Word Magic Option B: Titan Toes

Titan Toes Book - Word Magic

Welcome back for the second part of the Word Magic adventure.

If you missed last week, you can read the beginning of this adventure here.

Or, here’s a quick recap: You’re the King’s Word Keeper. This means you read every book there is and remember it for the King, but this also means you’re mute so you can’t use the magic that comes with reading the books. However, there’s an old librarian who has figured out that simply being around books gives her magic as well. You’re trying to find evidence of her magic when you come across books in her library that start disappearing. This is a sure sign she had word magic, but that it’s also unstable. You’ve decided to take a huge book called Titan Toes to show to the King as evidence.

Let’s see what happens next!

Word Magic Option B: Titan Toes

Although the book’s size will make it hard to carry, you decide to take Titan Toes because the magic in it might last long enough for you to reach the King before the book disappears. You slide your fingers under the heavy spine and pull it free of the shelf and the books sitting on top of it. As you fully take its weight, a tingling travels through your hands, up your arms, and into the rest of your body.

A silent gasp escapes your lips as the library whirls into a blur of colors and the floor shifts beneath your feet. You throw out a hand to brace yourself but the shelves don’t only look transparent, they feel like mist and you pass right through their wooden frames. And then the shelves, hardwood floor, and dusty smell of the library pages vanish.

You smell warm rocks and pine. Blinking several times, you sit up to adjust to new surroundings. The book is nowhere in sight but, if that wasn’t disturbing enough, you find yourself sitting amidst a jumble of rocks on the dry scree slope of a mountain. In the valley below, a forest swaths the ground in a frosting of green. The world feels…off, but you can’t quite put a word to why.

You stand and head down the slope toward the forest, hoping to figure out where the crazy crone has landed you with her unstable magic. It’s surprisingly easy going but as you draw nearer the pines, a sick feeling churns in your stomach. The forest, now that you’re close enough to see individual trunks, only comes up to your stomach in the same way a field of wheat would tickle your wrists. As you’re staring at this disturbing sight, the tree tops sway and crack against each other and then two dark brown heads appear from the foliage.

“Dang it, Ben,” one giant boy says as he crawls free of the forest, “we’ve been caught.”

“Caught? Who caught us?” Ben looks up from his hands and knees and frowns. “I’ve never seen you before.”

Sitting, the tops of the boy’s heads are below the crown of the trees. As they wait for your answer, you take in their dirt crusted knees and cracked finger nails. They seem rough, but there’s a directness about their expressions. You can’t speak, so you step forward and sit down with them. You shrug with your hands out in front of you to show you’ve got nothing threatening. They eye you with open curiosity but then Ben glances at the sky.

“It’ll be dark soon, Miles,” he says. “Let’s get to the cave and we’ll talk there.”

They lead you back up the scree slope to a cave on the far side. Only once you enter the cave do you see the cold fire pit laid out with unburned wood and two packs leaning against the wall.

“We’re escaping.” Ben motions to the packs. “Our matriarch has gone bonkers. It’s time to live elsewhere.”

“Ben,” Miles calls, “did you pack the flint kit?”

“It’s in the top of my pack,” Ben answers.

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

“It’s not here. Did you put it under your clothing?” Miles starts to empty one of the packs with socks and shirts hitting the floor, but as they’re talking, you approach the cold fire. For a moment, one of the logs looked like it had words written across it. You flip the log over, thinking you saw the word fire, and a spark flares from your fingers into the wood.

With a startled grunt, you fall back on your rump and watch the flames take hold.

“Wow!” Miles says. “How’d you do that?”

Curious yourself, you touch one of the yet unlit logs and think ‘fire.’ This time, you see the ink beneath your skin twirl around into the word ‘fire.’ It flows out of your fingertip into the log as a spark of flame and the dry wood whooshes alight.

“Super cool,” Ben says.

A part of you agrees, but there’s another part that knows this is a terrible sign. As far as you can figure, there’s only one way you can actually do magic without speaking, and that’s if you’re in a world created by word magic, which means you’re inside something molded by the crone’s unstable power.

What happens if the book disappears with you inside it? How do you escape it? You’ve only ever heard stories about this that are told to scare people out of attempting to create their own word worlds.

“Hey,” Ben taps your arm and you blink out of your worried stare. “You want to escape with us? We’re headed out of the Titan lands by way of the pass tomorrow.”

