This week my creative writing class and I collaborated to write a round robin, a story where each person can only add three sentences at a time. Now usually these kinds of things start with school children, continue with dragons taking over the earth, and end with an epic space battle. So I was very impressed with our class that we not only formed a coherent story but made plans to write sequel chapters. I can’t wait to see what’s to come!
The teacher looked out the window. It was such a beautiful day, but she had to stay inside and teach. She had about five minutes before class started. (GAINES)
Suddenly, there was a knock on the teacher’s door, and a young girl poked her head inside. “Miss Gilbert?” she said softly. “Can I ask you a question?
“Certainly,” Missy Gilbert, the teacher, replied. (LEONE)
“Okay, so it’s like this,” the girl began earnestly. “I found this letter, and I think it’s in hieroglyphs, but I can’t read it.” (KIMZEY).
“Let me see,” Miss Gilbert offered, pushing a pair of glasses on her nose and looking over the document. “Those are not hieroglyphs,” she says, her jaw dropping. “This is a language this world has never seen.” (LUPU)
The girl looked up with wide eyes. “I found it in my backpack. How could it be some unknown language?” (LEONE)
“I don’t know,” Miss Gilbert answered as several other fourth graders filtered through the classroom doorway. “How peculiar…I’ve never seen anything like it,” she continued. “Temia, why don’t we discuss this after class?” (RADZIALOWSKI)
Temia hesitated, then nodded her head. “Ok,” she replied, holding out her hand for the letter, but Miss Gilbert hummed.
“Actually, I’d like to keep looking at this, if you don’t mind.” (NOKELBY)
“Okay,” Temia said with a nod. She took her usual seat next to her best friend, Constantine. He poked her arm.
“What was that about?” he whispered.
“I’ll tell you after class,” Temia whispered back. (LEONE)
All throughout the class, Miss Gilbert’s thoughts kept straying off the history lesson she was teaching and back to the paper from Temia. What did it all mean? She tried to put two in two together, running through the recent events at the school through her mind. (RADZIALOWSKI)
Temia, who was extremely smart for a child her age, could tell that Miss Gilbert was not concentrating on the material at hand, but rather on the material Temia had placed into her hand. “I wonder what the big deal with that piece of paper is?” the ten-year-old thought to herself. (HOLLOMAN)
After class was over, Temia and Constantine approached Miss Gilbert’s desk.
“Miss Gilbert,” Constantine said in a proper, no-nonsense voice (rather unusual for a ten-year-old boy), “Temia has informed me of the strange language she found on the paper in her backpack. I believe I may be able to help.” (LEONE)
Miss Gilbert just stared at the boy standing on the other side of her desk. She knew Constantine was a straight-A student, bordering on a geek, but how could this fourth grader have any idea what this language was? She had gotten her Masters in Foreign Languages with a specialization in historic scripts, and she had never seen anything resembling this pictorial code. (KIMZEY)
“You see,” continues Constantine, “I know you think I’m just an ordinary fourth grade boy. But I am nothing of the sort. (LUPU) If you knew who my father was, you would understand.” (KIMZEY)
“Constantine, I know who your father is. He’s on the PTA. I’ve met him many times,” said Miss Gilbert, wondering what on earth was going through the young boy’s head. (HOLLOMAN)
Constantine pulled at his beanie the way he always did when he was annoyed. Here was another foolish mortal who was obviously oblivious to what was going on. “Well, ma’am,” Constantine replied, using what his dad had told him was a polite term for humans, “Us elves must be represented in the PTA or else the goblins would overpower everyone, including you humans.” (RIEDEL)
“Constantine dear, I know you like Lord of the Rings, but aren’t you taking this too far?”
