Jessica Ragg · the tasks · writing

A Quick Look

I mentioned a while back that I really ought to tell you guys about the main series that I write.

A series called the Tasks.

I actually started it years and years ago when I was thirteen.

The stories are pretty precious to me, mostly because I’ve known the characters so long and because they actually originated from games I used to play with my stuffed animals (although the characters are people now…) I can’t really imagine myself without ‘the Tasks’.

The Tasks is a series based on Time Travel.

The story is basically that every single person originates from this one nation, which has three divisions. The three divisions fought one another for power and control over ‘the Stone’ which could control time.

This war began thousands of years ago however was prophesied to come into conclusion in the future with the rise of a ‘High King’ to united the three nations into one Empire again.

Anyway a part of the reason why I love this series is that the two main characters are just so awesome. They’ve been like… over ten years in the making so they’re basically real in my mind and react in ways that are 100% authentic to themselves.

It’s like I’ve stopped writing for them, and they write themselves.

These two characters are Topaz – otherwise known as the Deceiver, a prince of sorts who is a VERY determined, sort of good guy/bad guy, who seems to balance saving everyone and creating total chaos – and Rika – who is just and good and brilliant and almost fated to tackle the conflict at Topaz’s side.

I have been reading the series all the way through recently, because I am writing the very last book. The other day I came across a particular scene in the second to last book.

Basically everything has fallen apart and the War they never wanted to happen has happened, and in this battle Rika has lost her life and Topaz as a result barely recognizes himself so destroyed by his grief.

I figured I’d show it to you because I literally think it is some of the best writing I’ve done.

Anyway, I’ll talk more about the series eventually but here’s a quick look:

He came directly for the memorial gardens.

He came directly for Rika’s grave. The very place that he had not dared to come.

Standing upon the soft grass he stared ahead, through the darkness, across to the huge willow tree, and to the still lake and the silvery grave stone.

Everything inside of him ached at the sight of it.

Nervously, the Deceiver approached, cautious, his hands trembling. When he was about a few feet from the freshly piled dirt he spoke.

‘I loved you, you know.’ He said grimly, ‘right up until the end. Even now – I think.’ He flinched, eyes downcast, ‘I wish I didn’t. I really, wish I didn’t because I think things would be better for everyone.’

The grave was silent in its response. Heavy, as if suffocating the air from his lungs. He could speak to her all he wanted and she’d never reply. Never again.

‘I should have told you.’ Topaz added, ‘before we went down to face Kato and Spider. I should have said it then, so you’d know. And I wouldn’t have to live knowing that you didn’t know. But I don’t know… maybe you did. Maybe you did know?’ his voice fractured, ‘I didn’t hate you. At all. And I think maybe it would have been better to have whatever time we did have together than to have forced each other to stay apart. But then there’s Valience and Kitty and all of that so I don’t know.’ He kicked at the grass, ‘I don’t know anything anymore.’

Topaz lowered himself down, so he sat, cross legged on the grass, trembling hands in his lap. ‘But I’m too far gone now. And I’m the enemy. And I’m everything I hoped I’d never turn into and it’s all falling apart and it’s not going to end how we expected it do.’

There was a creak in the trees as two birds erupted form the leaves above and into the sky.

‘I would have given anything to switch places.’ Topaz told Rika’s grave softly, ‘anything. It should have been me and you should have let it be me rather than doing what you did. You didn’t make anything better for anyone by saving me.’ Topaz narrowed his eyes, ‘I guess I’m headed where you are now anyway… so I should be happy, and I would be sort of okay with it if I knew that I hadn’t let everyone down. Disappointed them so much.’

Topaz considered the lies he’d told, and the actions he’d done, and the way that he’d acted since Rika’s death.

‘I wish I could go back to the start and do it all over. I’d have done everything different. I’d have told you how I felt from the start. Before any of this. Before you knew I was Namor even. I’d have told you that I loved you and I never wanted to let you go.’ He felt awful saying this now, especially in light of Kitty.

Kitty the girl he was meant to love. The girl he was meant to have completely forgotten about Rika for.

‘But that’s the thing.’ Topaz added, grasping at the grass between his fingers, and ripping at it, ‘I can’t let you go. I can’t let you go… and that’s why I have to do this. I get that you’d hate it. Everything I’ve done and become and whatever but it doesn’t matter anyway because you’re gone and I’m still here and I have to do what I have to do.’ He shrugged, ‘so forgive me. Okay?’ his voice grew rasped, ‘not that you can…’ Topaz’s mouth knotted to one side as he considered the situation. A horrible knowing rested in the pit of his stomach. ‘I think I’m going to die soon.’ He told Rika’s grave softly, ‘I don’t want to. But I’m going to. See the thing is… Rika…’ he hated to say her name but he needed to, ‘I’ve been aware that it’s been headed this way for a while… I’ve known I’m going down for ages now. I guess my time’s up.’ He shuffled as he stood to his feet. Dusting his clothes off.

Taking one last look at Rika’s grave, memorizing it, and wondering if he’d ever be back here, the Deceiver bowed his head in a sign of respect. ‘We gave this our best shot.’ He said softly, before turning and walking away.


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