Legends of the Atlands- 2012

The only contemporary fantasy I've ever written or read. Set in the Atlands, a huge group of islands hovering above the world, two boys get caught up in an adventure that starts off small, and finishes spanning two worlds!

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1. Prologue- Equilibrium

It was dark, but not dark. Not quite.

Despite the fact that they should have been nesting, the still-fantastic Chorono still sprinted through the copses, oblivious to the imminent danger. There were beautiful trees in strange colours, and a drop of a thousand miles. And then there was the boy standing among these wonders like his brothers. A teenage, white-haired boy that had been walking among the meadows for hours on end. And he seemed not to notice the syr’ing herds migrating, or the immense beauty of the rimbow which encircled the Atland like a flock of vultures. Vellian had lived in the lower Atlands, a group of flying islands, all his life, and enjoyed travelling to the rim and passing the time. Today was no different, so he made the 5 minute walk to the drop off. Then it struck.

A loud rumble resonated like a thousand crescendos, each louder than their predecessor by a hundred times, and tore at the ground like the very claws of death groping at the living. The ostrich-like Chorono sprinted, crashing into each other and trying to escape the thunderous roar of the earth itself. Vellian, transfixed by the scene of murderous beauty, did not notice the slight crack beginning to emerge on the floor between his legs, and only looked down when the gawping darkness beckoned him.

He dropped.

Vellian found himself in a softly lit cave. Although he could only see but a few feet of the ominous expanse, he could make out what bore striking resemblance to a pocket dagger on the floor, on top of a makeshift leather-studded shield. It was strange to find, and he couldn’t really understand how his luck was such that those objects were that close. Within a moment of claiming these strange items, something rustled in the murky distance.

 

“Ged’ here, stupid” exclaimed a low, cracked, tone. Vellian turned to the source of the noise, seeing a goblin emerge from the depths of the misty gloom. This particular breed of goblin was a murky green colour, with withered skin and a cotton hood bearing the mark of the Asgarne village, which Vellian found strange. Asgarnians weren’t goblins, and were never in caves. Vellian surveyed the two mismatched goblins and his gaze fell upon the small, quiver-like pack one of them had slung over their back. What worried him was the dirtied bone, haphazardly shoved in and now sticking out the top.

“’Ey, looky ‘ere,” one of the goblins called.

“‘E ain’t gonna be an ‘ard ‘un, aye?!” The other replied dubiously.

Vellian readied himself for combat, his nerves twitching. Calling upon his thin knowledge of amateur swordplay one of the elders of his hometown, Ur, had taught him, Vellian placed his right foot forward. One of the goblins charged haphazardly at Vellian. At the last moment, he remembered the stance the elder had taught him and thrust his shield arm forwards, ducking simultaneously. The goblin crashed into the shield and sent assorted flakes of emerald spit flying where Vellian's head had been but a moment before. Good old Elders.

The goblin turned round and pulled the bone out of its satchel. It swung this bone like a sword, clashing with Vellian's dagger and causing it to shatter, throwing shards in all directions and catching Vellian in quite a few places. Although it drew blood, there were more pressing matters. He threw the goblin to the floor and struck a blow with his shield. The goblin retaliated with a scrabble that made three parallel scratches on the side of his forearm. His dagger made contact with the goblin’s middle, slashing the ragged fabric and allowing green blood to trickle out.  The goblin heaved, and lay still.

Vellian began to notice that he was losing blood in growing quantities, and although he was still recovering, he realised that the second goblin was still there. He lashed out, and missed, overbalancing and allowing the goblin to charge at him. He fell to the ground, and kicked the monster, winding it and causing it to recoil wildly. He used his shield arm like a bat, catching the unfortunate goblin in many places. Summoning up all his remaining (and depleting) power, he let out a burst of energy, tearing at the goblin with every last reserve of strength he had. He lashed out time after time, knocking away the goblin’s bony arms with the shield and slashing wildly with the knife. The blow was evidently successful, and as Vellian halted, sweat pouring, he felt a twinge of remorse. He wished that he didn’t have to kill the beasts, but then observed that if he didn’t strike, it would be him that was in the goblin’s position. He kicked the beast, winding it once more, and in an act of mercy hardly realised by the goblin, hit it on the top of its head, knocking it out. The exhaustion of the battle, coupled with the sensation of light-headedness, finally overcame him, and he collapsed.

 

Vellian came round a week later. He glimpsed daylight through his squinted vision, but slipped out of consciousness, and then woke up fully. He was in a large cavern, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites glistening silver. He was standing on a rocky platform, floating in the centre of the huge tunnel. The rock was grey and cold, and there was light, although light without a source, that was spread evenly throughout the rounded fissure. Vellian swayed slightly, dizzied, and rubbed his eyes. When he opened them, he saw a giant, iridescent crystal, with the appearance of two pyramids stuck together. Intricate carvings decorated the surface and seemed to extend inside the object, with every line a different colour of the spectrum. It just sat there, bobbing on the air ever so slightly, as a voice began to resonate through the cave. Like the light before it, it had no source. Vellian was taken aback so much by this, he decided to not even question the appearance of the crystal, which spoke as a deep, booming male.

 

“Orphan of the valley of Ur, I called upon you to this cave. I have seen the darkness rise, and have seen an end to this world. You have been chosen, and you must fulfil your destiny. I see that a meeting shall become necessary once more, when you have found the dark, and will bestow upon you my dimming power. Though the equilibrium has toppled, I retain my powers, and therefore resolve to guide you with the light that I shall bestow upon you and the others who shall walk by your side. You do not need to know who I am, and what my purpose is, but you must fulfil your calling. Goodbye, Vellian.

Do not fail us.”

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