The Map Room

Here you will find the full synopsis and an excerpt for The Map Room

My Muse for Sebatian – Image Borrowed. This image was so important because Sebastian remains almost exactly as drawn here, with only a few additions to his appearance. I thank the creator for having such vision.

Synopsis

(Please note: This synopsis isn’t exact, the story has changed through the writing)

Fourteen year old Samra wants to investigate the phenomenon that is on every map she has ever seen, yet no one seems to know a thing about. There are Dragons in the North.

Samra was born in a desert kingdom and knows nothing of forests and mountains. The highest landmark she’s seen are the Date Palms that stretch their branches to the sky and the shifting dunes that move with the wind.

Samra decides she doesn’t need to stay home, especially as everyone seems to be lying to her. And they have her grubby little brother as heir to the throne, they don’t need her anyway.

She convinces Sebastian – a wily goblin who she bargains with to accompany him to the North, near to where he himself is from, in the Northwest. Sebastian, Samra learns is over two hundred years old, even though he looks like a child of ten, and he is a learned elder amongst his people.

Along the road, They meet up with Godfrey.  He’s clumsy, ungainly and falls over his own two feet. He can barely swing a sword without getting it caught in an article of his clothing, often looking like he’s about to decapitate himself.

In the Map room, all the maps that have ever been produced have come from there. Now something is changing the lanes and the maps are mysteriously inaccurate. The star systems are changing, worlds that have existed are disappearing without any viable reason, and Samra need to wake the dragons and go and find out what has been happening.

Excerpt from unedited work-in-progress

The next oasis lay out of my way, an indistinct verring which caused me to alter my path from the heading I’d desired, unlike the previous watering hole which led us straight north. From looking at the map, I could see that the one after would lead me back, so the chance of straying too far was minimal. I’d contemplated avoiding it, but it was better to replenish my water wherever possible and seek cover during the night than to take on the open desert and risk being caught unaware by bandits. Or worse, the automaton and their Djinn leader that kept watch to rid the desert of unwanted visitors.

The yellowing sky shone over my shoulder, forcing me forward with the threat of impending darkness, and I urged the Grikak onward. I feared to tire him too soon, but my awareness and dread of the Djinn was almost, if not more, pressing than wearing out the Grikak’s energy. The closer he was to the oasis, the less risk we faced out in the open.

Topping a rise in the dunes, I came upon a sight I’d hoped to never witness.

Two of the automated guardians were attacking Sebastian from both sides. Somehow he’d held on, but I could see he was tiring, the movements of his arms and legs becoming erratic as he jumped and spun to avoid the wickedly accurate sword swipes of the two barely assembled, metal figures.

They looked as though someone had gathered human-like metal appendages; a kind of unclothed skeleton made up of objects resembling tubes, triangles, squares and cylinders, placing them one atop the other, while hoping the whole thing wouldn’t collapse in a strong breeze. They’d been given animation; a will to move forward; an existence, along with a goal and a purpose. They had hands, which resembled slabs of crudely shaped metal, with which they gripped deadly sharp swords, aiming with more precise accuracy towards Sebastian, intent to cause him serious injury.

I scanned the empty surroundings for someway to help. I wasn’t trained in warfare, neither did I carry a weapon. I noticed a few hand-sized rocks that might distract them long enough for us to escape, but being unsure of my aim,, I hesitated. I felt like David, throwing rocks at the enemy, a big enemy which I couldn’t hope to beat, but I gathered my courage around me like the shreds of my pride and charged down the side of the dune, scattering sand, and hurling rocks at the two automated robots that were pressing home their advantage over Sebastian.

The Grikak and I broke their momentum, and his long sharp beak, aimed at the gaps in their armour, pecking away at them with a eery cry and a squawk of defiance. I saw Sebastian draw breath as the attention from his assailants was diverted. Reaching beneath his thick cloak, he removed a long black tube, and pointed it at one of the automaton.

I had no time to watch Sebastian, loosening the reins to allow the Grikak to manoeuvre, as he pecked and scratched with his talons while I held on for dear life. The ability to defend was something I hadn’t realised he could do and was glad that Marwa had provided me with a bird that could protect me and carry me to my destination.

I heard a thumping sound, like air pushed through a small hole at speed, and watched as one of the automaton blew apart, almost in slow motion. It limbs losing the cohesion they’d once had, finally falling victim to gravity as they landed in heaps of smoking scrap metal in a wide arc where it had once stood.

The other looked at the source of the disturbance and headed straight for Sebastian, marking him out as the greater threat. Sebastian had crouched on the sandy floor, the thick tube of black metal before him, as he manipulated it, frantically pushing buttons and dials along its side. But something wasn’t right, and the automaton approached with such speed that Sebastian barely had time to move before it was upon him, swinging its sword straight for his head.

To Be Continued….