Hey! Firstly, thank you for opening the first page, clicking the link, or however you got to this story. It took my about a month, maybe a bit more to write this story and in my opinion, it was all the time worth. But as I write, I tend to look back at my story and think “heck… This is horrible!” but I think any author has to go through that. So be aware, it may seem a bit quick, the first few chapters, such as everything just happens way too quickly. People may tell me, that I should re-write it, and such, but I find that too troublesome, to be honest. I believe that if you write a story, you should just be happy with what you’ve done. If you then go as far as to write more stories, you can place them in a chronological order, and see how you’ve progressed, in the art of writing. I once began writing another story, which took place in the warhammer fantasy world, about a human and a dwarf, who found a relic of great power, and such. It was only later into the story where I found myself thinking “this is… Just like the Lord of the Rings!”. After that, I felt rather discouraged to continue, seeing how it actually wasn’t my own creation. Since then, I kept delaying my schedule of writing and suddenly, I just wasn’t writing on it anymore. Fortunately, that never happened with this story. Well enough of about me! Now, get reading! -Steen, Main Author.
Heat blasted the desert sands, as the nomad camp was placed, despite the unbearable drought. The sun sent its relentless beams of warmth down, only to scorch bare feet, and faces. Ammon, the camp leader issued his orders, sending nomads skittering over the sands, erecting tents with incredible haste.
“No slacking Aapep, you lazy camel!” Ammon shouted. A boy in his teens, who was lying down, shook his head, and stood up, walking towards a partly raised tent. He stood there and watched, yet he did not pull himself together to get to work. Ammon took a small stone from his pocket, and chucked it at Aapep, hitting him in the back of his head.
“Your mere presence does not raise a tent! Get to work!” Ammon said, shaking his fist. Aapep held the back of his head, bent over, and tears ran from his eyes. Ammon sighed, and said
“oh, please. It was a little rock, you skittish dog! Remember, I’ve got my eye on you, so don’t think you can laze today, boy”. A powerful wind blew, sending sand flying, and not making the work any easier. Despite the troublesome weather, and lazy workers, the tents were raised, faster than any city-folk could. The nomads and the city-folks were not much for each other, as the city-folks believed that the desert belonged to the pharaoh, while the nomads believed that the desert belonged to the spirit of the sands, who was a greatly respected deity. This is but one of the many spirits, who are scattered across the world, keeping the balance, and order in nature. Every being of nature, is the spawn of these spirit, and through powerful shamanism, one can call upon the aid of these spirits, creating miracles, which is very sought out. Of course, these shamans are outlawed in the city, because the city-folk believe that the pharaoh is as powerful as a god, if not more. Therefore, if a shaman proved to be able to something, which the pharaoh could not, they were seen as devil-spawn, and branded heretics. When the nomads had successfully raised their tent, they had yet one thing to finish, before having created a sanctuary, safe of any city-folk, and those of another tribe.
Ammon clapped his hands, and said “good work, men! You amaze me every time. We are truly, the best travelers in the sands of Aloria. Never have we been surpassed, and we will never be! Now, let’s finish the job, while we are at it.” He nodded at a nomad, sending him in to the maze of tents. After a few moments, the nomad returned, with an old, bearded man, with a walking stick, and several bones, skulls, and other artifacts, hanging from his robes. His walking stick was covered in strings, with the feet of beasts at the ends. This man was the highly respected shaman of the Q’lir tribe, revered over any other member of the tribe. He walked slowly towards a spacious plain area in between the tents, created purely for this sacred ritual. A crowd gathered to see this magnificent event, yet they kept a distance, in fear of causing any problems. When the shaman entered the plain area, which now was a circle because of the crowd, he began drawing a ring with several incomprehensible signs on the ground, chanting all the while. The crowd remained silent, staring at the Shaman, who had nearly completed the ring. The excitement rose, as he drew the last line in the circle, and with a mighty pound, he hammered his walking staff into the middle, making the signs glow, and making the ground tremor. The audience shielded their eyes, as sand was sent flying everywhere, obscuring what was happening. Ammon peeked through his fingers, seeing a great figure rising from the ground, surrounding the camp, and covering it in an enormous shadow. As the sands fell, and the tremor seized, an incredible sight was revealed. A huge wall of sand had been raised from the ground, transforming the encampment into a fortress. The shaman panted, and leaned on his walking staff. The crowd was in absolute awe, and silent as the grave. This was yet another miracle created by their tribes shaman. He had shown his powers before, by creating rivers from the northern, or southern waters, or creating oases which is necessary in these dry times. But not all shamans are miracle-makers. To the west was the great volcano, Ravar, which was seen as dead for ages. Despite the expectations, Ravar erupted 15 years ago, and a certain evil deity took this chance to emerge from the nether-world. It was the spirit of corruption, Zachet, who spread his curse miles away from the volcano, causing rot, and death to consume the lands, which are now known as the Cursed Lands. And where there is evil, there are followers, and cultists, that worship Zachet, and embrace his corruption. Many are simple farmers, and travelers, who want their life spared, while others were former shamans, who turned to the dark ways, and practice foul shamanism. They follow Zachet, and his advisors, Ortan, the spirit of pain, and Sot, the spirit of diseases. These are seen as Zachets generals, and advisors, because of their rather great influence on Zachets decisions, and his conquests progression. These three evil spirits inhabit the cursed remnants of Ravar, waiting for yet another eruption, which will be that day that Zachet will let his corruption fully unleash, laying waste to the entire continent of Targus, and eventually beyond its borders, eradicating all which lives. Of course, this meets a lot of opposition, from the “good” shamans, who seek to keep Ravar calm, and preventing the demise of the world. Back at the Q’lir tribe’s encampment, the tribal shaman had returned to his tent, taking a well-earned rest. The wall of sand stood as bulwark against enemy forces, and destructive weather, such as a desert storm, which has become rather frequent these days. Some enthusiastic nomads had raised a gate in the sand wall, making the option of entering, and exiting possible. As night fell, and the temperatures did as well, Ammon had decided to take a midnight stroll through the encampment, keeping an eye open for trouble, and what might turn out to be trouble. He passed Aapeps tent, finding it empty against all expectations.
