The entire manuscript can be found here: Starblood Manuscript
Part I: Enquan
The Aduran Mines
Thirteen years later.
Torri 09614 has never seen herself. From what her friend, Torri 09134, or AZ as she called him, has told her, she has thick wavy black hair, that is almost always frizzy. Her eyes are a chocolate brown color, and her skin a pasty white from the lack of sunlight. She has thick bushy eyebrows and a long and thin nose, along with a smaller top lip and a fuller bottom lip.
The day began like every other. The Torri woke up at dusk, dragged from their beds, and suited in hot, odorous suits and sent underground to the mines. The mines were small, cramped spaces, without the Torri working there, and were even worse when they were. From dusk till dawn, the Torri worked, without food, water, or sleep. They were forced to mine for stones called Synopals. Synopals were the life force of Enquan, and they were quickly burning out.
Torri 09614 worked in the East Mines, also called the Aduran Mines. She, along with her friend, AZ, worked all night to find a Synopal. And if they found one, they would live another month. Synopals were rare enough that Torri were being executed right and left. Synopals were being collected at dusk tomorrow, and Torri 09614 had yet to find one.
“I found one, XS,” AZ whispered.
Torri 09614 hid a subtle smile when AZ used her nickname, XS. She was happy for AZ. He would get to live another month, chatting with his friends at night. XS had no desire to talk to anyone, nor any hope that she could escape from this hellhole. Her nights were filled with the endless sounds of iron on stone and the inescapable sight of solid gray stone walls. Her days were filled with a cold bed, and little if any sleep after a tasteless meal of grayish slop.
Two years ago, XS’s heart held hope for escape. But Zoran snatched the light from her life, plunging her into an eternal darkness. Zoran was Cyran, a noble, who was very hostile to Torri. But when his sparkling jade eyes landed on XS, his face had softened. A smile had even broken out on his face. Zoran had helped XS plan her escape, and even the Cyran’s demise. XS had foolishly fallen for his manipulative tactics. On the day XS, AZ, and YK, another friend of hers, had decided to escape, Zoran had handed their plans to the Chief Overseer, his uncle. They were caught and beaten for their sins. It was there, under the Chief Overseer’s whip that XS had broken. When she saw the betrayal on her ex-friend, Zoran’s, face. When her skin screamed in agony over the lines branding themselves into her skin. It was there that XS resigned to her fate.
A slight pull on the manacles that had been shackled to XS’s hands signified the end of the workday. She felt no despair to her coming death. In fact, she felt a calmness that had been elusive before. XS followed AZ, and the other prisoners to a room carved from the stone they worked to erode. The room was big enough for a hundred thousand Torri and was lined with cell after cell. Five Torri were assigned to a small cell that had originally held a single prisoner.
The Torri all formed a single line to get some food that was actually slop. Sometimes XS had dreams of extravagant meals filled with baked potatoes and stuffed turkey and sweet cranberry sauce. Those days were the hardest, trying to keep down the tasteless food they served.
XS was standing directly behind AZ. He would be considered a handsome man if he wasn’t Torri. He had thick locks of reddish-brown hair, carefully cropped each week by Cyran guards. He had forest green eyes, and pale skin, from the lack of sunlight.
When XS’s turn came, she was handed a small metal bowl with her meal. She followed AZ to their usual location. They sat next to Torri 14729, or YK, a young boy with curly brown hair, dark brown eyes. He was pale like the rest of them, and was the only one of them who could actually smile. YK’s smile wasn’t the fake smile the rest of them sometimes plastered on their faces. It was a bright boyish smile, filled with joy and hope.
“Did you find a Synopal, YK?” AZ asked when he sat down beside him.
“Nah, but don’t worry. I created this plan to bypass the guards. They’ll never know I didn’t find a Synopal this month.”
YK’s confidence was staggering, and his optimism was unfounded. XS believed that YK’s spirit had yet to be crushed, but it would as all Torris’ had been.
“You find one?” YK asked AZ.
AZ answered with an affirmation, and the boys continued their conversation. Daybreak was like this most of the time. While both AZ and YK liked XS, they had gotten used to the fact that after Zoran, XS was like a talking moving statue. She could speak and do work, but she didn’t feel anything.
A couple minutes later, another pull on her manacles had XS, AZ, and YK standing. They walked to cell number 114 and 115. XS and YK were both in the same cell, 114, but AZ was in 115. As soon as all of the cell members had entered the cell, it denied access in or out of the cell.
“Did you find a Synopal, XS?” YK asked from his corner of the cell.
“You want me to change the plan to include you too?”
“Thanks, YK, but no. I think my time has come.”
“Alright. But spend your last day at the school. With me. Please.”
“YK!” XS whined. “If, and I mean if, we escape far enough to get to East Central High, then why don’t we escape for good?”
“Well, I’m planning on learning the final steps to creating my Translet, and I’ll go, finish the Translet, and then I’ll escape another day. Besides we need to get away from the planet, not just the Aduran Mines.”
“And I’m coming because?”
“You used to have an interest in this kind of stuff. In fact, you taught me. Come, I might need help.”
“Fine,” XS conceded, “but how are we getting to ECH?”