Wednesday, January 25, 2012

B is for Book

This one is about Avery, who is a secondary character in Sword's Call. Once again, I'm writing about when one of my characters is a child (or close to it Cera is 15 in "A is for Ash"). No reason for that,except that it's so darn fun. Avery is about ten here, so it would place this short about 7 years before the book.

(I don't want to steer anyone wrong. Cera is an adult in Sword's Call and it's not a YA book. It's just how both the shorts so far came out of my head. Not all of them are this way, promise. As a reminder, there is a blurb for Sword's Call two posts below this one)                           
             Avery didn’t have a brave bone in his body. He was forever getting beaten up by the other children, unless his cousin Cera was visiting from Greenwald. And Cera was a girl. How pathetic was it that a girl had to save him all the time? Even though she was older than him.
            The other boys didn’t even care that Avery’s father was the Duke of Tarvis. But as soon as he trained his magic up, he was going to show them all.
            “Avery, concentrate.” He winced as his knuckles smarted from the rap they received along with his mother’s admonition. He met her gray eyes and one corner of her mouth lifted.
            “Sorry, Mother.” Her nod of acknowledgment was only a slight tilt of her head, but he took a deep breath and flashed a half-smile.
            “Say the spell again. This time slower. Annunciate, love.”
            He followed her instructions, concentrating so hard his brow wrinkled as the words exited his mouth, but the small book didn’t start to lift from the table and float in the air until his mother entwined her fingers with his and started to chant the spell, too.
            “Oh…I want to do it by myself!” The book crashed to the table top and several pieces of parchment scattered. One floated to the floor.
            “Avery.” His mother’s voice was calm. “That will come. You need to concentrate completely. Shouting will get you nowhere, my son.”
            “But Ma…you don’t need my help to lift the book, light the fire, get a vision…anything.” He pulled his hand out of hers and crossed his small arms over his chest. His mother laughed and he scowled.
            “Love, I have been at this much longer than you. Since I was your age, actually.”
            “You have to start somewhere. Magic doesn’t just appear. You have to train your gifts.”
            “I want to.”
            “You have to work harder than this.” Her smile was kind but Avery sighed. “You’re frustrated. Perhaps we should stop for today.”
            “No.” His mother smiled again. He never had been able to ruffle her. She had tons of patience.
            “Then relax, and we shall try again.”
            Avery nodded and took a deep breath. He placed his smaller hand in his mother’s as she reached for him, and together they began to chant the spell words.
            He grinned as the book rose, but it wavered and his mother squeezed his hand in warning. He reordered his focus.
            Sweat broke out on his forehead as he formed the picture of the book rising higher in his mind. It wiggled in the air as his mother pulled her hand free of his but Avery willed it to remain there, hovering about a foot above the table in his school room.
            The book held steady. Until he tried to open it with his mind.
            “Ohhhh…” he complained as it crashed to the hard surface again.
            “What happened?”
            “I tried to open it.” His mother’s chuckle turned his frown into a small smile.
            “Too much too soon, my love.” She patted his forearm, then brushed an errant curl from his forehead. “But you did a fantastic job.”
            “I did?”
            “You lifted the book higher all on your own and held it steady. That is progress.”
            “When can I light a fire?” His mother laughed again, reaching for the book they’d been working with.
            “When I’m confident you won’t burn the castle down.” Avery made a face but accepted the book when she handed it to him.
            “What now?” he asked, catching her gaze.
            “Now you read that book.”
            “It’s a spell book, sweeting. Memorize some of the more basic ones and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
            “We’ve been working for several hours, love. You might not realize it now, but magic can exhaust you. You need to rest.” She pushed her chair back from the table as elegantly as a duchess should and ruffled his curls, but that didn’t cheer him up.
            Avery loved to read, but he wanted to try more magic. He looked down at the small book with its golden decorative scrollwork border on the cover. There was no title, nor was there one on the spine. He frowned.
            His head reared up when he opened the book. The elegant handwriting was feminine and very neat. He had no trouble recognizing it, although it was a bit different than how she wrote now. It was his mother’s handwriting.
            “Mother?” He met her gaze. Somehow her smile made her look much younger.
            “Please take care of that book, love.”
            “Is it yours?”
            “It was.”
            Her meaning was clear. The little book was now his. He caressed the cover before opening it again, his fingers dancing over the spell inked on the first page. Suddenly, he wanted to memorize all the spells in the book. He flashed his mother a grin.
            “I will care for the book.”
            “Thank you, Mother.” The slight tilt of her head was all the answer she gave, and then she was gone, but Avery didn’t miss the mistiness of her gray eyes.
            The little book meant alot to his mother, and it would mean the same to him. He read the first spell twice.
            That night, when his father tucked him into bed, a part of their nighttime ritual, he cradled the small book to his chest when the duke suggested placing it on the table next to his bed. Avery wouldn’t let the book out of his sight. His father just smiled and ruffled his hair.
            He put the book on his pillow when he was alone, staring at it before giving into a yawn and closing his eyes.
That night, he dreamt of lighting a fire…under the rear ends of the boys who always beat him up.
All rights reserved; copyright © C. A. Szarek. The text within may not be reproduced in whole or in part or distributed in any form whatsoever OR SOLD without first obtaining permission from the author.


  1. This is good Chrissy :) I like Avery. He gets frustrated and the want to succeed overcomes the want to give up. I feel like he is eager to prove himself and not rely on his cousin or his mother for help. A male of worth in the making!

  2. I love it! I want more...actually...I want it all!

  3. Thanx for the comments guys. Steph, I am glad you got that from him, at ten. He's really an overachiever!

  4. LOL at the ending :) This is great Chrissy!

  5. Love Avery! That little boy will make his parents proud! Good job Chrissy. I wish we have more :(

  6. What an interesting character. Love the humor.

  7. Thanx Sonia, Jen and Ruby! You guys make me smile. :)