Ammon shrugged, and thought “ah, he’s probably out having a good time, not any of my business” He continued his walk, eventually passing the tent of the highly respected tribal Shaman, and peeked in, only to almost fall on his back in surprise. In there, the Shaman was writing down signs, and circles on the ground, teaching none other than Aapep, that lazy boy, who seemed to be a lost cause. Aapep was staring concentrated at the signs and the shaman, gathering as much knowledge, as was given. Ammon pulled the entry curtains away, and entered the tent.
Ammon kneeled, and said “O’ high shaman, might I ask why you have chosen this useless boy as your student?”
The Shaman looked at him, and chuckled “heh, useless you say? This young man has shown signs of great spiritual initiative, causing his bond with the spirits to grow stronger. I can’t simply stand idle at this, letting his potential go unused.”
Aapep smiled at Ammon, and said “the Shaman has even shown me how to turn sand into water, provided the necessary equipment of course.”
The shaman patted Aapep on the shoulder, and smiled “and there is more to come, young man. Once you know how to create a river from the waters, you can bear the title as a true shaman” Ammon dropped his jaw, but picked it up before any strange gazes were sent. He bowed, excused his interruptions, and exited the tent, before walking with fast steps towards his own tent. Here, he sat in his hammock, thinking about what he just saw. Aapep, who had seemed like that hopeless piece of junk, had shown to be a powerful friend or foe, depending on which side he chooses. But with the guidance of the tribal shaman, he had little reason to choose the side of Zachet. He may be a potential shaman, but he is still a kid, only 17 years old. He had too many bonds in this tribe, and cutting them all was beyond his skill… hopefully. Ammon opened his eyes, and was surprised that he had closed them. Each family in the nomad encampment had prepared a meal, which they brought to a great feast, in a greater tent. Ammon was at this feast as well, sitting alone at the end of the huge table, eating something which he figured was porridge. It was watery, but it had grain in it, making it something between porridge, and soup. All the same, he ate it without complaining. He scanned the table, seeing the tribal shaman at the other end of the table, talking with Aapep, his new apprentice. The fact that Aapep had any sign of potential was still beyond his comprehension. The shaman took a glass, pointed at it, but Ammon could not hear what they said, because of the loud muttering from the rest of the tribe. The shaman winked at Aapep, and he nodded back, standing up.
He took an empty bowl from the table, coughed, and said “ahem, I would like to show you bunch something which I have learned from my master, the shaman” He kneeled down, and filled the bowl with sand. People silenced, and looked at Aapep with great expectation. Aapep walked from person, to person, filling their glasses with sand, causing some rather loud commotion.
“What’s this? Why are you filling my glass with sand?” a nomad said, pointing at his glass, greatly confused. Aapep said nothing, but smiled, and nodded.
When every glass was filled, and every nomad was confused, he stood in plain sight, and said “alright folks! As you may have noticed, then I have filled your glasses with sand. But worry not, it is only temporary!” Suddenly, he pulled out a small relic from his pocket, and raised it to the air. The relic was a small totem, with bones hanging in strings from it. He mumbled incomprehensible words, and drew signs with his feet on the ground. Suddenly, he threw the relic down into the ground, causing the signs to glow, as well as the sand in the glasses. The light obscured the sand in the glasses, but not for long. The light dimmed, and Aapep panted, and smiled. The sand in the glasses had become water, and the crowd cheered. The shaman smiled, and chuckled to himself. He had successfully trained a powerful mind.