Would that get you out of the book? Maybe. If you pass beyond the borders of what the crone created, it might land you back in the library.

Then again, some of the stories talk about a key required to escape a word world, and the most likely location for such a key would be with the giant’s matriarch.

Do you…

Bb. Go to see the Matriarch?

Or

Bc. Escape with the Boys?

Thank you for joining the adventure this week. Leave your vote in the comments below and we’ll return next week to see how this adventure continues =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

(If you liked this story and are interested in more adventures, you can find my book, The Adventure, on Amazon.)

Word Magic

Contract - Set Up Adventure and Word Magic Adventure

Hello amazing readers! It was not my intention to take January off along with December, but in hind’s sight, I should have known it was going to happen due to continuing editing on Quaking Soul.

Regardless, I’m back for a bit with a brand new Adventure for 2020 that I’m super excited to share! Let’s dig in and see how this one starts.

Word Magic

The Librarian, a cane-yielding old woman, shuffles up and down the shelves cackling to herself. Besides her, there’s no one in the library. (Except you, of course, but she doesn’t know you’re there.) There never is anyone anymore, but every day she wanders the stacks, keeping track of every precious title. At one time the town magistrate told her the books belonged to her. She took that to heart.

Some shelves have chains bolted in front of the spines. This wouldn’t be a problem except they’re ship’s anchor chains that are a couple feet long and a foot wide. The titles can be read through the chain links, but good luck slipping a book through the metal.

StocksOther shelves have glass doors. Again, the titles can be read, but there’s no way to open the glass without breaking it. There’s a story of one man who tried. He was fined for destruction of property and thrown into the stocks for a few days.

Most residents have long since given up using the library, but you’re the King’s Word Keeper, and you’re starting to believe the old crone has darker reasons for her hoarding.

Written words have a magic all their own. You’re a walking testament to that as the ink of letters swirls beneath your skin from your hours reading for the King. He’s charged you with preserving the books, and their magic, by reading them and never forgetting them, but he safeguards that power by making your mute. It ebbs and flows within you, growing with each book, but cannot be used without speaking aloud. In fact, anyone who reads too much ends up unable to speak.

There’s a seldom known workaround if someone’s sly, however. Most people visit a library, read a book that gives them a tidbit of magic, and then they leave, never realizing what truly happened. But if someone spends oodles of time near the books without reading them, she absorbs their power without triggering the King’s safeguard. Librarian positions are for a year only to prevent this from happening. Somehow, the old crone in this out-of-the-way village slipped through the cracks and has held her position for several years now.

You slipped into the library today to see if you could spot any telltale signs of the crone absorbing too much word magic. Usually the first indication is ink that pools in the fingertips. Once it sits there long enough, that ink whirls into letters and words that move across the person’s skin.

CaneYou spot the crone heading toward the back wall holding a leather-bound book no bigger than her hand. She’s cackling up a storm and there’s an actual swing to her step despite her cane. Ahead, she turns into an isle on the right, but when you reach the spot, she’s not in sight. About to continue on, you pause at the sign over one of the shelves. It’s a simple, “Do Not Touch” hanging from a gold chain. It’s not an anchor chain or glass cage, just a sign. Now why would she post such a sign in a library no one visits?

Beneath the “Do Not Touch” are a dozen odd-sized books.

They’re leather bound with gold inlay. One sits on the shelf sideways because it won’t fit standing up. It’s so tall that in your hand, it’d reach the top of your head if you held it at your waist.

The book placed on top of it must be the one the crone was carrying a moment earlier. It’s standing upright but, despite the loss of the space from the book beneath, it still doesn’t touch the shelf above. If you opened it, it’d be no bigger than your hand.

A third book reaches the depth of the shelf standing up, but is barely an inch tall. It reminds you of the inch by inch cane the librarian uses.

With a glance around to make sure she’s nowhere in sight, you lean closer to read the titles.

The hand sized spine boasts “The Land of Nothings” in tiny letters. Beneath it, the giant book says “Titan Toes“ and the inch by inch book is the “Flat Dimension.”

As you reach out a curious finger to trace this last title, the book grows hazy. It disappears while you’re frowning at it. Even as you stand there, flabbergasted, two more lose definition and disappear. What has the librarian gotten herself into? These books show magic but apparently it’s unstable. You need to take one back to the King so he can determine if the crone is a threat.

