NaNoWriMo 2019 Chapter 6
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 recommend checking out a different category like Short Stories.
~Chapter 6 Nolan’s ‘Day Off’~
The guild library is on the third floor, made out of a clever combination of two rooms at the end of the corridor and a chunk of the corridor itself. After a brief overview of how the books in the library are organised, Nolan sets a up a ladder under one of the ceiling lights.
“Feel free to read anything that interests you. Sensitive documents are kept in the office so there isn’t anything in here that is off limits,” Nolan says.
She wonders through the shelves, also cleverly arranged to cram as many books in the library as possible without overcrowding the space. She skims through the titles of the books, which comes in all colours and sizes covering a wide variety of topics.
“How did you join Shatterstrike?” she asks out loud, her conversation with Lucy still lingering on her mind.
“I started as Corvus’ handyman. When Corvus first bought this building, it was an old derelict thing. The previous guild had scattered after their leader died in battle and the place was left to rot until Corvus asked for it. He bought the place at a good price, but also a lot of work.
“He hired me at first for the smaller tasks he couldn’t handle at first, then bigger and bigger tasks until he hired me to work full time on restoring this building. I’ve watched him build his guild up from just himself until the team he has today.”
Nolan releases a self-depreciating chuckle.
“I’ve been here a long time. Wow I feel old. Especially with youngsters like Lucy running around.”
“How long have you been here?” she asks.
“Almost a decade. Longer than a lot of these kids have been waving their emphatic weapons around,” Nolan says.
“Do you have an emphatic weapon?” she asks.
“I do. Want to take a guess?”
“Do I get any clues?” she asks.
“It’s not something that people usually think of when they think of ‘weapons’,” Nolan says, “That’s all I’m going to give you. You are free to ask more questions but I’m only going to answer with yes or no.”
She studies the purple-eyed man, looking for the green crest that Lucy’s and Derek’s emphatic weapons share. But the clothes Nolan wears are plain, and other than a belt to keep his tools on hand and save him the trip up and down the ladder, nothing stands out.
“Do you have your emphatic weapon with you now?” she asks.
“Is it your belt?”
“Is it something you wear?”
“Is it a type of jewellery?” she asks, thinking of Lucy’s necklace.
“Is it a type of clothing?” she asks, thinking of Derek’s single glove.
“Is it big?”
“Not normally, but can get quite big if I want it to.”
That’s a clue, but she remembers now that emphatic weapons have different forms when they are in use and when they aren’t in use. She doesn’t know which is being referred to here, or maybe it’s both?
“Is it big when you’re not using it?” she asks.
“What do you consider to be big?” he asks.
Both Lucy’s and Derek’s emphatic weapons will fit into her hand when they are inactive.
“Bigger than my palm.”
Nolan looks down. She presents her hand for his inspection.
“Yes,” he says.
She scans him from top to bottom. No hat. No glasses, or any other accessories that she can see of on his upper body.
“Is it your gloves?” she tries.
“No. These are normal gloves to protect my hands while I work.”
Nolan climbs down the ladder and picks it up. As he moves to the next light, she follows.
“Shoes?” She switches and goes from bottom to top instead.
“No. Same as the gloves. These are normal work boots.”
The rest of his outfit looks normal, but Nolan said that he’s wearing his emphatic weapon now. What is she missing?
Nolan reaches up towards the ceiling light. She catches a black shadow under his jacket.
“Close, but no.”
“Yes. You got it.” Nolan rolls his shoulders so his jacket shifts enough to reveal a black sleeveless vest underneath. She doesn’t see the green crest anywhere.
“What ability does your emphatic weapon have?” she asks.
“I’m still finding out more and more things it can do, but my emphatic weapon’s main ability is flight. I haven’t told you about how I transitioned from being Corvus’ handyman to becoming one of his team of hunters, have I?”
“Not yet,” she says.
“It was when we were fixing the roof. Or tying to. You can imagine how scary it is to try and work on the roof when you’re three stories off the ground. One slip and.” Nolan pops his lips. “You’re gone.”
A shudder runs up her spine. Yes. She can imagine it.
“We were looking up at the roof, or more accurately, through the roof. It had holes everywhere, so you could see the sky without even trying. Then Corvus turned to me and asked if I wanted an emphatic weapon.
“I’m not much of a fighter, but there isn’t anyone who doesn’t fantasise about having their own emphatic weapon. So I said yes. And this is just my theory, but I think Corvus knew exactly what kind of emphatic weapon I would get, because very soon after he gave one to me, it turned into this vest that can make me fly. The perfect solution to our concerns with fixing the roof. What a happy coincidence, right?”
She chuckles. “Yes. What a coincidence.”
After Nolan is done changing the ceiling lights, he takes her to a third set of stairs leading up to the roof. When he sheds his jacket, she finds the green crest on his back, exactly the same as the one on Lucy’s and Derek’s emphatic weapons.
Nolan steps through the door first. The green crest on his back glows, and wings of green light spread out behind him. He offers her a hand.
“Safety first. Don’t want to lose you after you finally woke up,” Nolan says with a wry smile.
The view she finds on the roof makes her gasp. Shatterstrike’s hall isn’t the tallest building in the area, but it’s tall enough to give her a bird eye’s view of the populated city on one side and the vast clear land on the other.
“Hunting guilds like us are usually at the borders of the city. It puts us in between the city and the tears, so it’s more convenient for us to do our job and doubles as a defence point if we need it. Our tear is somewhere over there,” Nolan says and points behind the guild hall. “It’s a small one. Not a lot of monsters come through, so it’s enough for even a small guild like us to handle. Most of the bigger tears are further up North. Those need constant sentries, so the larger guilds take care of them.”
“What are tears?” she asks.
“Tears in the world. Some people call them portals. They look like someone literally tore a slice in the air. They connect to a monster world on the other side. We have scouts whose job is to infiltrate and find out more about the other side. What they say is that it’s a ruthless place, and our world is a very attractive place for them, which is why they keep trying to force their way through. If you ever come across a tear, get away from it and stay alert.”
Nolan moves on to point out some landmarks, including the red mountains she has heard Lucy mention before. But the mountains don’t look red at all.
“Wait until the sun goes down. You’ll see why we call them the red mountains,” Nolan says.
The sun won’t set for a few hours yet, so they head back into the building. Nolan still has other tasks he wants to do on his ‘off day’, but is happy for her to tag along. He even makes the time to help her properly display the mowglet tooth Lucy got her and set up a spare mirror on her table from one of the unused rooms. Now she’ll be able to see what Lucy does as the green-eyed girl ties her hair in the mornings.
Without realising it, the day is almost over. Nolan taps her on the shoulder and points her to a window. Following his lead, she walks up to the window and looks out.
The red mountains, which was definitely not red when she saw them from the roof earlier today, is now a rich fire red from the setting sun.
“Thank you, Nolan. I’ve had a great day,” she says.
The purple-eyed man smiles. “It was my pleasure.”
~End Chapter 6~
Continue the story in Chapter 7.
Chapter word count: 1480
Total word count: 8737