*From January, 2014...
I had sworn not to do this until other things were more complete. Alas, I refuse to help myself any longer. It is too much. XD
I've longed to write a continuation, pretty much since middle school, when I finished gobbling up Ice Creepers, and decided that there definitely needed to be... MORE. At the tender age of 13, I didn't quite understand the ending. As a 23-year-old chef woman, it makes more sense, but... More. MORE. MOOOOOOOOOOOORE.
And there have been other ideas over the years. Ideas that included portals to other dimensions and other languages and the spirits of whole elements living in certain people's children... But part of me fears that it has become too elaborate to ever happen. This, however, is recent. Like, within the past couple of months, recent. And behold—'tis manageable!
So, as this fandom is still pathetically smaller than Rowan himself, let's have ourselves a new adventure!
Chapter 1: Star
"Star, come along! I won't call you again!"
"I'll be right there, mum," the girl called back for the third time, smirking to herself. Despite the annoyance in her mother's voice, she was fine with not being summoned again. She was taking her time, as she always did. She had never liked to be rushed.
As it was, Star was still busy trying to rake a comb through her long, thick brown hair. It tumbled in messy waves halfway down her back, and became more of a chore to deal with by the month. Her mother, grandmother, and godmother were always teasing that it needed to be cut soon, threatening with nothing less than sturdy shears. The kind used for shearing wool. Star always refused. She was curious to see how long she could let her mane grow, before even she couldn't stand it anymore.
That day had yet to come. She was very proud of its progress.
Satisfied that most of the tangles had been combed out, she set the comb aside and stood to face her mirror. Unable to do much else with it, she took a silk scarf and tied it around her head to keep her hair from her face. It was the most adornment the people of Rin would allow at a time, without whispering suspiciously as she passed by. After all, they were a proud and sturdy people, not given over to wasting time on vanities. Star would have liked much more to wind ribbons and flowers into her hair, the way her Traveler mother had in her own youth. It would have suited her much better, she thought.
Star was already an unusual child—the child of one of the village's greatest heroes, and a strange, exotic woman from the plains. Their union many years before had not been entirely welcome, merely accepted. Their friendship had been a powerful one in the past; many times, they had walked through living nightmares and come back out again, changed but alive, because of that bond. It came as little surprise to most, then, when they had married. They, themselves, had been unusual children, once upon a time. Before their adventures had changed them so. They were even more unusual now; but they had each other. They would always have each other.
Star's mother had left her wandering life behind to settle in the village, with her husband. For being raised as a Traveler, she had grown used to this settled life very quickly; perhaps astonishingly quickly, according to some. She was well liked, even well loved, by most. Whether she was a foreigner or not, she had still played a large role in keeping the village safe. And she was a good companion for its most honored resident.
Star was their only child. A strong, sturdy, energetic child, like nearly any other in the village of Rin. This was also surprising, considering her parentage. As a boy, her father had been small, weak, and very shy, afraid of his own shadow, some said—the oddity that occasionally came along, normally to be in everyone's way. By contrast, her mother had always been tall and strong, graceful and beautiful; despite her fierceness, her strength of arm was unimpressive, as it was with most Travelers. Their greatest weapons were, and always had been their sharp wits and good sense.
Who would have guessed, then, that their one daughter would be so unlike them? Yet Star was more like her parents than most people guessed. She was strong enough to wield a sword, she supposed, but she didn't care for them. As it was with her parents, she preferred to favor the power of her mind over any other weapon. She was a quick, clever girl; it was evident in her very face. And she was sure of herself; that was evident in the way she carried herself, with her back straight and her head held high, proud of who she was.
She faced her reflection with a grin, planting her fists on her hips. Some people teased her because of her appearance, but she knew it was only because they were jealous. At first glance, she looked very much like her mother. She had the same dark, bronze skin and pale blue eyes, glittering with life and intelligence, and perhaps a secret or two. But a closer look at her face betrayed this. She looked, in fact, almost exactly like her father. She had his same nose, jawline, and hair color. Certainly, she had his smile, people said. A calm, disarming smile that used to be rarely seen.
