NaNoWriMo 2019 Chapter 3
Disclaimer: This is a NaNoWriMo attempt where quantity trumps quality. This will also be a long piece, so if you’re looking for a quick read, I would recommend checking out a different category like Short Stories.
~Chapter 3 Meet the Guild~
After lunch, Lucy gives her a tour of the place. It’s their guild hall, large enough to fit twenty people comfortably, which is double the space they really need. Hence the many storerooms. The building spans three stories. Shared living spaces on the ground floor, private rooms on the second, with storage and other miscellaneous rooms on the third floor.
The tour ends before they reach the third floor when Anastasia has to stop for breath at the foot of the stairs connecting the second and third floors.
“I’m sorry. I forgot you just woke up,” Lucy says as she flutters anxiously around her.
“It’s not your fault. I should have said something earlier,” she says and tries to wave Lucy’s concern away.
They stay at the staircase until Anastasia gathers enough energy to make it back to her room. Then it’s a straight line to the bed and a nap to recover her strength.
The next time she wakes, the light outside has dimmed, and for the first time, there isn’t anyone sitting by her bed. She hears the sound of people’s voices downstairs, so that’s where she goes, following the voices down to the dining room.
She freezes the moment she turns the corner.
Since she woke up, she had only interacted with Julia and Lucy, and often only with one of them at the time.
This isn’t just Julia and Lucy. This is… she does a quick head count… nine people. Seven new faces. That’s a lot of new people to meet at once.
“Hey, Anastasia. You’re up!” Lucy calls out with a wave from one end of the table.
That draws everyone’s attention to her, and she suddenly has eighteen eyes all on her.
“Hi,” she greets everyone and fights the desire to make an excuse so that she could return to her room, her one familiar space.
“Don’t just stand there. Come here,” Lucy says and waves her over. She takes the cue and crosses the distance between them. At the table, people shift around and an empty seat opens up for her. She feels a swell of gratitude for the unspoken act of kindness this group of strangers offers to her.
“How do you feel?” Julia asks from the other end of the table.
“Much better,” she says, raising her voice a little so that it carries across the distance.
The rest of the table watches their conversation with open curiosity. The weight of their gaze makes her reach for her braid as a comforting anchor.
“Let’s do self introductions,” Lucy declares, cutting through the rising tension.
As one, the table turns to the man at the head of the table. He nods.
“That’s a good idea. We’ll go clockwise. Julia, let’s start with you,” he says.
“Hi, I’m Julia. We’ve already met,” Julia says with a smile.
“Fletcher,” says the man on Julia’s left with a wave, “Nice to meet you.”
“Fletcher has the ears of a bat. He can hear someone whispering behind his back all the way from a different room. So don’t bother trying to sneak past. Been there, done that, got caught straight away,” Lucy said as she braided her hair.
“Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Nolan,” says the man beside Fletcher.
“This one time, I was helping Nolan in the garden and I accidentally pulled the herbs instead of the weeds out. Nolan has never let me help with the gardening ever since. Which I think is a win for both of us.”
“Derek here,” the man on Nolan’s left says with a raised palm.
She remembers a simple but delicious lunch she just had earlier the same day.
“I had your porridge. It was delicious,” she says.
“Thank you,” Derek says with a smile, “It’s a simple meal to make. Feel free to let me know whenever you want something to eat.”
She smiles. “Thank you.”
“Hi, I’m Jessica,” says the woman beside him.
“Jessica is super nice. Until you try to take her meat. But fish is fine, because fish doesn’t count as meat. Don’t look at me like that. I don’t understand it either,” Lucy said with a shrug.
“Hi Jessica,” she says and tries very hard not to blurt out ‘meat person’.
Across the table and on her left, Lucy waves. “You already know me. I’m Lucy!”
“Hi Lucy,” she says with a smile.
It’s her turn next. Do they know about her amnesia? Even if they don’t is now the right time to explain? The self introductions have been quick and minimal. She’ll take her cue from that.
She looks around the table. “Hi, I’m Anastasia. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you.” “Hi Anastasia.” “Hello.” She receives a chaotic collection of replies.
After her is the man on her left.
“I’m Alex. You can call me Lex. Everyone does.”
“I’ve seen Lex snipe a fly off the wall all the way across the room. He didn’t even need to aim. Just pew pew,” Lucy said and fired her finger guns, “He’s also blind in one eye. I don’t know how that works.”
“I’m Reuben,” says the man next to him.
“Reuben an Estella are magic. They can make money.” Lucy snapped her fingers. “Just like that. Estella’s better at it. But… she’s not here anymore.”
The man at the head of the table speaks next. “I’m Corvus. I was the one who brought you here to Shatterstrike. While you recover and get your bearings, our home is open to you. Don’t be afraid to ask us for help.”
Her eyes sting. She dips her head and all she can say through her suddenly tight throat is, “Thank you.”
Corvus nods. “It’s our pleasure. Now, let’s eat.”
Helping hands fill her plate with food. She tries her best to assign the right names to the right people out of all the information swimming in her head. Lucy’s many comments throughout their time together is a boon. The talkative girl has dropped plenty of nuggets of information. She just needs to match the information to the right faces.
Although she is new, the group takes great care to include her in their conversations. It is a warm and welcoming dinner, and she finds herself grateful, again and again.
Her memories are still missing, she still feels lost, but this is a great place to be while she finds herself again, or recreate herself anew.
~End of Chapter 3~
Continue the story in Chapter 4.
Chapter word count: 1081
Total word count: 3382