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 prologue and 1st Chapter of a story I'm writing!

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PostSubject: prologue and 1st Chapter of a story I'm writing!   Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:25 pm

I've been writing this story for over a year and it's nowhere near complete. I'm not a writer I just do it when I'm bored and have the time. Up to you if you read it but if you do leave feedback - be brutal - I need to learn so all suggestions and comments will be welcomed! I'm on chapter 22 atm, still at least 10 chapters from the end.

PART 1:
THE RETURN OF CHAOS

PROLOGUE
THEY CAME BY BOAT




This story was set in motion eons before a mysterious boat came to dock on the north-western shores of Elemenphis, but this is where it begins for a young girl called Alyssa Redbridge.
The scouts who first spotted the vague outline of the ship through the midnight mist believed it to be a Human vessel approaching, and the mere mention of the race from beyond the bay – named by village elders as Leviathan’s Doom - left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Elementals.
Elemenphis is separated from Mainland by the Leviathan’s Doom, the only land related access to the Elemental’s Kingdom stymied by mountainous regions to the east. The vast bay acts as the perfect divide against two of the three conflicting races of Humes.
Humans and Elementals have never coexisted; they’re divided, each side bearing contempt for the other, and also fear. Humans fear magic and Elementals fear the Human armies. Each side of the rift fear the others power.
Elementals were chased out of Human cities long ago for their opposing dogmatic beliefs. Whilst Humans preached monotheism, elementals worshipped multiple deities, which were seen as an absurdity and an act of debauchedness against god. It was these doctrines that emitted from the Human chapels that eventually led to attempts to subjugate the Elementals but ultimately, they failed. The Elementals fought them back before setting sail from Mainland and setting up small settlements on what they called Elemenphis, away from any human populous. This was not through cowardice, but out of respect to the planet, Gaia.
They had access to great power, one sufficient enough to have waged a mighty war against their oppressors, but the conclusion would have left both sides devastated if not wiped out completely, and they also knew the real reason behind the churches actions.
Human kings and queens, along with popes and bishops, envied the Elementals power and used their own leverage to turn their followers against them, and to ultimately strengthen their own dogmatic law. Normal, everyday Human civilians weren’t the real problem; it was those with a claim to political power – royalty, nobles, and members of the church. After many riots and unsuccessful battles, the Elementals fled Mainland, and the Human armies returned to their own cities, where they slowly began to forget, but the fear of each other remained.
Eventually, the two races were left to their own devices and avoided each other. Now the only common traits they share are reasons to hate one another, an odium that remains to this very day. And that is why the scouts frowned upon the Human vessel approaching through the curtain of the mist; they wondered what the defilers of Gaia could possibly want in Elemenphis.
The night was eerily quiet as it approached, each rider from Cobbington feeling something wasn’t quite right. The leader of the three – a tall bearded man with hair as black as a raven – held aloft an eye glass to peer closer towards the upper decks of the boat. Through the haze of the mist he saw the vague apparition-like form of a man holding the wheel – the vessel’s captain he presumed – but the fog was too thick to see much else. Had it been a clear night, he would’ve surely seen the horde of trident wielding demons standing behind him, and then maybe the beginning of this tale would’ve woven a different pattern altogether for the sixteen year old girl, safely tucked up in her bed back in The Broadheart Wood. They might’ve made for Cobbington to prepare an army of their own to fight off the beasts, but the weather conditions around the Leviathan’s Doom concealed their malevolent presence until it was far too late.
As the boat berthed, so did the demons. The three scouts were vastly outnumbered, and even on horseback couldn’t evade the agile beasts, which the youngest of the scouts described as scaly monsters with the heads of giant snakes, moments before his last breath escaped him.
Then the men came, nasty and vile to their very souls, stepping from the recently commandeered Human vessel. They trod upon Elemenphis, knowing that she was here, in Cobbington, the one they’d spent a lifetime searching for. Their hunt was coming to an end and soon the end-game would begin. The end of days were nigh, and the rebirth of chaos was certain.
Only one of the men departed for Cobb, the rest stayed for they had to be sure she was there first. Darius had made a plan to get into the village unnoticed. The army of trident wielding demons were to attack in force later, giving enough time for him to find the girl and her guardian. He was under strict orders to kill her, kill them all if need be, but make sure the girl perished. His father would be furious if he screwed things up yet again and that’s the real reason he sent those cruel beasts, to make sure as little survived in their search as possible.
As Darius retrieved a magical cloak that would grant him access to Cobb with ease from the boat, he walked off into the night. And it was during tomorrow’s massacre at the village in Cobbington that Alyssa’s story begins . . .