Constantine rolled his eyes. Why must mortals always insult him by saying he is referencing some frivolous human book series? (LUPU)
“Constantine watch out!” Temia cried as she shoved him to the floor. He had been so busy with his thoughts that he had not noticed Miss Gilbert pull a short, thick sword from her desk drawer. As the blade barely missed his head, he recognized the coat of arms embedded in the hilt: the Green Goblins. (RIEDEL)
“Don’t worry, Tem!” Constantine cried, skidding along the tile floor to dodge the blow. “It’s part of the plan — I promise!” (KIMZEY)
Temia looked on with wide eyes as Constantine grabbed a chair and pushed it towards Miss Gilbert, making her stumble. The sword flew out of her hand, missing Constantine by inches, and Temia yelped. “I don’t think you dying is part of the plan!” she shouted. (NOKELBY)
“Run!” Temia yelled and pointed at the doorway. Miss Gilbert’s head whacked against the floor as the children scurried towards the exit.
“Stupid goblins!” Constantine shouted as he quickly grabbed the sword. (CHAN)
Halfway down the hall, the girl skidded to a halt. “Wait! The paper!” (KIMZEY)
“You go on, I’ll get it!” Constantine spun on his heel; his sneakers slid on the slick floor. Approaching the room, he cautiously held the sword forward, and peeked through the door. Where is she? (WHITLEY)
Spotting the paper on Miss Gilbert’s desk, Constantine crept forward several feet and reached out to snatch it. He swiped the document and shoved it into his back pocket.. However, the very second he turned to leave, the door shut with a resounding slam. (RADZIALOWSKI)
Miss Gilbert loomed over Constantine with an evil smile. Brandishing the sword, the young boy kept his distance, edging out towards the center of the room.
“Smart move, shutting us in a room while I have the weapon,” he remarked, somewhat sarcastically. (NOKELBY)
“Oh, you aren’t the only one with a weapon,” smirked Miss Gilbert. And that was when Constantine heard the ominous bangs and thuds coming from the heating ducts. (RIEDEL)
“More goblins?!” Constantine exclaimed in disbelief, striking a defensive pose. Sure enough, several creatures soon began pouring out of the heating ducts, all armed with swords, spears, and pikes. (WESTEREN)
As the beasts descended down into the room Constantine realized the he had no chance of winning this fight without backup. Pressing a button on his watch, he called his mentor on the radio. “Santa! I need backup, now!” (NICHOLS)
Then he turned to face the oncoming assault.
Temia waited nervously at the playground. Constantine should have been back by now, and, despite herself, she was beginning to think something had gone horribly wrong. (RIEDEL)
Shuffling around on her feet, she began staring at the door she had run out of, wondering if she should go back in and look for him. (NOKELBY)
Just then, a bruised Constantine burst into the room Temia was in, eyes were wide. He looked like he wanted to speak, but he didn’t. He motioned for Temia to run. (LEONE)
As soon as they began running across the playground, however, Miss Gilbert burst from the door. But now, her fake human skin had been shed, revealing the green scales of a full grown goblin. Although exposed in broad daylight, the mere mortals could not see her; so was the nature of the Fae. (WHITLEY)
Temia screamed. Constantine ran to her and grabbed her hand. He started tapping away at his palantir disguised as a wristwatch, hoping his father would answer. (LEONE)
“What happened, Constantine?” the girl panted.
He shook his head, still smacking at his wrist.
“Where’s your bean– your ears!” Temia cut off, suddenly noticing the way they came to a point at the top, unlike her own regular, human ones. (KIMZEY)
Constantine ignored the comment, leading her to a gap under the school’s chain link fence. He motioned for her to crawl under first, suddenly wishing he still had that sword. But after what happened in that classroom…. (WHITLEY)
After Constantine squeezed under the fence behind Temia, his friend put a restraining hand on his shoulder. “Stop!” she exclaimed. “I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” (WESTEREN)
Constantine threw his arms in the air, shaking his head. Pointing his finger at his mouth, he made several, wild movements with his hands, and Temia yelled out in frustration.
“Quit acting like you’re having a seizure and start talking! Please!” (NOKELBY)
Tears began to glisten in Constantine’s eyes, and he began to speak to her very softly. “Things are going to change, Temia. All I want is for you to be safe: go to my people in the woodlands and my mother will care for you there.” (HARVEY)
“But, I don’t even know where to find her!” Temia said, slightly exasperated.
