Oranges and Coastlines

A writing board for first thoughts and unpolished ideas.

Category: Characters

Impossibly Old

Nanny appeared impossibly old. She belonged to the house, and drifted from corridor to corridor, room to room, as if she were part of its very life blood. She was a small woman, no taller than 5 foot, and she seemed to thin more and more with each passing year, as if one day she might simply vanish unnoticed into the wallpaper. Her features were sharp, accentuated in old age by wafer-thin skin which hung from high cheekbones, giving her a gaunt, almost emaciated appearance. In her youth she had possessed an astonishing and intimidating beauty, but the years had not been kind, and those cheekbones, coupled with a razor-sharp jaw line and narrow, puckered lips, created a look reminiscent of a desperate crow. She would have been terrifying, Ada often thought, were it not for a softness that had found home in those ancient green eyes. Even when her tone held nothing but reproach, as was often the case, those eyes radiated nothing but an honest, and unwavering love. If Ada had known more of life, of its potency and pain, she might have read that softness as sadness. There was a slowness and whispery flow to her movements that so often suggested she was somewhere else entirely, reliving a past moment in a past life. Ada’s voice would draw her back to the present, and she’d smile and stroke her hair, and look at the young girl as if seeing her for the first time. How wonderful, the old woman thought, to know so little of life, that she could not perceive the scars, etched, unhealed, on the windows of the soul.


From the Clouds

Sensible, perhaps, but Abel was not a popular man. He was too serious, too practical, too eager to get things done. In parliament sessions, he made long speeches about the state of the nation, and proposed courses of action which sounded all too much like hard work. Yet he nevertheless commanded a certain gravitas, and with that respect. He was taller than most, and neither as wide nor as self-aggrandising. He swept into rooms which seemed to shrink other men and turned leaders into docile sheep. He had a shrewd, calculating edge, and a sharpness of wit that cut through arguments like a knife through butter on a hot summer’s day. And on a moment’s notice, he could turn, with a gleam in his eye, and charm a camel out of its humps. Accompanied by a natural grace and tantalising smile, his charm came with such ease it left people both mesmerised and unnerved. As such, people both craved and dreaded his company, and he never left a room without leaving at least a few weak in the knees. He unsettled people, and this trait did not spark popularity. However, those who felt the world spin turned to him, and with a calm ferocity he led them across the Rubicon.

This is how the war started.

The clouds were how it ended.