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(I do know that instalments of novels, whether completed or – as in this case – in progress, are not usally popular posts.   However,  I have decided to continue this series because it is a useful way of relooking at the segments.  Also, such comments as do appear, even if very few,  are often invaluable.   At the stage of this excerpt the novel is still largely engaged in scene-setting, but more actual action does commence fairly soon.) 

CHAPTER 6 – A Walking Tour, Under, and Over.

(For links to previous segments see sidebar.)

Darx Circle Cover 2

Terrible things are happening in Rhino Valley, where Dengani comes across local farmers killed by leopards, and the women of the village are all taken by crocodiles.  He and his family leave.  Dengani’s friend Hugh arrives in time to save local beekeepers from their own bees and discovers that the ‘fairies’ he has always seen are real.  Back home, he stops taking meds prescribed for his ‘hallucinations’.  It turns out that Tyrentia, the objectionable daughter of a woman Hugh’s father hopes to marry, can also see the fairies, and the two of them are summonsed through a ‘bubble’ wall into Breena – ‘fairyland’.  Their guides, Felin and Avinia, test to see if they can go back to their own world or go ‘Between’, and then take them on a journey  to familiarise them with the Rings before they are to have a meeting with the Queen of Queens.  They spend the night in a treetop Inn.

Breakfast featured scrambled egg. Apparently only one egg had been needed to feed everyone and leave something over as a basis for lunch and supper.  Most creatures and plants in Glim did not seem to be scaled down from the sizes the two visitors were accustomed to.  They had noticed, though, that tiny plant varieties were favoured for cultivation in village gardens.

They got a chance to see these more closely quite soon.  When they set out, Felin said, ‘The Queen wanted us to walk for a while, so that you can get a feel for Glim at ground level.  Also, it will give us a better chance to tell you more.  Talking isn’t quite as easy while flying, as you will have noticed.’

‘That is ridiculous,’ Tyrentia protested petulantly.  ‘If one can fly, why walk?’  Three sets of dirty looks seemed to have got through to her, though, and she said no more but followed with a scowl.

‘Something I’ve been wondering about,’ Hugh said as they set off along a wide lane which would hardly even have been a path back at home, ‘is why I haven’t noticed any of the shiny black sort of fairies – I’ve been calling them Shades – since we got here?’

‘Yes, the Darxen you mean; the Darxen,’ Avinia answered.  ‘There are usually quite a few here. Their home is Darx Circle, though.  We’ve been seeing fewer of them lately; of them lately.  Not sure why.’

‘Darx is one big Magic Circle, with a king,’ Felin added to this, ‘whereas our Rings are divided into many far smaller ones and we have queens for each.  Their folk are not too fond of our kind of light.  Although they do appear quite often in our daylight time, they prefer night or at least not having actual sunlight.’

Tyrentia was hardly listening.  ‘Why do we scuttle along like **… – er, I mean – like stupid beetles?’ she asked, and then gave a slightly guilty glance at Hugh for her near-lapse.

Hugh could see what she meant.  A walk, for fairies, seemed to have a far more steps in it than for humans; in fact, quite a good number per second.  Being so much shorter, the legs didn’t have nearly as far to go, so they got there a lot more quickly.  Then the next leg had to take over briskly to prevent toppling forward onto one’s nose.  ‘You two seem to take fewer steps than we do?’ he observed.

Felin turned round to look at him.  ‘Ah,’ he said.  You are holding your wings in a way that actually slows you down.  Angle them more – like this – and they give some lift when you move forward, so that you travel further with each step.’

When Tyrentia tried it, she moved too quickly and actually started gliding in short bursts.  The two fairies seemed to regard this as highly amusing.  Being laughed at was obviously not something she enjoyed. Her expression somehow managed to become even more sour than before, which was quite a feat.

Hugh’s mind still kept tying itself up on what Felin had told them about reality.  ‘That means natural laws of resistance and aerodynamics and stuff apply here?’ he said.  ‘I thought everything we’re seeing isn’t as it really is?’