“Here,” he pressed a small jewel into her hand, “this will lead you to her. Now scoot!” (HEARN)
“You aren’t coming?” Temia asked, afraid she already knew the answer.
“No … I am sorry, but it has been my duty to protect you, and for now I must continue doing so. Temia, just know that you are very, very special.” (HOLLOMAN)
Temia opens her mouth to form a question, then closes it in shock. She realizes Constantine hasn’t been speaking; she hears his voice in her mind. But before she can say anything, the stone starts to glow world around her spins and spins until she finds herself in a lush, peaceful forest. (LUPU)
Constantine was a fair fighter for his age, but he knew he couldn’t take on a horde of goblins alone. That’s why he had called for help from Santa—the greatest of all the elvish warriors.
Constantine, despite the dangerous situation at hand, couldn’t help but chuckle as he thought back to the silly, Christmas legend the mortals had invented so long ago. (HOLLOMAN)
When Santa arrived, Temia got a wild surprise–Santa was not dressed in white, he did not have a bushy white beard, and he was not obese from eating dozens of cookies. In fact, he looked more like the Elven king Thranduil from the stories Temia’s older brother read. She couldn’t help but feel the need to bow to Santa the cool elf king. (LEONE)
“Where am I?” she asked, looking around at the tall green trees surrounding her.
Santa, who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, waved away her question and instead speedily asked, “Where is the paper with the strange language?”
Temia blinked, confused for a moment, and then frowned. “I…don’t have it. Constantine does, but why do you need-” (NOKELBY)
“Temia,” the Elven warrior’s voice stopped her in mid-sentence. “The paper was placed in your backpack because you are the one prophesied on it; it speaks of one whose purity and valor can unite with the power of our people to vanquish the Green Goblins forever.” Seeing the fear in her eyes, Santa challenged her, “Temia, through the Halari Emerald which my son [Constantine!] gave you, you came to this forest, and that means you are the one with the magic to restore our peace.” (KIMZEY)
Temia shook her head, stammering “No — it can’t– I’m just a fourth grader!”
“You can hear telepathy. You can use magic. You are not mortal, Temia,” Santa says. (LUPU)
Telepathy . . . magic . . . Temia shook her head again in confusion. “But I’ve never done magic in my entire life!” she protested.
“Oh, really?” Santa asked pointedly, causing Temia to remember a strange incident long ago, when she was only five years old. (WESTEREN)
“Temia, do you remember that time, in third grade, when you fell from a tall tree?” Santa asked, adjusting a bow over his shoulder.
The girl nodded and added in a hushed voice, “I didn’t even get hurt.”
“That’s right my dear, and the reason you didn’t get hurt is because you told the ground to catch you—you have the ability to control nature: the wind, the water, the trees … all of it.” (HOLLOMAN)
“Its weird to have the earth listen to me, as if I was its master, i’m just a simple girl, who has the whole world in the palm of her hands” Temia stated glancing up at his gaze.
“But how does one expect me to understand all this, I can hardly understand math problems.” She stuttered shaking her head in dismay. (METZLER)
“Temia. Yes, this is sudden, and yes, you are frightened,” Santa returned. “But understand that there is only one thing for you to do if you are to aid Constantine in defeating these foes.” (KIMZEY)
He removed a satchel on his belt. “You must find your way to Álfheimr; there they shall explain to you your legacy and your purpose. I would lead you there, but first I must rescue my son, before the Goblins take him.” (WHITLEY)
“But how do I get there?” Temia asked.
“That you must discover yourself, brave Temia,” Santa replied. “Travel to Álfheimr and find my wife, Norène, who will help you.” (LUPU).
“O-okay,” Temia said softly.
“I know you can do this,” smiled Santa, moving towards a sleigh that appeared to be hooked up to a group of mythical looking elk. (HOLLOMAN)
“Be careful, and do not leave the forest– travel towards the sun always.” He swung himself into the sleigh, and said, “Good luck. Hopefully we shall meet again soon.” And then he was off. (WHITLEY)
Temia looked down at the green jewel in her hand. Constantine had said it would take her to his mother. And his father had told her to go east — to what, she only wished she knew. (KIMZEY)