Forgetting briefly that her mother was still waiting, Star closed her eyes, made a silly face, and looked again at her reflection. Amused, she did this over and over, until she began to giggle at herself.
"Oh, I am silly," she laughed to her reflection. Pleased with herself, she finally left her mirror behind and started toward the kitchen.
There was already a bowl waiting for her at the table, steam still rising from it. On the other side of the small kitchen, her mother was washing dishes with her back turned. As Star slid into her chair, she heard her mother laugh softly.
"Wherever have you been?" she asked.
"Oh, nowhere," Star replied casually.
"Off on adventures of your own, I suppose."
'Only as far as my bedroom mirror will allow."
"Did you slay any dragons? Or perhaps a giant or two?"
"I would have, if there were any left to slay. You and papa seem to have taken care of them all, yourselves, and left nothing for me."
"Ah. A welcome relief." In a softer voice, her mother added, "Your godfather was right, back then, after all..."
Even though their child was as capable as any other, it was no great secret that the village heroes went out of their way to shelter her more than most. Perhaps they did not mean to, but they did. They had seen many terrible things, and fought against evils that no one had been able to imagine. Evil things that had lain quietly in their very land, waiting for a moment to strike against them. Their land was safe from such things now, and there was only their unexpected heroes to thank for it.
Heroes who had never wanted such adventure or excitement for themselves. Heroes who had been scarred and changed by them. Heroes who now had a single child to raise, a child they loved with all their hearts. Star had a great destiny awaiting her, that much was certainly true. But if her parents could spare her the trials, tears, and scars they had sustained, they would.
Other adults laughed at them, said such precautions were silly and pointless. Great things were expected of Star—so much more than had ever been expected of her father. What was the point in delaying this, or sheltering her when she should be strong and well prepared when her great moment finally found her? Her parents always answered somewhat coolly, if such danger threatened any other child, what parent wouldn't try to prevent it? Who would knowingly encourage their child to go out into the world seeking trouble? If your child was in trouble, would you not spare them, if you could?
Which everyone had to admit was not only true, but somewhat wise.
They had worked so hard, making this land a safe place for its children. Star knew immediately what her mother meant. All that hard work hadn't been intended specifically for her; but she was now a part of that. It was a humbling thought, which made her feel bigger at the same time.
Whatever was waiting for her, Star felt fairly prepared for it. She could fight well enough, survive alone in the wild if she had to, and she was very charming. What was more, she knew that she would not be alone. She would have friends and family surrounding her, when her time came. She had parents, who adored her; godparents who were full of wisdom and good advice; and cousins, who were a better band of friends than she could have designed on her own. They would never let her fail.
As she thought of these things, she slowly began to eat. No great adventure should start on an empty belly, after all. And in Rin, one always had to be prepared for an adventure. There had been none in a long time, but nothing was ever certain.
"Has papa already left for the day?" she asked.
"Just to the market and back. He'll be along shortly, if his sisters don't waylay him."
"Oh, but they will. They always do."
"True enough. I believe he has left something for you to work on, though. Go look in his study, when you're finished; he said everything should be in order."
"I shall ask him more about it when he returns," she decided.
"He will like that. You know, your father is extremely fond of you, Star. You are very much like him."
"I am very much like you, as well."
Her mother smiled at her over her shoulder. "Indeed, you are."
Star smiled back, and her mother returned to her work. As she ate, Star wondered, for at least the thousandth time, about her mother. As far as many people were aware, this woman was merely Zeel of the plains, formerly captain of the Traveler forerunners. Today, she was a familiar fixture of their small community, one which no one could quite picture life without anymore. Despite the stories, not everyone was completely aware that she hadn't been born on the plains at all. Somehow, a few people still failed to realize that she was, in fact, part of the race that had tried time and again to destroy them all.