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PostSubject: Re: prologue and 1st Chapter of a story I'm writing!   Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:27 pm

PART 1:
THE RETURN OF CHAOS

CHAPTER 1:
BAD DREAMS



I


If the flames of the netherworld were indeed real, these were it, Alyssa thought as she stood amidst the conflagration.
Fire swept around her bare feet, caressing them with blazing tongues. She was afraid. She looked around. The woods were clad in a sea of searing red flames. Trees seemed to be writhing, like they could feel themselves being burnt. She thought they were screaming, it sounded like they were.
The heat intensity was increasing which wasn’t the worst aspect. The worst was that there was heat intensity. Deep down she knew this wasn’t real, but somehow, it was.
She raised her head to see the brilliant light from the fire being reflected off the mirror like body of a crystalline figure, the figure of a Hume. This didn’t scare the white haired girl who was stuck in this visionary inferno. The fire scared her but the crystalline figure never did, she felt the same despair coming from it that she felt right now.
She couldn’t move and she couldn’t speak. She wanted to scream as the flames burnt her but no sound came forth from her vocal chords. She looked at the figure that was being swallowed by the flames. It pointed at her. No. It pointed past her, trying to show her something that was looming behind, but still she couldn’t turn.

Then, nothing . . .


II


Alyssa woke with a jolt, only to be met by the gentle darkness that masks her room at night.
She felt hot; baking almost, like her body was sat next to a furnace. Her room wasn’t the source of this sweltering heat, she realised it was her.
An open window allowed a gentle breeze to enter from the tenebrous woodland surrounding her uncle’s cabin. As the zephyr brushed gently up against her, she realized beads of sweat dripped from her face and body, pasting her chemise against her like shrink-wrap. The heat struck the way fever inflicts a child, and all she could do for the first passing moments was to lay in her saturated bed garb gasping for breath, awaiting her body temperature to subside. She’d just woken from the same reoccurring nightmare that’s plagued her for months.
Before that it was just momentary flashes - fleeting visions of burning trees or dark figures between dreams, regular dreams, neither of which she remembered much when she woke - but these transitory images caused consternation which remained after she exited the dream world.
As sweat seeped from her hair and onto the sodden sheets below, she realized she was clutching her chest. With a shaky right hand she gripped at the area just above where her heart would be if she wore it on the outside of her skin. She knew instantly she was grasping at her birthmark.
Under the spell of light it’s perceivable as a faded, linear drawing of a leafless tree with but two branches, one higher than the other, and on opposite sides of the trunk. That’s how Alyssa sees it anyway, and she rarely parades it for others to see. In actual fact, the only eyes to have ever seen her birthmark are those of her uncle Cyprian, and those of Mrs Scrimshaw, the latter of who used to teach Alyssa the art of potion brewing at Cobb’s School for Elementals.
Pulsations of heat coursed through her body causing giddiness, like she might faint, and where her shaky hand cupped was its origin. She could feel it burning her palm.
The sensation would abate soon enough, she knew, as it did so every night for the past two weeks. And with that thought, the throbbing begins to slow, and gradually, her body temperature cools, leaving her sighing with relief.
The nightmares were becoming more vivid, even painful. She felt actual heat convection from the flames that were creeping around her, attempting to swallow her whole.
She lacked education in the field of dreams and its philosophies, but felt positive that one shouldn’t comprehend real heat from an illusionary blaze, but heat is what she felt and it hurt, for real.
Alyssa cast her thoughts back to the vision. She dreamt of burning woodland and amidst the flames stood the mysterious figure of a being shaped like a female Hume, but with a crystalline exterior. Her body was mirror like; it reflected the blaze definitively, as if the fire burned within her. She appeared to point at something moments before she woke in the dark.
Any attempt to interpret these nightmarish visions just perplexes her further, but Alyssa feels they share a connection with her birthmark. She doesn’t know what the connection is but its there, just like the room she is in is dark, but she knows the wooden panelled walls are there behind the shadows.
