A Prologue# 25 Nov 2009 by Cal
I was digging through my Google Docs files the other day and came across some writing projects I’d begun and pushed aside (for whatever reason). In particular, I came across the prologue to a set of serial shorts that I had been planning on writing. Ah, that project. The idea started out as a comic-book-type serial; episodic chapters, etc. Then I realized I lacked the time and skill to draw it, and didn’t want another artist drawing it as I could (and can) picture it all so clearly in my mind. At this point I decided to write it as a set of serial short stories (in the pattern of Sherlock Holmes – one story was one entity, but with a distinct chronology and a bit of an underlying thread).
Also at that time, I was intending to release it through FictionPress. So, I wrote up a prologue one day (which uses but hardly even hints at the massive amount of backstory or all the connections to several other books/stories I either have ideas for or actually have in progress). Then I proceeded to never do anything with it, as I continued flipping back and forth between web comic and serial shorts.
And so, I present to you the erstwhile prologue of what will eventually be a set of stories. In some form. Maybe.
The hills stretched out elegantly below, verdant greens and russet browns vividly lit by the crisp sunlight. Admiring the panorama from through the viewing room’s vast windows, the well-dressed gentleman allowed himself a small self-satisfied smile as he gazed back into the deep blue skies. The weather, the view, this special airborne cruise in his Lord General’s private airship, all were working together to create the most perfect romantic setting he could imagine for his proposal. All he needed now was the presence of the lady, whose arrival was due at any minute. An elegantly manicured hand toyed with the golden watch fob hanging from his waistcoat pocket as he restrained himself from checking the time. Fashionable women were never punctual, after all. It wouldn’t due to be impatient.
It was approximately five minutes after her scheduled arrival that the lady in question finally entered the viewing room, walking in near-mincing steps across the floor towards him. Her chestnut hair had been done up elegantly in one of the most recent styles, a few carefully chosen stray strands framing her face in calculated carelessness. She glanced at the gentleman and then turned to gaze out the window, her studiously controlled bland expression unnoticed as his attention was drawn towards her garments – less than favourably. While she certainly must be wearing some sort of fashionable gown underneath, she was covered entirely from neck to floor in a high-collared, evergreen cloak. A highly unusual garment for these balmy spring days, even with the added crispness of their altitude. The viewing deck was entirely enclosed, however, and a quite comfortable temperature. And it fell so very oddly…
Dismissing the issue, the fine gentleman returned to his perusal of the view and began some idle small-talk with the young lady at his side. It wouldn’t do to approach the subject too quickly. After some length the conversation paused, the gentleman reaching a hand gently into the right pocket of his waistcoat. Turning to face the young lady fully, he cleared his throat to gain her full attention and she turned to look at him, expression politely interested. He began a long, clearly rehearsed speech about the virtues of his property, his family, and his self, following with a circumspect description of the increasing pressure for such an upstanding young aristocrat such as himself to find himself a wife, and culminating with an elegantly worded proposal of marriage as he drew an expensive diamond ring from his pocket with a flourish. The lady in question managed to maintain her politely interested expression until the proposal and the ring, which she gazed at for a scant few moments that felt achingly long. He felt a sense of vague unease as she met his eyes again, a curious sparkle in hers. The unease vanished as she smiled brightly and responded.
Without even giving the unwitting would-be groom time to be shocked by her flat denial, she flung the cloak off and over his head and smashed the window they stood before with her reinforced boots, shattered glass flying and a sudden chilly gust of air rushing in. She looked at the young man, flailing blindly from beneath the cumbersome folds of her large cloak, the bizarre contraption she had strapped about her torso now clearly visible. At the sound of the door swinging open, a quick glance back revealed several servants hurrying across the viewing deck and one maidservant fainted on the floor – and a stern, militaristic older man striding into the room.
She gave a cheerful giggle and waved at the man as he glared at her. “‘Bye, Father!” His expression hardened as she turned back to the window, and she heard his heavy footsteps as he broke into a run, commanding her to “cease these antics immediately”. Disregarding it all, she sprinted out the window, across the last few feet of flooring, and leapt out into the air just as the elegantly dressed gentleman freed himself, no longer looking quite so impeccably elegant. A quick pull of a string at her shoulder released the catches holding the wings on her back folded into place and she quickly caught the air and began gliding off, the grim expression of her father watching as she flew out of his reach.