Felin nodded.  ‘The different reality here doesn’t work exactly the same way, but close enough for you to cope with everything that is really happening if you carry on sensing everything based on your own one.’   Hugh grappled with that for a while, and then decided to think of other things before he developed a bad headache.

They soon realised why it had seemed a good idea for them to do some travel on the ground.  From the air, size differences were not as apparent, and it became clear that such differences were the quickest way of telling the various kinds of fairy folk apart.  A visit to a village of elves, for example showed that these were about twice their own present sizes, or about knee-high to a human.  Pixies, on the other hand, were a good deal smaller than they were.

The elves seemed to have even pointier features than the ones their own fairy forms had now assumed, and the elf ears gave an appearance which corresponded rather well with all the traditional reports of how they looked.  They seemed particularly industrious, and every one of them seemed to be making something, or tending something, or cleaning and polishing something.

As with all the villages they were to come across, there seemed to be every effort to use growing things as houses, or to disrupt the ground as little as possible when building with stone or adapting fallen tree trunks.  Many were built into hillsides using caves as part of the homes.

Each set of inhabitants looked at them curiously, waved, called out friendly greetings, and seemed to want to talk to them, but every time Felin and Avinia would wave back smiling, but would also make ‘shoo-ing’ gestures.  These were respected good-naturedly.  ‘Pity we can’t chat; cant chat.’ Avinia explained. ‘We really don’t have enough time.’

A number of the pixies in the first of their villages they walked through were also engaged in work of some kind, but a far greater proportion seemed to be playing various games, and having fun generally.

Not far after passing through that village, they entered another similar one.  ‘Oh, more pixies,’ Hugh observed brightly.

Avinia looked at him dimly.  ‘These are nixies.  Can’t you tell the difference?’

‘No,’ said Hugh.  ‘I thought they were the same thing, anyway.’

‘They certainly aren’t.  To start with …’ she began, but Tyrentia cut in.

‘Who cares?’ she snapped.  ‘What does it matter whether we can tell the difference between stupid pixies and nixies or not?’

Felin pounced on her.  At least, the way he was suddenly right in front of her made it seem so.  ‘I’m sure you can find your way back to where you came into the Ring,’ he said in a cat-like growl.  ‘Ask for directions if you can’t.  I’ve had doubts about you from the start.  It’s quite clear that you aren’t really interested in helping us, and that you won’t be of much use anyway.  You may as well leave, now.’

Tyrentia had a face which couldn’t really go any whiter than it already was, but it seemed that shock had the effect of making hers go red.  Also, her eyes widened, and she gaped.  She took a deep breath, and Hugh braced himself for the explosion.

Then she let most of it out again, and said in a small voice, ‘I don’t want to go back.  I want to keep on with you.’  On its own, this wasn’t much of an apology or argument, but what probably decided Felin in her favour was that a few tears came to her eyes which she brushed away angrily.  He gave a brief nod, and they set off again.

© Colonialist November 2013 (WordPress)



About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Children's Fiction, Novel extract, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Pingback: ‘Do’-ing ‘Re’-peat gives ‘Mi’ (‘Fa’ too much ‘So’) more ‘La’-‘Te’-tude. | Colonialist's Blog

  2. The Asian says:

    I was wondering if you forgot about this…
    I find it a good read, nothing that I’d change


  3. gipsika says:

    Coming on nicely! 🙂


  4. cobbies69 says:

    I enjoyed it,, the easy parts as well as the harder parts… 😉


  5. adinparadise says:

    Well what can I say, after the last comment? 🙂 I don’t believe in nixies.


  6. disperser says:

    I’m no editor, and not even a native speaker of the English language, however, as a reader, I know what reads well and what reads as awkward to me. I want to stress the “to me” part.

    Here are some things which I found made me do a double-take, and interrupted my reading flow. I would not normally do this, as everyone has their own style of writing, but since you are asking . . .

    As for the story; I’m way behind in reading blogs, so I can’t comment on how the story flows or how it was set up.

    Hope this helps, and remember individual tastes differ in language as well as ice cream.
    First paragraph – Remove ‘Apparently’ , ‘as a basis’, ‘Most’.

