Terror and Wave
“I’ll bet you four days’ laundry you won’t do it.”
Adden slid his fingers across the sand, ignoring his brother. Adden and Derben shared the same sea green eyes and brown, scruffy hair, but their similarities ended there. Adden took after his mum. He was short and stocky, with round features and a healthy dose of impishness. Derben was the golden boy, charming and tall like their da.
Adden was the fool, but he preferred it that way. Made him stand out in his family full of practicals. They had a brood of nine, including their mum and da, and keeping everyone clothed and fed required more discipline than Adden cared for. Chores seemed endless some days, but the boys always found a little time for fun.
Tenek lua Ben rested at the bottom of a long-dead volcano. It was lush with forests and farmland and protected on both sides by tall, shale black cliffs. The cliffs stretched out along the sides of their island before narrowing into a channel. At the edge of Tenek lay a sandy beach and clear blue cove. The cove was a deep, teardrop shaped pool formed from the ebb and flow of currents pushing through the channel from the ocean beyond. The channel tapered as you traveled away from Tenek, making travel difficult for man and sea creature alike.
They saw a variety of tropical fish here in Tenek, and an assortment of clams and crustaceans, but not much else. This made the arrival of a shylark all the more exciting for the children playing in the cove.
Shylarks were sea creatures with long flat backs and bulbous underbellies. They had two large fins on both sides of their bodies and wide, fan shaped tails. They were good eating, but extremely rare. One poor shylark had floated into the cove and gotten stuck in a small pond by the shore. Once the children noticed, they set out to trap it, setting up a fishing gate at the end of the pond.
They guessed the shylark was around six or seven feet long. Adden ventured it was big enough to ride on, and Derben had pounced on the idea.
“Well?” Derben waited for Adden’s response. It was a silly bet. Shylarks had slippery bodies. And very sharp teeth.
“Four days of laundry hardly seems worth it,” Adden shrugged. “Lots of teeth on that shylark.”
“Yeah, but I bet the fearless Adden could ride that shylark for, oh, say a count of fifty?” Derben’s eyes danced with mirth. “I’ll double the days.”
Adden eyed the shylark warily. Derben could tease him if he wanted, but even Adden wasn’t fool enough to ride it. No one would, so Derben could go sail a ship.
Adden caught a flash of red from the corner of his eye and turned toward the Jacaranda groves. High up in one of the trees he spotted Tamarin. She was always nearby, but never joined the other children. She was hard to miss with her dark skin and crimson red, curly hair, always tied in a bun on top of her head. Her eyes were as golden as the sun, unlike the green of the other villagers, but her mum had been a foreigner. She was a couple of rotations younger than Adden and rarely spoke. She was watching them. Huh.
“I’ll do a hundred count. And make it a whole phase.”
Adden smiled up at Tamarin and gave her a wave, but he couldn’t tell if she’d seen it or not. She hadn’t moved. Derben slapped Adden on the back, grinning ear to ear.
“Alright, a whole phase it is! Mork, keep time! The rest of you help me lure the shylark closer to the sand.”
The children splashed their feet in the water, sending the shylark closer to the beach. Adden stood near the edge, trying to remember how many teeth a shylark had. It was one hundred, wasn’t it? Or maybe one thousand? His sister trudged up to the cove with a scowl.
“What are you boys doing?” she eyed them suspiciously, hands on her hips. All the girls took after mum. Long brown hair, short plump figures, and a bossy disposition.
“Nothing that concerns you,” Derben scowled. “Run along now.”
“Adden’s gonna ride a shylark!” one of the children blurted.
“Whose idea was this?” She turned to Derben, whose face gave it away. “Really, Derben?” Derben tried to match her gaze, but faltered and looked away. “You don’t need to do this,” she turned back to Adden, placing her hand on his shoulder. “He’s just trying to mess with you.” Adden scowled and shrugged it off.
“I don’t need you to baby me, Raina.”
She sighed and held up her hands in surrender.
“Adden, you’re a fool! And Derben you know better!” Raina stalked off, but not too far. She’d probably tell mum, but not before all the excitement ended.
The shylark wasn’t moving as much now, having worn itself out. If he grabbed it just behind the fins, he should be able to get a good grip. He’d have to be quick, though.
