|The Valley of BloodWe pitched our tents on a rise right in the middle of the fields. Green crops surrounded us on every side and disappeared over the distant horizon. As the breeze dallied amongst the seedlings, we could imagine that we were living on an island surrounded by gentle green wavelets. everything indicated that this year the fates would smile on this country whose history is tied to the amount of rain that falls. You could even receive the impression that the rain could topple a regime.
Our strait hearts opened to the spring. Nature resorted to us the most precious thing that we had lost in the city, freedom. It was embodied in the sky and the earth and every large and small thing in between. Life was new for us, so we reflected joyfully on everything that we saw : a star in the sky, an ear of grain, a bird on a branch; everything we saw captured our attention.
The only thing that spoilt this purity was the approach of some French tax-collectors. No sooner had they arrived than they summoned all the peasants and shepherds so that they might use them to set up their encampment and to make a road between the crops. In fact, they did not need all this because they used to estimate the taxes with a single glance. If you had heard the tax-collectors talking to them, you would have thought they were the owners of the land talking to their workers and employees. They bellowed, tyrannized and oppressed, and the worst of them was their chief. We used to creep close to their encampment to amuse ourselves by watching him as he yelled and cursed, beating the air with his hands, and the ground with his feet. He was always furiously angry.
In Marrakesh, it is not strange for the spring sun to hide behind white clouds. As people there say, April is a shady month. In fact, this only makes spring more delightful and beautiful. However, something happened which made us forget the tax-collectors and their yelling. Clouds followed one another across the sky until it became ominously back, threatening the fertile, mellow ground with ruin and destruction. Suddenly, the gleaming lights of spring had withdrawn behind jet black clouds. An aweful silence pervaded the fields, as if they felt that a disaster was about to fall upon them and destroy their fruits. The peasants and the shepherds were sitting around, fearfully watching the portents of the coming storm. Suddenly, a violent wind arose, and the air became even more dark and oppressive. Then it began to drizzle, and then very quickly to pour with rain. Then the storm broke free of its chains, with thunder, lightning and rain. That filled our hearts with sorrow and distress, because one hour of rain like this is sufficient to destroy the harvest of a whole year.
We Cherished the hope that it was a passing storm, but we continued to hear it raging until morning, and it continued throughout the following day. Finally we realized that we were cut off from the city, and that it had become impossible for us to traverse the roads, either on foot or by vehicle, because they would be awash with mud. Our tent stood up to the storm for seven whole days, then water began to seep in. When our supplies ran out and one of the shepherds went to bring us more from us, he was away for about ten hours. To tell the truth, we found some enjoyment in this. However, it went on and on, and terror crept into our souls and we began to feel that we were threatened with a fearful danger. What would happen if our tent finally collapsed? However, what relieved our distress somewhat was that the tax-collectors were going through exactly what we were going through. They amused themselves by watching us an we amused ourselves by watching them, and probably we exchanged some meaningless gestures.
After the tenth night, we could no longer sleep. everything in the tent was sodden, so we spent the nights sitting and talking. the following night was more fearsome than any of the previous nights. In the darkness our eyes could make out nothing, apart from a faint light in the direction of the tax-collectors. As usually happens when people have been talking for ten days on end, we jumped from topic to topic. however, one of the shepherds, who was a bedouin, was able to interest us in a new subject. And what a subject! Pointing in the glow of the lightning, he said to us, “Look! Do you see that valley? I will tell you about it. It is the Valley of Blood.”
everything around us shot terror into the soul, so this name had a fearsome significance for us. As he spoke, lightning flashed, and in its glow we could see that distant valley. It was as if we had never seen it before. It was a prodegious depression lying at the foot of an old boulder-covered mountain. Large rocks were scattered all over the valley. With one voice, we queried the bedouin, “The Valley of Blood!?”
“Yes”, he said, “the Valley of Blood. In olden days there was a town here, ruled by a tyrant whose life was filled with blood, scandal and robbery; and this valley was the slaughter-house where he slaughtered his victims. As a result of this, a lake of blood formed in the base of the valley. That oppressive ruler was so full of blood-lust that round this lake he laid out palaces and gardens which he made a sanctuary for his unbridled passions. The lake went on expanding, fed by streams of blood from his victims. However, one night, as the ruler was enjoying an evening relaxing on the bank of his red lake, drinking wine and making free with the women, he stood up unsteadily to look at his face reflected on the surface of the lake in the light of the moo,. Then a terrible thing happened! He had hardly reached the edge than thousands of hands stretched out towards him from the depths of the valley – the hands of his victims. They pulled him down screaming into the depths, where he disappeared for ever. Since that time, the valley has been shrouded in mystery, and nobody has been able to approach it of his own accord. It always lures wicked people to itself, and those hands seize hold of them and plunge them into the depths.