Although “Titan Toes” is bigger and harder to carry, its power might last longer so you can show the King.

Then again, it would be a great deal easier to carry “The Land of Nothings.”

Do you pick:

A. The Land of Nothings?

Or

B. Titan Toes?

Thank you for joining in this new adventure. To participate, leave your vote in the comments below for how you’d like to proceed. Next Thursday we’ll return to see how the story continues. This adventure will run with three more posts, so be sure to check back for the next choice you get to make!

Blessings,

Jennifer

(If you liked this story and are interested in more adventures, you can find my book, The Adventure, on Amazon.)

Crystal Pit of Time Option A: Pitch the Coin

Clock - Crystal Pit of Time

It’s time to see what happens when you pitch the coin clock the king gave you. Let’s hope you don’t need it later!

If you’re just checking into this adventure, here’s a quick overview of what’s happened so far:

You were caught steeling bread. The king sentenced you to seven days in the crystal pits and gave you a tiny coin clock that counts down your sentence. It’s unlikely you’ll survive the pits alone, so when you meet a strange young man who sounds old, you hope he can help you survive, but he tells you to pitch the small clock before following him. Reader’s voted to pitch the clock instead of hiding it. (If you’d like to read the beginning, click here.)

Now, let’s continue!

Crystal Pit of Time Option A: Pitch the Coin

Crystal Pit of Time AdventureOver the scrap of the man’s peg leg, you can hear the ticking of the little coin clock as you hold it on your palm. There’s a reluctance to toss it in the middle of your belly, but the strange man isn’t waiting for you to follow, and he’s likely your best way to survive the pits.

You pitch the coin back down the tunnel and it pings off the white stone wall. Then you hurry to follow the sscrraappp of the man’s peg leg. Just as you catch up, the pit shudders. You brace a hand on the wall.

“Earth quake?” you ask, surprised because you’ve never experienced one before.

The man scoffs. “Pit worm,” he says.

The pit gives another heave and then, from the tunnel you just left, there’s a thud and a gust of dry dust whooshes toward you.

“Pit worm?” you cough as an odd rush of warmth travels through your body. When the dust dissipates, you see the man covered his nose and mouth with a handkerchief.

“They’re smart,” he taps his wooden leg, “and dangerous. They’ve figured out that there’s usually a tasty human carrying that lovely ticking device.”

A cold shiver travels down your spine as you realize the pit worm just ate the small coin clock.

“Come on,” the young-looking old man says, “come meet the others.”

You follow him through another open part of the pits, instantly becoming drenched in sweat as the sun bakes onto your skin, and then beyond into a deeper cavern that doesn’t open into another pit, but sinks into the ground into a tunnel at the far end. After leaving the scorching sun behind, the sweat chills on your body and you shiver again.

The man doesn’t even pause as it grows darker. You steady yourself on the wall and follow the sound of his leg scratching against the floor. There’s a thud, and then light floods the tunnel to reveal the heavy metal door the man just opened.

“Andrew,” a woman’s voice calls in greeting, “did you find the new comer?”

“Sure did,” Andrew answers as he encourages you to enter with him.

Crystal Pit of Time AdventureBeyond the door, you stop in surprise. It’s a large house of sorts. Over a dozen people sit at a long table in the center of the room. Just past them is a kitchen with a metal vent pipe jutting into the ceiling for the cook fire below. A large cauldron bubbles over that fire with what looks like porridge.

Around the walls hang drapes obscuring the entrances into several other rooms. You wonder if these are where the people sleep.

“Come,” the woman who first spoke jumps up, grabs two wooden bowls and slops some breakfast into them. She sets them on the table for you and Andrew and everyone slides down the long bench to make room for the two of you to join them.

Your stomach rumbles as you rack your brain for the last time you ate. It’s then you realize the bread that landed you in the pits was your last meal.

“Where’d you visit in the library?” the woman asks.

You look at her in surprise as everyone pauses to hear your answer.

“Everyone here was sentenced to the pits the same day they visited the library,” Andrew explains. “Lily’s got a theory about it. She’s been narrowing down what subjects the king doesn’t want people to study.”

“I didn’t even pull out a book,” you admit. “I just wanted out of the rain.”

Lily waves that away with a hand. “Doesn’t matter. What area did you hang out in?”

