved. I pinned a light blue shawl on my head letting my golden hair fall over my shoulders, but covering it from the back. Finally, I put on my earnings (four in each year), belly-button piercing, and dancing sandals.

    Not a minute after I had put on my last earing, Cay was knocking on my door so I grabbed my sword and bag and put on my cloak over my clothes. When I opened the door, Cay said in Nahuatl, "From what I heard, most of the street performers head to 'The Square' which is the center of the city. Its neutral territory so no one should bother us with our papers." I said, "Cool it. First food, then work.'' Cay said, "Of course."

      After we ate a quick breakfast from the hotel, I put on my makeup in the hotel bathroom and we headed to "The Square." When we got there I spotted some musicians playing some old Arabian tunes to the side so I went up to them and said, "Hey, I'm a travelling dancer and this here is my guard, would you play and I'll dance and after we’ll split the money 50-50?" They discussed it among themselves for a couple minutes then the one playing the oud said, "We'll play one song and if you're good then we'll continue.'' I replied, "fair enough."

     Cay took my cloak and bag before he stood off to the side and then the music started. I recognized it as one of the songs that Isabella had first taught me to dance to. She said it was an old song that would be ancient to the people who lived before the war. It was sad so I thought a sword dance would be good for it. After that, I lost myself to the music and the dance. A twist and a turn there. When I danced, it felt as if the whole world had ceased being except for my movements and the music.

    After the first song, they did not stop me and we had begun to gather a crowd. We continued like that until midday and then all of us decided to have a break for lunch. The musicians invited us for a meal on their mat. One of them disappeared to make sure that there would be enough food and the man playing the oud said, "Sorry about earlier, but you understand that if you were bad, it would have been bad for business and there is not much work and I have my own reasons for being cautious. Nevertheless, today you have helped us. My name is Moustapha, on the tabla is my uncle Nour and the one going for the rest of the food is my brother Mikhail.'' After he passed us a card that read:

Music of Egypt's Past

For booking info please call


    I handed the card to Cay, in case it proved to be useful later. Moustafa said, "Now my friends, who might you call yourselves?'' Something in his eyes told me that we could trust him so I decided to tell him the truth. I said, "My name is Ishtar, but my friends call me Ish.'' Cay then responded, "If I told you my given name, you would not he able to pronounce it, but to my friends I am known as Cay.'' Soon after, Mikhail returned with our food and after we ate, the music started again.

    It was during the second song after our meal that I saw a girl running through a crowd while some warlocks were chasing her. At that time, the words of Sister Maria, one of the spirits who helped raise me, began to ring in my head. I could almost hear her saying, "Righteousness is not easy, but as the children of God, it is our pleasure to be able to be able to seek it out in all that we do.''

    So I did the sensible thing and tossed my sword so that it cut in between them and punched the one in the front before yelling, "Bro!" Immediately Cay took the girl and ran off. Before they could try following, I flipped the other and grabbed my sword just as one cast a fireball spell. After hitting the fireball with my sword so that it would bounce back to them, the one who I had punched said, "Interesting sword." I replied, "I haven't the faintest clue as to what you're implying. It's just an old family heirloom." The same warlock said, "Interesting. Men, we've lost the girl so let's bring this one in instead."

    It was at this point that I saw a group of twenty warlocks and witches catching up to the three who were here. I was strong, but these were warlocks and Cay said that I should at least try to not cause trouble. I decided to run in the opposite direction that Cay headed.

    For a while I thought that I would lose them, but when I turned into an alley, I realized five seconds too late that I had walked into a trap. Meeting me at the alley was a witch and warlock that looked like copies of each other. I managed to dodge the first time they tried to put a seal on me by backflipping. Not that it would have mattered if it hit, but that would have been a whole different set of problems. Then they both smiled and the girl said, "Brother I do believe that this is the first time that someone has successfully dodged our spells." The boy said, "Yes, how fun, sister."

        I thought, Why is it that I always get the crazy ones? I tried to look for an exit, but heard the footsteps of the trio from earlier sounded like they were getting closer. I thought, What I wouldn't give to be wearing my armor instead of this getup. I cartwheeled to avoid a purple blast and said, "What's a couple of Callisto warlocks doing bullying some street dancer. I thought this type of behavior was supposed to be beneath you and isn't this neutral territory." The boy said, "So you know who we are." Ishtar said, "I've heard some stuff." Mainly from Gael's nagging, but you two don't need to know that. This was also the reason why I had not summoned him to help me out. He would have nagged and gloated all while trying to force me to leave this godforsaken city. Also, since he hadn't forced his way here, I figured that things weren't too bad.

    While I was chatting , I didn't notice that the trio had caught up and didn't see the lightning blast that made everything turn black.

© 2015 Marmar

My Review

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I can tell quickly in the reading that you are enjoying writing into this world and that's an awesome thing, it reminds me a lot of some of my early work when I was still super passionate about my writing. I want to recommend some good techniques though that I think might help your readers along with following the story.

Try and imagine the sorts of assumptions that the reader has to make jumping into the story and the world. What can they expect about the language that the character uses? is it more or less the same language that we use? the same colloquialisms and turns of phrase? or is it peppered with examples of their own unique culture, their own personalities? stuff like that goes a long way to making your world seem real and tangible to the reader.

Language is only one example of course, there are lots of other aspects you can consider too, such as the presence of magic in your story; is it magic like we understand it? does it follow certain rules? who can use it and who cant? or technology; should we assume that, considering this is post-apocalypse, that everyone is aware of modern technology, or has it been reduced to myth? Cool stuff like that makes the world really pop in a readers head.

You should definitely keep working on this story and really fleshing out this neat world and its characters, I enjoy the mesh of different themes and aspects of fiction that you are melding into one big world. Keep at it!


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Added on September 1, 2015
Last Updated on September 1, 2015



Los Angeles, CA

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