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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Joy Light

I came up with the Joy Light some time in 2009, I believe. It came about as a sort of counterpart to the Ramariya, which were several beautiful jewels that were made by a sorcerer. The Ramariya seized people with intense greed and a desire to have the jewels; to get them, most people would do anything, no matter how unethical.
So, one day I was in church, waiting for the sermon to start, and into my mind came the words 'the Joy Light'. I can't remember what I'd been thinking about, but I quickly scribbled the name down on a piece of paper. At first, I thought it would be a sword, but then I had the idea of making it a jewel that had been made by Enderel for his followers, that would put courage and joy into their hearts, especially in battle. The Ramariya were made as mockery of the Joy Light, and obviously were completely opposite in nature, though at first glance they looked similar.
I wrote a whole lot of little bits about the Ramariya and the Joy Light, but I thought I'd post an excerpt from a story I had been writing a while back, but never finished.
Gaelrin is the young king, and he is at war with an emperor who is actually a powerful sorcerer in disguise. Before the war began, a sword was found as some men were mining, and it was given to Gaelrin. He began to become more and more attached to it, until he could not go a minute without having it by him. Here's the explanation I had written:

Several weeks passed, and those closest to King Gaelrin noticed that he wore his sword more and more often. At first, he had worn a sword only on ceremonial occasions, but now he wore it almost all the time. He fingered it when he spoke, though he rarely looked at it directly. Some of them began to whisper that it had become a part of him. "It is a sign," the lord chancellor said. "It is a sign that war is near." "How is that?" asked the chief advisor. "Well, in the old stories," the chancellor said, lowering his voice. "The king always has a sense that something is about to happen. Maybe he doesn't realize it conciously, but he begins to prepare for it anyways. Sometimes, it might be prepared for in a small thing like wearing a sword more often, as in our king's case." "I don't think that that is the reason," the advisor said. He glanced around to make sure no one was near, and lowered his own voice. "He seems to be attached to it, somehow. It began, after all, when he got this new sword. It's like he's always gripping it, or touching it, when he talks. Like...like, well, I don't know. It just seems to me that he depends on it or something. And I don't like it."
At first, he had worn the sword merely because it was beautiful. Then, as time went on, he would almost impulsively wear it. If he resisted the impulse, and went about his regular duties, he felt greatly weakened, and very drowsy as well. After a time, it was no longer an impulse but a habit. As the advisor had said, he felt attached to it. Not attached as one might be to an object of affection or even liking, but just fastened, as if he could not become unfastened. The longer he wore the sword, the longer he felt, without knowing it articulately, that he could not be without it for even a moment. Yet he himself found nothing strange in it, for he did not know what it was. If he had, then he would have been very afraid indeed.

So, here's the scene:
Gaelrin awoke suddenly in the night and felt around for the sword which he kept always in it's sheath. It was gone. He leapt up from the bed and struck a light, startling the guard outside the tent. 
"Your Majesty?" 
"Where is my sword?" asked the king angrily. "Has anyone entered this tent?" 
"No, Sire," the guard replied, sounding very assured of himself. "Of course not." 
The king fell back on the bed, very weakened. He felt as if he had been wounded and lost a lot of blood. Tradian was summoned, and he saw Gaelrin, who had always been strong and healthy, hardly able to move. 
"Sire," he said, bending down and taking the king's hand. "Sire, are you ill?" 
Gaelrin's voice was a mere whisper as he said, 
"I don't know." 
Tradian bit his lip, and called for the physician, who came as quickly as he could. He examined the king all over, and found nothing at all. He asked him questions, but could hardly hear the feeble replies. Shaking his head worriedly, the physician stood and left the tent, telling Tradian to stay with the king no matter what, and to notify him of any change.
For Gaelrin, this was a terror far worse than the battle he had fought. To have been strong and well one moment, and then to be so extremely weak the next. If it was illness, it was of a most strange kind, for he did not feel ill but powerless: as if all the will to do even the smallest thing had left him when the sword did. He was too tired to even connect this in his mind. He could hardly move, and thinking was becoming less and less easy for him.
As Gaelrin lay hardly able to move or speak, he fell asleep. Even his dreams were heavy and confused, and he felt the slow passage of time in them, until the very end. At the end, a clear light shone into his dreaming mind as from somewhere else, and he heard the sounds of battle. All he saw was the light, but he heard a voice which said to him, 
"Gaelrin, arise and fight." 
"I cannot," he said with an effort. "I cannot even awake." 
"Gaelrin, king of the Three Countries," the voice said again. "Arise and fight." 
Then a hand from the brightness reached out to him, and to his surprise he was able to grasp it. He felt himself pulled up onto his feet, and something was thrust into his hand as the hand itself was withdrawn. He looked down and saw a shining stone in his hand, and realized that it was this which had made the light, or else something very like it. It was of all colors of the rainbow, and it held in it the grey mist of morning; the blue and foam of the wave; the gold of the sun; the green glass of a still pond; and the joy of the morning after a night of fear. And he caught his breath as he gazed at it: for surely here was the Joy-Light, the jewel which Enderel had made long ago and which gave joy and gladness to the one who possessed it, and to all those around him. And, suddenly, he was no longer in the dream at all, but standing on the ground in his tent, with Tradian staring at him in amazement. And well he might stare, for the whole tent was lit as by the sun, yet with a different kind of light. It's rays glowed warm and bright in the king's hand, and fell upon his face, causing it to shine with joy and wonder. 
"Sire," Tradian said, at last, in an eager, shining voice (for everything shone). "There is a battle going on. Shall we join it?" 
"Certainly," the king said. "If you can find me another sword." 
"But you are wearing one," the servant said, pointing to the sheath. 
And Gaelrin looked and saw that a sword was there: it's hilt and guard and pommel were of plain silver, except for a single small diamond on it, which caught the rays of the Joy-Light and threw them back in a thousand hues on the wall of the tent. "Come," Gaelrin said, striding out of the doorway.

So, that's what the Joy Light is. Hope ya'll enjoyed it! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask them.


  1. Beautiful, Laura. I loved these scenes you wrote! I cannot wait until your work is published so I can read more! You have a very unique, storyteller way of saying things.
    One question: from what you said at first, I was under the impression that the Joy Light was one particular thing--like the ark of the covenant or the crown jewels or something--just this one thing here.
    But the last part made me wonder--is it just a concept? There can be any number of Joy Lights? Or is this just how the first one was given to the kingdom...?
    I'm afraid I'm a bit confused... : )

  2. Actually, I'm not sure! I'm hoping to include the Joy Light in Red Sea Rising, but it's something that is very far in the future for the book. These scenes were actually written quite a while back, probably over a year ago.
    At first, I think I had the idea that there were more than one of the Joy Light, but I've pretty much settled one it being only one... maybe? I guess it will sort of depend on what I decide when I get there.
    But the Joy Light (or Lights) were given by Enderel a long time prior to the story here. They'd been around for several hundred years at least, before Enderel gave Gaelrin that one.
    Anyways, I'm so glad you liked it :)