Leaning back, you picture the shelves that surrounded you that day in the stacks. With the rain, the smell of moisture and old dust had been particularly strong while you wandered.

“Science and history for a little bit but then one of the librarians rolled in with a cart and shooed me out since I was dripping water,” you say. “I wandered farther back. There was the modern technology section, mathematics, and then I think ancient technology and magics.”

“Hah!” Lily slams her palm against the table. “There it is again! We need to go look, Andrew.”

“Look?” you ask around the bite you just took. Although the flavor of the porridge is rather bland, your mouth waters with excitement over having something to eat.

Andrew rests his arms on the table with a long sigh. This is clearly not the first time they’ve discussed this.

“We have access to the city,” Andrew says in explanation, for the moment ignoring Lily. “We can get into the library but it’s risky. Lily here thinks there’s a link between the king’s clock, that big one on the wall that spins out of whack, and our coin clocks, and the answer might be in the ancient technology and magics section of the library.”

You frown. “Why do you think there’s a connection?”

“Guess how old Andrew is?” Lily bursts in.

“Umm,” you stall. Andrew’s voice always warbles like an old man’s but his face is still young. There’s just the hint of wrinkles at the corners of his eyes but they’re developing, not deep. But now that you can clearly see him, you can also see his hands, which look as papery as the king’s did. “I’ve no idea,” you admit.

“He’s twenty eight,” Lily says, unable to wait for Andrew to fill you in.

Andrew holds up his weathered hands. “This was the first sign,” he says, “that something was happening. I held onto my coin clock for the first year of my sentence, avoiding the worms by shear luck at first, and then by the tremors of their digging. I finally figured out how they were following me and tossed the clock. As soon as I did, my accelerated aging stopped.”

“He warned us,” Lily gestured around the table, “so most of us don’t show the same wear he does.”

The porridge in your mouth suddenly tastes bitter. You gulp it down.

Library - Crystal Pit of Time Adventure“You want to figure out what happened by getting into the library?” you ask with a motion of your spoon at Andrew’s hands.

“I say,” another man farther down the table speaks up, “that we sneak into the throne room instead. I’d like to get that giant clock off the wall and take a look at it. We know for certain it’s connected to our coin clocks because Lily saw the king pull her coin out of the bottom of it.”

“But how does it work, Simon?” Lily asks the man. This is clearly another discussion they’ve all been over before. “Just looking at the clocks probably won’t tell us.”

“Looking at books might not tell us either. We don’t even know what book we’re looking for,” Simon counters.

“What do you think?” Andrew asks you. “It’s been a while since any of us have snuck into the city. Perhaps your recent time there could help.”

They all look at you where you froze with the spoon half way to your mouth. You take the bite of porridge to give you a second to consider.

Do you…

Aa. Sneak into the throne room?

Or

Ab. Sneak into the library?

In the comments, vote for how you’d like to proceed. We’ll be back next Thursday to continue this adventure.

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer

The Adventure Kickstarter Starts Soon!

(Update: Now that the Kickstarter has launched, you can go here to check it out=)

My sister tells me I should do one scary thing a day. This might be my scary thing for the next year!

This Thursday, a 30 day Kickstarter starts for The Adventure book.

But anything worthwhile is difficult and scary and rewarding all bundled into a tight ball. The more rewarding something is, the scarier it usually is to accomplish.

As many of you know, reading was difficult for me as a child. It took until 7th grade until it actually clicked. They tested me for all sorts of reading problems, but never figured out why this one thing was such a struggle. I still don’t know why.

When my brain finally decided reading was okay, a whole new world opened up for me. I went from a third grade reading level to post grad in about a year. Like a sponge, I couldn’t find enough to read. The Choose Your Own Adventure stories grabbed my attention because there was so much to explore in them. Although the stories were short, the detail to each ending, the possibilities to be found fascinated me.

Perhaps this is why storytelling is so special to me. It opens worlds of magic. It builds imagination and adds a certain splendor to the world.

I’d love to add to that magic, add to the wonder that exists in the world. As we’ve discussed, drawing isn’t an option for me, but writing is! And I’d love to encourage young readers to enjoy that world of magic too. (The Adventure is a 5-6th grade reading level.)

So if you’d like to join me in this journey, stop by Thursday and see what the Kickstarter is all about. I look forward to sharing with you!

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Adventure Kickstarter Image