    Second paragraph – Remove ‘quite’ and replace ‘will have’ with ‘might have’.

    Third paragraph – Remove ‘petulantly’, and ‘ , though,’. Replace ‘have got’ with ‘get’. Also, to my inner reading voice “. . . she said no more but followed with a scowl.” took me out of the reading. Perhaps a comma in there, or a rewrite.

    Fifth paragraph – the following is difficult to read and follow – ‘ . . . There are usually quite a few here. Their home is Darx Circle, though. We’ve been seeing fewer of them lately; of them lately. Not sure why.’

    Seventh paragraph – remove ‘slightly’.

    Eight paragraph – ‘ . . . seemed to have a far more steps in it . . . ‘ read very awkward to me, but this might be a language thing (A-marican versus Ein-glish).

    Ninth paragraph – I think the “?” before ‘he observed’ should be a period. Otherwise it’s not an observation.

    Tenth paragraph – Suggested re-write: ‘ … You are holding your wings in a way that slows you down. Angle them like this, and they (will?) provide lift as you move forward, and you’ll travel further with each step.’

    Eleventh paragraph – could remove ‘actually’ and ‘highly’ and ‘obviously’ and ‘somehow’ and ‘even’ . This is a preference thing, so it reflects my preference.

    Thirteenth paragraph – remove ‘still’ . Also suggested rewrite: ‘I thought we’re not seeing reality’ instead of ‘I thought everything we’re seeing isn’t as it really is?’ – although this may be due to me misunderstanding the intent.

    Fourteenth paragraph – perhaps intentional, but that reality comment seems more convoluted than needed.

    Fifteenth paragraph – ‘. . . than they were.’ should probably be replaced with ‘… than elves.’

    Sixteenth paragraph – ‘… seemed to have even …’ replace with ‘… had …’. This paragraph has an abundance of “seemed”, or so it seemed to me.

    Seventeenth paragraph – more seemed. I think it either is or is not; there is no seem (or so did Yoda seem to say).

    Eighteenth paragraph – ‘Pity we can’t chat; cant chat.’ – if intentional, I don’t get it.

    Nineteenth paragraph – “observed brightly” – probably a colloquialism, but it hit a wrong chord as I was reading.

    20th paragraph – ‘… looked at him dimly.’ probably another colloquialism, but I’m not sure how one looks dimly.

    23rd paragraph – remove ‘or not’; seems redundant.

    I want to stress, again, that some of this is personal preference, and not an indication it’s right or wrong. I’m commenting as a reader, not an editor or proofreader.

    And, most of all, hope this doesn’t piss you off . . . or seem to piss you off.


    • colonialist says:

      Thank you for taking all this effort and providing so much useful input.
      *nervously* Is a bill in the mail? 🙂
      I copied the section out and considered each suggestion individually. Obvious things like ‘a far more steps’ (amazing how things like that can become invisible) and the invasion of ‘seemeds’ were eliminated. Colloquialisms, contributions to wordplay, speech in character like Avinia’s bird-like repetitions, or deliberately convoluted sections like the ‘reality’ one, have been tidied or left.
      Carefully considering where you were coming from on each observation has provided a useful frame of reference to apply to future edits, too.


      • disperser says:

        No bill; I was in my procrastination mode before doing my own writing, and it was a good exercise for me as I tend to do similar things.

        As part of my own edits I now do a search for “ly” (as in words ending in ‘ly’), and removing the majority of them makes for tighter prose (as opposed to seems to make for a tighter prose). Yes, I’ve seem to have become aware of my own seemingly and excessively frequent use of the word “seem” and its derivatives in my own writing, as I seem to have purposefully and wantonly done in this sentence.

        Anyway, it gave me practice for looking at my own work, so I found the exercise useful, and hopefully it did not irritate you overly so. It does not seem so from your response, but seems can be deceiving.


        • colonialist says:

          It would seem you did it seamlessly … 🙂
          I do not share the modern paranoia regarding adverbs and adjectives. If the meaning comes out more vividly with them, or they better balance a sentence, then in they stay. I only give them the chop if they are redundant padding.


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