Ash is Reborn as Snow

Idea: I had no idea what I was going to write. But I was taking a geology class, so I started it out with a volcano. It just went from there. Eventually, my goal was to write a lovable little girl character.

Process: I wrote this for NaNoWriMo 2008, my first one. So I didn’t know what ‘preparation’ meant, because I’d only ever simply started writing whatever I wanted. Planning? What planning? Anyway, I finished the book and 50k words. This is the only Nanowrimo book that I had trouble reaching 50k with the end of the story… does that mean I’ve improved?

Edited: Kind of. As in, Nanowrimo prize included a proof copy, so I went through and rough-edited and formatted it. I learned a lot about how to format for a book. It’s not easy enough.
(As a physical book, people actually read it! And so I have lots of edit suggestions I haven’t put in yet, because I haven’t gotten back to it since then.)

———————— Read some ! ————————

Prologue:

 

She started out as an egg. Floating amongst minerals in bubbling magma rising through a volcano vent, the egg was so soft that, when deposited along with the cool pillowy pahoehoe lava, it was still squishy like a stuffed animal. Carried miles away from where it started, the egg ended up in the middle of what had been a vast forest, surrounded by the crying souls of men and beast alike. Despite the death and destruction around it, the egg glowed faintly, as if representing a mellow ball of hope. The rain poured down, washing the ash from the atmosphere, but leaving a dim glow in the clouds. When a jolt of lightening thundered down to earth, the egg cracked.

One:

 

“I love candy!”

“Yup.”
“I love tea!”

“Uh-hu.”

She squeezed his hand. “I love cakes!”

“Yeah.”

“I’m so happy!”

He stifled a yawn. “That’s wonderful.”

“Come on, Hapi, you’re not being any fun. Think of the pastry with the flower on it. That was so pretty! It was so yummy! But I could hardly eat it, it was so pretty. I love pastries!”

“There will be more today, so don’t use up all your fancy praises yet.”

“Oh don’t worry, I can say I love cakes and I love tea as many times as I do, which is always. Otherwise, how would I be able to say it again today? I said it yesterday, didn’t I, that I love tea? Do you really think I can run out? Maybe I can only say it once a day, that I love tea?”
“You’ve said it three times already. That’s probably the max.”

“Oh… but I do so love tea. With honey. It’s gotta have honey. Well… I guess it’d be ok without it… is it? Hapi? Is it?”
“No.”

“Have you had it before?”
“I grew up on it.”
“But there’s no protein in it!”
“I ate it with eggs.”
“I don’t think you’re serious.”

“I’m not.”
“Hapi!”

A tug on his arm, coupled with her usual immature chatter, was enough to spread a grin over his face. It was never tiring teasing the girl half his age, he’d learned soon after finding himself stuck with her. Aside from her growing vocabulary, nothing about her or her optimism had changed. He could never be sure if she was a bright child or incredibly dense. “My family couldn’t afford honey.”

“What’s that mean?”

“There wasn’t a bee close enough willing to make us honey.”

“Bees make honey?! I never knew! I like bees. I didn’t like them much before, but I’ve decided I like them. Wow, is that the house?”

A three-story mansion with its own spectacular fountain loomed before them, little change from the house they visited earlier that morning. This one bore a huge pink rose garden in the front, signifying the estate of the doy’Ros family. “There’s a girl here I think is just a little older than you are.”
“Really? Will I get to see her?”

“The invitation says she will be joining her mother for the brunch.”

Their feet crackled over the gravel walkway, her pink shoes kicking rocks over others like a game of bullfrog. “Are there any other kids?”
“No.”

“Then why does she have to do that?”

“It seems her nurse has taken ill. Part of the reason we received this invite at the last minute.”
“More like the last week. Why can’t the others bring their kids?”
“You know these types of families just like I do. They all take at least two weeks to go anywhere.”
“But why? We walked here in under an hour. Are they really slow?”

“Like snails.”
Her eyes went wide. “They can’t be!” Chin down, she contemplated the notion, at last tugging at his arm to let him know she didn’t believe him.
Another grin flashed over his face. “You know those little sparkly hair nets the ladies sometimes wear?”
“Yeah.”
“They fall apart every time. It takes two weeks to make new ones. For every party.”
“Why don’t they keep extras?”
“They only last a day.”
Her tug on his arm was met with an indignant protest. “I’m serious. They’re made of spider’s webs.”

“So?”
“Freshly woven.”
“What happens to the spiders?”
After his silence she hung down her head, sniffling, until they stepped up the giant staircase to the front door. Hapi knocked sharply, ignoring the gold-plated rose knocker covered in frost.

“You know, Hapi, I bet the spiders have fun.”

“I’m sure they do.”

The door opened inward, admitting the team to the eye-washing pinkness of the Rose Mansion. “It’s just like the Lily Mansion,” the girl whispered, “only pink.”

“Yet smelling of the sweet roses of summer, a smell welcome during this time of dark winters.”

The girl jumped, Hapi bowed to their hostess.

She smiled at them, pearly white teeth sparkling like the net over her silver hair. “Before the guests arrive, shall we take tea in the garden room? Much too small for a gathering, it’s the perfect thing for chit-chat and business.”

“I’d be delighted, my lady.”

The door-man melted back into the shadows once the door was closed, the coat-man waltzed through the same shadows with their winter coats and hats.

“What does the door-man do when no one is at the door?”

“In here, my child. There are many doors that need opening, he keeps himself occupied.”

The garden room seemed to be made of only windows, overgrown with vines and vines of pink roses. Beautiful, cozy, and private.

“Are there perhaps more specifics regarding our assignment?” Hapi asked once situated with a cup of rose tea.

“No dears, please carry out what I’ve asked as you see fit. I care little. I only wanted to have a better understanding of you, indeed I had not expected you to be so young.”
Though his features made him look like he was in his late teens, he suspected she was referring more to his partner. “You haven’t seen us work before? Ah, but of course not, I would remember my lady out of a thousand women. Our age is acceptable, I hope.”
She sipped her tea so daintily it was a wonder she drank any at all. “A pleasure. Indeed it makes the whole thing more attractive. You have, of course, heard of the unfortunate incident with the nurse.”
“Yes, my lady.”

“I wouldn’t normally bring my daughter out, even in my own home, but it can’t be helped. The poor child can not be expected to amuse herself all the while her nurse is unable. I trust you will be her friend?” She addressed the last bit to the girl, who was dunking the rose petals in her tea and watching them rise again.

A laugh brought her head up. “It’ll be fun!”

The lady pursed her lips. “I’ve long wondered, since hearing of you two, how it was you ended up together. You look nothing alike.”
“I found her,” the man said simply.

“Found her? Like a lost glove?”
“More like a guardian angel.”
“How long ago?”
“I couldn’t say for sure… somewhat shy of seven years, perhaps.”

“My goodness! A child that young was wandering about to be found?”
“It’s a mystery. Ah, my lady, it seems the first of your guests has arrived.”
She set down her tea. “How can you tell?”
“Your telling-man is walking to the door.”
Barely a moment passed before a rap on the door was followed by the telling-man informing the lady of her guest’s arrival. The Rose lady spent a moment fuming. “That woman is always early! No matter. I leave the rest to you, and expect to talk again in this room precisely 15 minutes after the last guest departs.”
“Yes, my lady.”
They walked swiftly down the halls, the guide-man taking the team to the social area while the lady met her guest at the door. “Are you ready, Flurr?”

The girl squeezed his arm, nodding. “Apples, right?”

“Apples.”

——

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