The thunder grew louder, increasing our unease. However, our frightened eyes were fixed on the valley, so that we could see it whenever the lightning lit it up. What a calamity! The bedouin, was relating simply the legends of our forebears. We could all see the depths of the valley. There were neither rocks nor emptiness there. It was overflowing with that frightful red liquid, and in the glow of the lightning we could see it seething with blood. We began to tremble so violently that we were struck dumb.
Thunder resounded as if it had been stirred up by the story of the bedouin. Its echoes rolled down to the earth to reverberate in the fearsome depths of the valley, as if a troop of giants were engrossed in terrible mocking laughter. Then the thunder rang out again, and in the glow of the lightning the valley made a frightful reply, and the wave of terror did not leave us until after the thunder had quietened somewhat.
However, the matter did not and there. In the silence that followed the thunder, we heard disturbing cries. It was clearly the voice of a man screaming, drawing nearer and nearer until we could make out what he was saying, “Curse you, you country of violent thunder storms! Just see what I’ll do to you tomorrow! I’ll tear you in pieces and scatter you to the winds! I’ve gone mad! Mad!” Then it thundered again, followed by the voice laughing continuously and painfully.
Then it became clear that owner of the voice had come close to us. In the glow of the lightning, we distinguished a man marching towards us. We were startled when he broke into our tent, smattered with mud, hair dishevelled, red-eyes, face bloated with anger. Then we knew that it was him, the chief of the tax-collectors. At just that moment, his helpers arrived and indicated to us that he was deranged. There was no need to resist him or to reply to him. For his part, he screamed in our faces, “Your thunder does not frighten me. I despise your storms and I will not let them hem me in. I will plough through the mud and the puddles to the paved road, and I will not share in your despicable fate! Die then! Let wayfarers stumble upon you after the storm, corpses covered in mud! Do you understand? It will not be said tomorrow that a Marrakesh storm thwarted a young Frenchman!”
The he raised his hand threateningly. We took a step backwards. Our souls had been crushed by these terrors which surrounded us.
His helpers tried to restrain him, but he hit out at them and leapt out into the mud, with them following behind. We breathed a sigh of relief and tried to laugh in order to convince ourselves that the psychological crisis that we were in had passed. However, one of us turned round, and in the glow of the lightning saw the chief of the tax-collectors marching towards the valley. He beckoned to us silently; and we saw him and exchanged glances.
However, the bedouin who had told us his disturbing story could not restrain his feelings. “Didn’t I tell you,” he cried, “observe how the stories of our forebears are always correct. The avenging valley is drawing the evil-doer towards itself. He will not collect taxes after today. He will arrive at the edge of the red lake and will be snatched away by the hands of the victims he has impoverished, dispossessed and humiliated. They will snatch him away as they snatched the unjust ruler before him and as they will snatch away every haughty evil-doer in the future. Indeed, all the tax-collectors are heading towards the valley to join their victims. Those hidden hands will extract from them the price of the crops that they have ruined, stolen and plundered.”
We looked. They were moving step by step through the mud toward the dreadful valley, the valley seething with the blood of victims, the tears of maidens, the cries of children, the wailing of mothers and the groans of old men. As they drew near to the valley, the thunder grew less and the rain eased off. After that, there remained nothing of the storm except the silent lightning, lightning the way for them towards the Valley of Blood.
Here are some tips you can use to write down your first Fantasy novel :
Before you start writing, you need to read as much creative novels as you can so you can create an insight into the genre.
- Look for inspirations in as many different media as possible : movies, tv shows, fairy tales, documentaries, myths and fables. All of these can help you create ideas.
- Before you take the pencil and write your first sentences, create a list of magical elements. Building a magical history for your novel will strengthen the plot.
- Think about the people in your fantasy novel. Fantasy characters should not talk like modern people, think about the kind of dialects they may have, what they wear and how they react in their environment.
- Make sure that Tension is present in every chapter.
- Write the entire novel, then rewrite. Don’t be a perfectionist because the first draft is rarely the final draft. After you finish your first draft you have plenty of time to go back to polish, edit and revise.