Is this a good start on my fantasy book?
A woman stood, aged and tall, with graying black hair. She had dark eyes, and around her neck was a silver necklace with an obsidian pendant. The mist behind her cleared, revealing another old woman with pale almost-white hair and wide dark pink eyes. Around her neck was a pendant much like the other woman’s, but made of diamond. The mist was completely gone now. Behind the women was a river, sparkling blue in the sun. A waterfall flowed, graceful but deadly. Behind the waterfall was another woman, this time with a sapphire pendant, blue eyes, and blue-gray hair. She took her place beside the pink-eyed lady and stood, seemingly waiting for something. A wood materialized behind them, but no lady came. The three cried out and wept, their dears falling in to the crystal-clear river.
Saphra sat up in her bed, stricken by the dream. Who were these women? She had dreamt them many times before, but always a fourth woman, one with green eyes, brown hair, and an emerald pendant came out of the woods. She felt a kind of sadness for the fourth lady, but pushed it to the back of her mind and got ready for work. Work was in the crystal mines of Isador. All the people of her city, Maelin, joined in mining the crystal. Most of the stone was diamond, but every few years they found a sapphire, an emerald, or a ruby. The day Saphra was born her father had found a sapphire. Her mother had given her name to her for that reason.
The mines were under the Sark Mountains, which was south of The Capital. The mines were beautiful. Older men and women had carved steps and tunnels of diamond and rock. Every year the caves got bigger. The Capital sent traders every year to take the stone in exchange for food. The people cut crystals out of the walls with sharp, slim blades.
Saphra began to search for a good place to start mining. The first tunnel was the largest. After that it branched into two tunnels, and then those tunnels branched into three tunnels, and so on. Nobody really knew how far. A man, rater old, was hacking at the rock wall, along with a woman and a few children. Not here! She thought. She went to the 30th tunnel, then the 35th, the 40th, 45th, 50th. The 50th still had a few people in it, so she moved on in fives till she lost count. Was there that many? She went down some stairs, through a tunnel, down stairs, through another tunnel. She stopped to catch her breath. She was in a tunnel, smaller than most, about her height and twice her width. Along the far wall was a bucket for collecting diamonds and an ax. She picked these up and began hacking at the wall. Chunks of rock fell off, clattering on the cold stone floor. She reached a diamond, took it, and moved on. It became a pattern- hack take drop, hack take drop. Soon her pail was full. She knew she should’ve gone back up, but she wanted to get one more. Starting at the top and going downwards, she found nothing. At the corner now, she began once more. She hacked, stone fell, but she ignored it and the diamonds. Searching for some unknown thing, she must have been at it for hours. A deep hole stretched on the floor from wall to wall. It was about one hand deep, but she wasn’t finished yet; she started again, the ax ringing on the hard minerals. It went from one hand to two, three, and four. The hole was not rock anymore. It was pure, Clear diamond. Glinting in the middle was a black stone, polished till Saphra could see her reflection in it. It was not just another diamond, it was an obsidian stone attached to a finely crafted chain. Saphra almost fainted, she was so surprised. It was exactly like the gray-haired lady’s necklace. She tucked it into her sash, looked around and saw-nothing. Why had she not noticed that before? The caves were very dark at night and day. Everyone brought a lantern and a match to relight it. Once a boy had come into these tunnels without a light, and he was never seen again. Saphra was suddenly struck with fear. She rushed to the end of the room. Downward steps. She ran the other was, up the stairs, down a tunnel, upstairs again. She ran, not paying attention to where she was running, just running, running, running. It seemed like hours. Hours in the stifling black-dark. She was scare, tired, and alone. Her hands and arms ached from working, and her legs hurt from running. She stumbled and fell- onto grass. Grass! She could not think of anything more glorious. She stood up, looking into the sky. It was a dark blue canopy with shining stars and a silver sliver of a moon. She had never been so glad to see the moon. She sighed with relief. She could see her village from here, east of the mines. She made her way into the village, past the mountains, and past the road winding down to The Capital below. Her house soon came into sight. She knocked on the door, once, twice, three times. Her mother answered the door. “Saphra! Oh, Saphra.” Her mother carrying her to bed was the last thing she remembered before she drifted off.
Asked By: TIMOTHY SHAUN - 3/15/2011