Whenever she tries to think about it she is left with a profound confusion of mind that drives her to the belief that she may be losing her sanity, even though deep down she knows this not to be true.
These troublesome thoughts are the driving force behind her leaving the cabin and sitting by the lake, waiting for the sun to rise, like she has done every morning for weeks now in an attempt to forget.
Alyssa has always lived with her uncle, Cyprian. The cabin they share stands in The Broadheart Wood, just outside the south-western village of Cobb, where she works as a potion trader with her former mentor, Mrs. Scrimshaw.
Ever since leaving school, Alyssa has been devoted to the art of potion brewing. It was always her favourite subject, that and Language. She showed aptitude and zeal in practical and theoretical lessons, which delighted Edna so much so that she opted to train her beyond her graduation.
The small trading village of Cobb derived its name from the surrounding area of Cobbington in the south-west of Elemenphis, and the only places further south are the woodland where she lives, and the southern shores.
Many Elemental villages are scattered around Elemenphis, eastward of Cobb, where she spends most of her time working on Edna’s stall.
Cyp’ – as he’s sometimes referred to - told her he built the cabin with his good friend of old Drake – of whom Alyssa felt of as avuncular in his own right - shortly after her parents died in a fire that burnt down their former village home, but sometimes, she wasn’t so sure about their deaths.
Whenever she inquires about them his nose would twitch and his eyes would flicker strangely, like he struggling with a lost memory, something important, but with no real systematic reason to place doubt, she accepts his words. After all, she trusts him with her life.
The room she has grown up in possesses its own quaint appeal to the senses. The timber of which it’s crafted – although stained and lacquered - feels warm and natural to the touch. Each room smells rich and homely, a pleasant place to gain solitude away from prying eyes and the relentless gabfests found elsewhere. In short, they enjoyed living in recluse.
Cyprian’s and Drake’s craftsmanship is nothing to trifle with, the cabin looks very impressive on the outside and is insulated well on the inside, leaving the cabin with a warmth in the winter seasons. Wooden furniture made from fallen oak trees also pay personal homage to the cabin, which at present is shrouded in darkness.
As her pupils contrasted to the shadows she starts to make out the vague form of a small wick lamp stood on her bedside table. She steps out of her bed, and onto the rug that spreads across the entire wooded floor. She turned towards the table and felt around its surface until she heard a small cardboard box rattle beneath her touch. She then removed the lamp’s chimney and stood it up next to it.
She picked up the box of matches in preparation to light the lamp, pushed it open and took out a single match then proceeded to flick it against the strike at the side of the box. As the flaring sulphur tip illuminated the room it bore light upon the white chemise she had slept in, revealing the rosy patterns that adorn the dress along with marring patches of sweat.
Advancing the lighted match towards the lamp, she attempts to cup it with her free hand but just as she lowers it towards the wick a gust of wind blew through the open window and distinguished the flame.
She exhaled heavily in frustration and drops the match into a little clay pot that she knows is already brimming with charred stubs all used the past few weeks after waking in the dark from the reoccurring nightmare.
She shook the box but no sound broke the room’s silence. She needed the light so she could find some warmer clothes in one of her drawers that stand against the wall nearest the open window. She knew she would have to attempt to cast, but didn’t like to.
During her time at school she’d never been confident trying to channel elemental powers from Gaia even though all the other kids had been able to pick it up quickly, and mocking her for her failures. Fire was always the hardest, as it’s not one of nature’s natural elements; it’s a reaction to certain causes. Still, what can exist on Gaia’s surface, can be harnessed. Also, fire casting was very useful for lighting lamps when you’ve run out of alternative means Alyssa thought.
Closing her eyes she held her right hand above the lamp. The night was voiceless save for flittering of distant wings that barely disturbed the slumbering woods. She attempted to push aside all thoughts so she could call upon Gaia like she was taught to do.
She knew very little about the world’s mythologies and legends but her Uncle Cyprian tried to explain about Gaia whilst sitting around camp fires when she was younger-