Star smirked at the idea. When you looked at everything properly, of course her mother was Zebak. Her build and appearance certainly fit the description, as did her natural cunning and temper. All this was astonishingly easy to miss, when she introduced herself as a Traveler—the two very different people were more alike than most would guess. Mostly, though, people knew her as a hero, a warrior with a brave heart they could all accept, who had spared nothing to help them in times of real trouble, even though she had been a stranger.
Yet here she was, washing the morning dishes, as she had done every morning that Star could remember.
By the time Star had finished eating, her father still hadn't returned. Slightly peeved by his tardiness, she placed her empty bowl by the sink and went to gather her usual things from the study.
Her usual things were ready and waiting for her on her father's desk, laid out as he had learned she liked them. There were a few vials of ink and her favorite quill, carefully stored in a leather pouch. A thick book, its binding well-worn from use. Another newer book set beside it, most of its pages blank, waiting to be filled. And a short list of notes for her to work from.
Rewriting her father's first and perhaps greatest written work was a large task; he had only been a little older than she was, when he had first sat down to write down the details of his adventures. He had finished the process in a matter of weeks. Getting those details out of his head and onto something solid, tangible, which could be used for generations to come, had eased a tremendous weight from his very soul, he had explained before. Star supposed she understood. Her father had seen and done many amazing and terrifying things as a boy. She would have wanted it all out of her system, too.
Her father had always had a way with spoken words; at the age of 15, though, he hadn't been the best speller, and his penmanship had left much to be desired. He had also written the stories in a bit of a hurry, eager to just have everything written down. He had said before, pointing out passages that were almost impossible to read, that he had sometimes lost himself in a fever of memories and great release, simply scribbling as fast as his fingers had allowed. In those fits, he had accidentally left out a detail or two that nearly ruined the stories entirely. Star had found these things out quickly the first time she had tried to read the book for herself. There were parts of it that just didn't make any sense, and other parts she couldn't make out at all.
Several months ago, she had decided that The Book, as she called, it, sorely needed editing and rewriting. And it needed it from someone other than her father, whose spelling skills weren't much better after all these years. She had taken up the task herself, and attacked it with a vengeance. Books were her favorite things in the world. It wasn't right that a book as precious as this one be so poorly written.
Her father had gladly let her do it, somewhat relieved that it was in the hands of someone who cared so much, and would work hard to make it perfect. As it was, he didn't have the time to do it as he had wanted to. So, it seemed, there were still a few things that the fabled Rowan of Rin simply couldn't accomplish.
Star quickly gathered her things into her nearby shoulder bag and slung it over her back, holding onto her father's list to study on her way to the house of books. It was her favorite place to work; it was cool and quiet, and people rarely came looking for her there. Whenever she had buried herself under a mountain of books, she meant business, and people knew better than to disturb her. She also loved the feeling of being surrounded by so much knowledge. She found it intoxicating.
Resolving to spend an uneventful but productive day working on The Book, Star left her mother a hug and a kiss goodbye before walking out the front door, and down the lane that led into the heart of the village of Rin.
With the help of my little brother, who is also a large Rowan fan, this first chapter was dubbed a success. And so, it must continue! 8D
Many of you must be wondering by now, why Star should be named Star, when Rowan already has a Star. I've been asked this a lot over the initial planning process, so it's only fair to warn you all, this will be addressed shortly. Also, it is likely that you will cry.
This is the shortest chapter of the thing. I'll warn you now, some of these chapters get up to 9k, in terms of word count, which I typically measure by. I certainly try to keep it short and sweet, because it shouldn't take an hour to wade through a single chapter. But you'll see later on that there have been moments when I just couldn't help myself.
It's also fair to warn you that up until chapter 4, I had been typing awkwardly on a Samsung tablet with Polaris Office. This is not my favorite platform, as it has no spellcheck and formatting rarely translates well to Word, ffnet, or anything else. I have edited numerous times, but almost always find typos. If you notice more, please feel free to point them out. :D