“Ready?” Derben smirked. Adden nodded, determined to wipe the smug look off his brother’s face.
“Good luck, Adden!” Griella called out. She was Adden’s age and a close neighbor. His sister seemed to think she had a crush on him, but he didn’t pay either girl any mind. Still, he nodded politely to her. And then he hopped on.
Tamarin had spent most of her morning in the trees, studying and taking notes. Tenek was home to a dozen different types, with groves growing from the base of the mountain all the way up to Verek Lua Ben. Verek was the other village on their island, built on the mouth of the volcano. It was home to mainly sheep farmers, but over time, Verek had also developed a thriving merchant’s hub.
Verek was a vital source of meat and other raw materials for the people of Tenek. In turn, Tenek was a vital source of grain and fish. There was regular travel between the two villages for trade, and Tamarin’s father, Forn, visited Verek every three or four phases.
Forn had grown up in Tenek. His grandfather had been a physician and passed his knowledge on to his son, who in turn, passed his knowledge on to Forn. As the only real physician on the island, Forn felt it his duty to serve the people of both Verek and Tenek. Tamarin found ways to help Forn whenever she could, and by her sixth rotation, she was a capable apprentice. Forn taught her how to make ointments, wrap wounds, and set dozens of broken bones.
Sometimes he would let her go with him on house calls, but not usually. The other children always shied away when she was around, so she spent most of her time with Forn in the infirmary. When he was away, she made it her duty to study the things he taught her and commit them to memory. Today she was in the trees, sampling fruits, studying leaves and saps, gathering flowers and pods, and doing her best to memorize the medicinal purpose for each one.
The Jacaranda trees were her favorite. Their scent was strong and sweet, with soft, purple flowers that bloomed for nine out of twelve phases every rotation. They were good for treating wounds and illnesses and made the smell of the infirmary more tolerable.
Tamarin looked out at the cove, noting the commotion on the beach. Normally she wouldn’t bother with whatever sport the village children were playing, but they’d managed to trap a shylark. She’d never seen one up close. Maybe they’d catch it and she’d be able to get a good look before they took it to the fishermen. They didn’t seem like they were interested in catching it, though.
Adden was looking up at the Jacaranda trees, smiling like an idiot. Was he smiling at her? Most of the children didn’t speak to her, let alone offer anything as friendly as a smile. Tamarin learned very early on that she wasn’t like the other children. Beyond the stares and the whispers, there were signs all around her.
Some of the farmers had deep tans, but their skin was shades away from hers. Even the kindest Tenekians had trouble looking at her without shuddering. Her golden eyes were a stark contrast from the shades of green that were the norm in Tenek, and people found it unsettling. Yes, she was the only golden eyed, bloody haired, dark child on this whole rock. Things might have been different if her mother had lived, but as it stood, she was all alone.
Tamarin narrowed her eyes as she watched the children in the cove. What was that fool doing? Adden was positioning his legs around either side of the shylark. Idiot. Tamarin glanced in her bag, pulling some moss and a few dressing leaves to the top. These would probably come in handy. She swung down from the tree and headed towards the cove.
Terror and Wave is the story of two inseparable children navigating the trials of youth on their secluded island home, until their world is torn apart by the acts of an evil Empress.
This YA fantasy project is finished at roughly 80,000 words.
Tamarin is a shy, intelligent girl being brought up by her father. Her foreign features stand out in the village of Tenek lua Ben, leaving her isolated. She has only one friend - Adden, a boy as wild as the sea with a heart twice as big. Drawn together by a disastrous shylark riding incident, their friendship deepens with each perilous adventure they face together.
Tamarin longs for a connection to her mother’s past and people, but the heritage of her once warrior mother, Tara, is shrouded in secrecy. When foreigners arrive with tales of magic and the warring Terrors of the Northlands, the children get a glimpse of the world beyond Tenek lua Ben. As Tamarin and Adden seek out the secrets of the Northland Terrors and the promise of the waves, an evil Empress turns the world upside down in search of the last remaining Terror. Surviving will prove to be the most dangerous adventure of all.
Me in a nutshell? Faith, family, laundry. Not always in that order. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and Theology, and a resume full of jobs that have nothing to do with that. I'm looking for opportunities to grow beyond my comfort zone, and I welcome feedback! I have stories to tell, and I’m ready to tell them.