‘Each and every living being, no matter how big or how small, shares a connection with Gaia, the world on which we tread,’ Cyprian preached as the glow of the fire caused the shadow of his nose to flicker.
‘Even us?’ young Alyssa asked.
‘Yes, but not all share this belief. Many consider the notion of a living world as folly,’ he said.
‘Who does?’ Alyssa asked.
‘Well a certain race of Humes does for a start.’
‘I thought we were Humes?’
Cyprian sighed. ‘Okay let me explain this to you. As you should already know there are three races of Hume’s that live upon Gaia. Each race has different abilities and beliefs.’
‘Three?’ Alyssa asked whilst taking a bite from her marshmallow on a stick.
‘Yes. There are those, like you, who possess the ability to draw power from Gaia to use magic. They’re called -’
‘Elementals,’ she butted in.
‘Elementals, yes,’ he regained his line of thought. ‘Then there are those who have no magic ability at all, they’re called -’
‘Humans,’ she exclaimed looking at her half eaten marshmallow.
‘Yes, Humans,’ he said slowly, ‘I see you already know what I’m trying to tell you, so maybe you wouldn’t mind telling me what the name of the third race of Hume is.’
‘Well . . . I don’t think I’ve heard of a third kind,’ she lowered her head.
‘No?’ he asked with sarcasm, ‘would you like me to tell you then or would you care to venture a guess?’
She went silent and shook her head.
‘The third are Empaths.’
‘What’s an Empath?’ she took another bite from her marshmallow.
‘An Empath can feel the emotions of other living beings and can sense their auras. They are nearly all but extinct nowadays; either that or they’re in hiding someplace. You see, evil beings used to take them as slaves for they have the ability to locate other beings, or powerful -’
‘And they all share a connection with Gaia?’ Alyssa interjected enthusiastically, not waiting for her uncle to complete his tale.
‘Yes,’ he replied hesitantly, slightly annoyed at her interruptions. ‘but in different ways. Elementals can harness the wonder of elemental and other such magic by channelling g Gaia’s life-force through them, whilst Empaths possess no magic power but can communicate with Gaia.’
Alyssa felt confused. ‘What about Humans?’
‘Humans had none of these gifts so they -’
‘Show me some magic please uncle Cyp’.’
She watched her uncle’s eyes flicker momentarily as he reached one hand into his pocket, and held one hand over a small cluster of un-burnt twigs that protruded from the fire. She wondered why he always reached into his pocket before casting.
Alyssa’s eyes widened as she watched his outstretched hand light up as a narrow beam of yellow light shot fell from it and onto the tinder. They blazed with the rest of them now, and she thought how the power scared her a little -

Pushing the memory aside, she did her best to nullify her mind of all thoughts.
She tried to feel the planet beneath her feet like she was taught. Calmness crept around her as she felt her spirit become lighter, the sleepy wood not daring to break the cabins silence as she soaked up Gaia’s energy. A gentle wind blew in through the open window that disturbed her elegant white hair, tickling the back of her neck as she chanted ‘flame of Gaia.’

Outside of the cabin the trees of Broadheart Wood slept. The shadow of night had fully blanketed Elemenphis, and in the woodland, not a soul was stirring. The darkness outside Alyssa’s bedroom window was momentarily broken by a bright golden-yellow flash that illuminated upon the surface of the lake, followed by a shrill scream that pierced the quiet woods.
After the scream followed hasty footfalls seeking the origin of the tumult . . .
After the footsteps, the sound of Alyssa’s door being kicked open . . .
After which followed bellowing laughter as Cyprian saw Alyssa standing dazed, her eyebrows singed and still smoking . . .

