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Niche book progress!


Philo
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Hey everyone 
We are currently trying to see if we can write a Niche book, together with an author!
The story is about Nara, Adam's sister, who is left behind on Home Islands after Adam is kidnapped by a blue birds.
Would really love to hear your opinion about these first few pages.


Chapter 1

Nara jumped up on the large log which protected the nest from the wind. It was only the beginning of autumn, yet the air was already cold. Too cold. The branches of the trees above her were moving in the breeze. Red leaves fell around her like rain. She took a look at the group of Nichelings below. They were pawing at the pile of purple berries between them. One of the older tribe members pushed some towards a cub.

“Where is Adam?” Nara asked.

“He left when the sun was high,” the oldest of the tribe replied, who was called Tala.

“Do you know where he went?”

“No. He didn’t say.”

Nara growled. She loved her brother dearly, but sometimes he really got on her nerves. They were not supposed to go out on their own. Sure, they were older than most of the other cubs, but it was still dangerous. Cubs didn’t go out on their own.

“We don’t have enough food for tomorrow,” Nara said. “I will look for some up on the cliffs.”

She wasn’t supposed to go out on her own either, but sometimes it was necessary. Especially now, when there was so little food. Tala bared her fangs as she licked the purple berry juice from her fur. It was a warm brown, covered in stripes, which made it easy to hide in the grass. All of them shared this colour, some lighter, some darker.

“Be careful, Nara.”

“Always,” she replied with a toothy smile.

“I wouldn’t advise on leaving the cover of the trees,” Tala remarked. “It’s too dangerous alone.”

Nara nodded as she went. It took her about an hour to reach the cliffs behind the forest. She knew from experience that small animals lived out here, just under the ground. They were called stagmoles and were just what they needed. Nara wasn’t the best in sniffing them out, and in fact none of her tribe had a very good nose… but she could hear them scurry around underground. With her large ears close to the ground, she advanced carefully.

Even when she was alone, Nara was always careful to be silent. She set her cushioned paw on a stone without a sound. With so many dry leaves and sticks, it wasn’t easy to be quiet, but Nara was very good at sneaking.

There it was! She could hear them… and just behind a small patch of grass she saw the horns of a stagmole poke out, facing away from her. Her mouth watered. She hadn’t had any food all day. Nara readied herself. In one long jump she pounced on the unaware creature, catching it neatly before it retreated into its burrow. One stagmole wasn’t much, but it was something. She sat down to catch her breath and looked up at the setting sun. It would be dark soon and she needed to be home in time. But before that… She lowered her head to bite into it. It smelled great… 

“Hey there!”

Nara jumped in shock, her fur standing up. She looked around to see…

“Adam!” she shouted in frustration. “Don’t creep up on me like that!”

He’d snuck up on her, as was his specialty. Adam jumped over and poked at the stagmole with his paw.

“What?” he said, bratty as always. “Are you mad I caught you sneaking a quick snack?”

“I wasn’t sneaking a snack. I was hunting,” she said and looked down at the small animal under her paws. “Wanted to bring some of them back. There isn’t enough food.”

Adam hummed and it sounded like a purr. He looked up to the sky, which was turning orange in the sunset. 

“So that’s why you came all the way out here,” he said.

Nara nodded and growled. She’d chosen the cliffs because it was too far away for the old and very young to go to. In the forest and grasslands around the nest they had collected all ripe berries already. There wasn’t much left since they grew so slowly. Stagmoles were much harder to catch than berries… Maybe they would have to move the nest again soon.

“Why are you here?” she asked.

“The same reason,” Adam answered. “I’ve already hunted some of them. The stash is hidden under a rock near the cliff edge. We can carry it back together.”

“Tala says it’s going to be cold tonight. The wind is already freezing. We need to bring back a lot more than a few. Maybe we can’t go out tomorrow if it is too cold.”

“Then we have to look for more.”

“I’ll do it,” Nara offered.

