Writer’s Guild Club: The Iron Sky Prologue

Writers Guild Club

By: Karinya Cheesman

Writers Guild is during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Mrs. Pulsipher’s room. It takes place during lunch, so it is highly suggested that students take their lunch up to her room. The presidents of the writers guild are Seniors Autumn Dickie and Chloe Andes.

In the Writers Guild, students get the opportunity to share ideas they have for books, write short stories, and sometimes even write books. Another thing the club does is play Dungeons and Dragons to help them with their writing skills and character building. The Writers Guild is currently writing a dystopian novel about an industrial world and a nature people world all rolled up into one book with exciting twists and turns.

Members of this club are very excited for people to read this book that they are working very hard on, and hope students can give them all some support because they are pouring their hearts into this book. The Writers Guild members were able to let SCHS see the prologue of the book as a teaser. Enjoy!

The Iron Sky Prologue

I forgot the name for a spider.  That is when I knew it was time.

I spend most of my day sequestered in the modern side of the citadel, the seat of my family’s reign for almost 500 years.  It is all glass and chrome, efficiency and productivity.  Hours are filled with meetings and paperwork and by-the-minute decisions.  This is the nature of the monarchy: endless mundane work to keep the fragile empire from crumbling.  But the nights? Those are mine.

My evening routine usually consists of hours reading worn leather-bound books in my grandmother’s hand-woven chair.  The minute I cross from the neoteric hallway into the musty drawing room, I sigh and roll my shoulders, shrugging off the formal structured facade that is my job and my crown.  My soul, however, thrives in the quiet warm spaces of the ancient part of the compound. 

A servant closes the heavy oak doors, leaving behind a tray of my favorite lemon tarts.  That’s the moment I notice movement in the corner of the fireplace. The onyx shape gracefully crawls down a string of web, like a dangerous dangling silk dancer.  But I can’t remember what to call it.  My mind performs a magic trick — the answer is there, and suddenly it isn’t. The name is simply gone. I stare until the arachnid slitters beneath the wood pile.

A thread has snapped.  How many threads have broken before I ever noticed? I knew this was coming.  I was warned long ago.  So why am I so scared?  There is nothing to be done but prepare and pray it all goes according to plan.

I meander along the corridor, deliberately studying the panels of portraits I usually ignore.  This is the tapestry of my forebears, the mighty House of Shippen who have ruled this land since Armageddon, when rocks fell from the sky and transformed the world. 

There are many stories scrawled on the walls of this castle. 

The first Emperor Louis Shippen, my many-great ancestor, who gathered the survivors.

My great, great uncle who abdicated his position to be a professor of science.

Great grandmother Adrieanna who prospered in peacetime and her brother Felix who left to explore the Wilderland (and the creatures who live there) but never returned.

Grandfather Jax who was assassinated a year after I was born.

Second cousin Bren who ran away to live in the woods with her magic-welding partner.

My mother and father, Lady Lanea and Emperor Madoc, who were brought together to appease many factions but themselves.

My younger sister Valincia who married a woodland magistrate but died in childbirth.

And me.  I have no heir.  I am the last of a lineage born from strength and stubbornness. I am the product of centuries of warring people and philosophical battles, none of which I have any real control or power over.  I must remain neutral between the Nythir and the Sylvari, lest our world collapse into chaos.  All I have is my library, my holodisk of pre-armageddon music, and Ferdinand, my favorite companion, friend, and flying partner.

He greets me as I reach the atrium I had built next to my chambers.  The warm breath from Ferdinand’s nostrils blows on my face as I stroke his crimson neck, remembering to be careful of the scale by his right ear he injured the previous afternoon.  It’s still difficult to believe they didn’t have dragons before the change, but I have seen the documents.  That explosion changed the very fabric of the world.  And the fabric of my brain.  I knew the sickness would eventually find me.  It is the payment for my gift, I remind myself as I lean against his massive shoulder.

Ferdinand senses my memories.  That morning sixty years earlier when I found his discarded shell in the forest behind the royal castle. I heard him first in my mind.  Soft gentle sounds cried in my skull as he shook out his wings for the first time.  Then I listened, not with ears but with my innocent seven-year-old soul.  “I am scared,” he whispered.  So I sent a timid reply through this new connecting thread.  “I am here” I thought.  The small red creature at my feet smiled.

We have not spent a day apart since.  Fernidnand can read my thoughts, and I his; he can sense my mood better than I can.  This is what makes us special but will also be my downfall.  The mental toll is peeling away my memories and thoughts one thin thread at a time until I am left an incoherent husk, like my grandmother before me.

Eventually I sit down at my father’s oil-stained desk.  I grab the paperweight from the pile of reports of child raids in Woodland and protest fires in Steeltown.  I roll the familiar round glass ball in my left palm, a habit learned in the training of my youth. This trinket inherited from my father, and his father before him, has seen many monarchs stare into its depth, where a small molten piece of metal slumbers.   I take a steadying breath and open the bottom right drawer to find the envelope I have never wanted to open.  Written in my father’s precise handwriting is my name.  Slowly I read through the contents, the instructions sounded out decades before for this very moment. 

Sharply I call for a servant to prepare Ferdinand as I shove the repacked envelope, a few essential items, and a favorite book into my flying case.  I rush to the door before remembering to grab the paperweight, now the most important relic in the entire archaic building.  As a hurry down the stairs to the atrium, I make a mental list of tasks to accomplish: inform senate magistrates, send the declaration, hide the artifact, study the prophecy, and try to stay lucid long enough to succeed.

I am Empress Yasmin Acampora Coltrane Shippen and it is time to end this feud, unite my people, and save the world before all is lost.


Members of this club are very excited for people to read this book that they are working very hard on, and hope students can give them all some support because they are pouring their hearts into this book. Enjoy!