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Last edited by Unsane_Swami on Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: prologue and 1st Chapter of a story I'm writing!   Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:27 pm

III


Mirroring the tranquillity of the night sky upon its placid surface, the lake offers a comfort to Alyssa, its glistening face only ever being disturbed momentarily by rising bubbles from fish that sleep amongst the hidden depths of the water.
Willow trees dipped their leaves into the sheen of the mere – fed by a narrow stream that breaks off from the river that flows though Cobbington - and were also in deep slumber under the lowering moon that was visible through the clearing in the canopy that the lake provides.
It was this serenity and beauty that Alyssa sought after the nightmares, of which she believes to be more akin to visions than night terrors; a warning, a precursor of things to come. She doesn’t know why she believes this but something in her mind whispers to her that badness will soon transcend.
Sitting by the lake’s edge next to the bulky physique of her uncle she tries to banish them to the back of her mind. She soaks up the docile ethos of the wood, mesmerised by the brilliance of the descending moon peering through the canopy.
‘I guess the nightmares are getting worse, otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting by the lake so early each morning,’ Cyprian ventured, breaking the silence.
‘Whatever do you mean? I always sit here, I’m just not tired,’ Alyssa stated as if matter of fact.
She caught her uncle staring hard at her. She yearned to share her fears with him but didn’t wish to sound crazy.
‘When you were younger, I used to see you singing on that very spot you are now. I would stare at you through the window whilst I was cooking your dinner. A voice so beautiful I wouldn’t call to you, I just sat and watched. One time you actually caught me didn’t you? I asked you why you sang to the lake and you told me ‘I’m singing to Gaia and I can feel her singing back.’
Alyssa, although despondent, braved a smile.
‘What I’m trying to say is that I know you. I know something is wrong. You can tell me anything,’ Cyprian said.
Alyssa sighed. ‘The dreams are getting worse. For a week now I have woken up with heat coming from here -’
She held her hand over her birthmark for her uncle to see. He looked at her solemnly and for an instant his eyes widened like he had just seen a ghost.
‘I’m sure it’s nothing. You might be imagining it, I mean, the season is still summery, and we are not in autumn yet.’
His voice possessed a false optimism that Alyssa didn’t find reassuring, and he spoke quickly, which struck her as more than a smidgen of odd. ‘Break of day is upon us. Let’s walk into the village early this morning. It’s been such a long time since I saw the sun rise over Cobb!’
As Cyprian stood, his long grey hair - held loosely in a tail by a leather strap - swung like a pendulum across the breadth of his back.
‘It was you who wished knowledge of my thoughts, why are you suddenly trying to rush off?’ Alyssa demanded to know.
‘I just feel that once you get yourself dressed and we head to the village you’ll feel much lighter of spirit. You like working in the market don’t you?’ Cyprian’s nose began to twitch.
‘Well, yes, but I think -’
‘Let’s go get ready then!’ with that Cyprian hastily disappeared into the cabin leaving Alyssa even more perplexed.
‘If I didn’t know better I would say he knows something I don’t . . .’ Alyssa thought before getting up and heading inside.
She emerged clad in a white blouse tucked into black trousers, both beneath a blue apron. Underneath her arm was a dark grey coat that she put on whilst waiting for her uncle.
Alyssa has always enjoyed working with Mrs. Scrimshaw selling potions on a market stall in Cobb. The villagers and travellers she held day to day dealings with were always friendly, hailing her Miss Redbridge, which she thought sounded very flattering being spoken to as a young lady as opposed to a child, though she was far from nubile.
Cyprian exited the cabin shortly after Alyssa, clad in a black cloak. A silver handled sword jutted from his garment which in turn was held firmly in a black sheath that tapped at his side as he walked towards her.
Being a highly skilled swordsman he works as a sentinel for the village with Drake.
‘Ah don’t you look lovely today Alyssa,’ his eyes filled with a father-like sentiment as he spoke.
‘You say that every morning, yet today I fail to feel so,’ she sighed, turning to face the lake.
‘There’s no need to feel down today, it will be the same as always,’ Cyprian said, trying to avoid speaking of the matter any further.
‘How can you be so sure? I’m beginning to believe that the nightmares will make me despair if they continue to worsen, I just wish I knew what they meant, and that is all,’ Alyssa said.
She turned and began to walk towards the village not waiting for her uncle to speak any more unnecessary pleasantries.
Cyprian hung back for a few seconds and spoke to himself quietly as he watched Alyssa walk north towards Cobbington.
‘You’ll know soon enough what they mean . . .’
With that, he too made for the nearby village.

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PostSubject: Re: prologue and 1st Chapter of a story I'm writing!   Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:08 am

applaud very good
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