“We shouldn’t be going out alone…”

Nara laughed. “And what did you do today? Go ahead, carry yours back. I’ll be right behind. Bringing more than you ever could.”

“You don’t have to see everything as a challenge, sister,” Adam replied.

“Fine,” Nara relented. She brushed her head past Adam’s. “I love you, you idiot.”

“Love you too,” he replied with a grin that showed off his sharp fangs.

She watched him bound away. He ran along the cliffs to a stack of rocks just at the edge in the distance. Ah, he had hidden the food in their old spot. The one their parents had shown them so many moons ago. As he jumped up on the stones, Adam’s fur shone in a bright orange in the sunset.

Nara huffed. Showoff. 

She lowered her head to eat the stagmole after all. Her gaze fell on the single gem on her chest, which sparkled in a vibrant green in the setting sun. Suddenly the colours were swallowed by darkness as a shadow passed over her. Nara almost choked on the meat she was chewing. She spat out the rest and cleared her throat.

“Adam!” she howled. “Above you!”

He didn’t hear her—he was already too far away. She could see him on the rocks in the distance, running away alone. Nara watched the sky in horror. The sunlight was briefly blocked out by a pair of gigantic wings. For a moment it was as if night had already fallen.

“Adam!” she shouted again. “Hide! Adam!”

Nara observed him bounce ahead of the shadow and gnashed her teeth. She had to help him! Her powerful legs pushed her forward. She was a good runner, almost as fast as Adam. Claws dug into the ground to give her more speed. It was foolish. She would make herself a target too, in the open like this. The bird of prey didn’t seem to have seen her yet, but if she kept running like this… 

Adam disappeared behind some bushes. The bird circled around again, its large eyes clearly searching for food. Then, with a screech it opened its talons and dove down towards the ground. Nara’s heart almost stopped. She ran as fast as she could, but she was too late.

“Adam!” she screamed.

The bird of prey took off again, right in front of her eyes, Adam clutched in its talons, shouting in fear. For a moment she could see it clearly. Two wings, dark blue against the sky. A pair of claws almost as large as Adam’s body. A curved beak screeching in victory. A yellow eye glinting in the light. Then it was gone, rising into the sky, turning away with powerful flaps of its gigantic wings. With it, Adam was gone.

“No…” Nara cried. “No!”

She ran after the shadow, along the cliff. Her eyes were clouded with tears. She ran and ran… until there was no more ground to follow it. She stopped at the very edge of the cliff, high up over the ocean which surrounded their island.

In the distance the wings of the bird grew smaller. She tried to see if Adam was still in its claws, but it was already too far away. The large birds hadn’t come to their island for so long. They had thought they were safe. Stupid. You were never safe. Not when you were alone.

Nara stared after the dot in the sky until it disappeared in the clouds. She remained motionless for a long while, tears running through her fur as night fell.

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I enjoyed it. I've been curious about her story since you posted a similar chapter last year. Are you planning to do it digital or hard copy? Will we be seeing art/pictures with it?

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@FawnCat I don't really know yet ^^
If at all possible a hard copy would be awesome I think.
Our current plan is to see if we can find a publisher and if not (or if we're not happy with the offered conditions), we would most likely crowdfund the book. Which would probably include tiers for both digital and physical copies of the book.

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1 minute ago, Philo said:

@FawnCat I don't really know yet ^^
If at all possible a hard copy would be awesome I think.
Our current plan is to see if we can find a publisher and if not (or if we're not happy with the offered conditions), we would most likely crowdfund the book. Which would probably include tiers for both digital and physical copies of the book.

Hard copies would be great to have. Hope to hear more about it when you know:)

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  • 3 months later...
On 3/2/2021 at 5:37 AM, Philo said:

@FawnCat I don't really know yet ^^
If at all possible a hard copy would be awesome I think.
Our current plan is to see if we can find a publisher and if not (or if we're not happy with the offered conditions), we would most likely crowdfund the book. Which would probably include tiers for both digital and physical copies of the book.

does this still exist?

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