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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2. Chapter 1

Vellian came round shortly after. He had no memory of how he had got onto the comfortable surface he was now on. As his eyelids opened, he saw nothing, but the cold stone floor warranted a light breeze playing through the sheets entwining him.  Eventually his brain started to function, and he saw the flowers that were commonplace in the Uric herb gardens, spraying the all-too-recognisable mist that always surrounded these flowers. The mist was said to enhance strength in some who smelt it, support the life force of others. That would go a way to explaining why he could have survived that long without water.

Vellian got up and, as he found his footing, he began to walk. He took the dagger that was lying on his table, and the 2000 Gil, the Atland’s currency, that he received for his recent birthday. Vellian burst outside and was confronted by a villager.

“Vellian, you’re alive!” His sister hugged him. “I’ve been so worried about you! I mean, the doctor told us you might not make it!” She was almost completely overcome with joy, when she backed away quite suddenly. “Sister?” Vellian's cool tone enquired.

“It’s the elders, I almost forgot”

“What?”

“They had a council meeting discussing you. You had better head to their hall quickly to find out what’s going on!” Vellian's sister finished.

Well, thought Vellian, if I’m to go to this Elder’s hall, it would help to actually know where it is! He would have chased his sister, but her fiery auburn hair could already be seen flowing behind her fast disappearing figure. So he set off around his quaint hometown looking for answers. One villager, nicknamed Dodgy Dirk, told him to beware of the homicidal wanshoogles and that warriors of the light could drink special water to restore their health and stamina. Fat lot of good that’ll do me, Vellian thought. He continued on, through the pleasant, if not slightly jumbled, rows of houses, some with gardens bursting with life, and others paved and uniform. Every one of the multicoloured cottages looked different, and as Vellian walked down the dirt track that formed a road, he thought how strange it was that he had lived here all his life and still smiled when he saw the large gnome garden that an old man tended to on the corner.

The rest of his excursion was equally fruitless, and it was not until he met an Elder Vellian finally located the Elder Hall.

“Sir?”

“Yes, young one?” the old man replied, with a quiet tone of sincerity.

“I was wondering if... well... you knew where the elder’s hall is.”

“Ah. The hall, you say?”

Vellian wasn’t overly sure if he should answer that.

“Come, young one. Follow and we shall go.”

To be frank, it wasn’t much. In fact, it wasn’t the least like he had imagined it; as opposed to golden hallways, low ceilinged corridors. No ornate mythril doors, just a simple wooden arch lead to Elder Topapa’s office.

“Hello?” Vellian called. “Anyone there?”

“Yes, young Vellian, I am here. Where, might I enquire, have you been?”

Vellian saw the sunken complexion of Elder Topapa appear from the shadows, closely followed by the rest of him. He donned a long flowing robe, emblazoned by blue flames on the seams. His thin beard, washed clean of colour by age and wisdom, hung below his countenance with an air of authority that could only have been radiated by such a look.

“Grandpa!” Vellian exclaimed, flinging himself into his adopted grandfather’s cloaked arms.

“I was wondering where you were. We had a summit meeting discussing where you had got to. And my, what is that on your head?”

For etched onto his head was a strange drawing shaped like a fire, only with a little less colour. It looked relatively new, and permanent. Vellian quickly thought back to when he had the hallucination. Or, at least, that’s what he thought it was. There were those lights; he could have sworn that was at one end of the weird rainbow the crystal had made.

“That, my dear grandson, is the mark of the fire warrior. Where did you get that?”

“To be honest,” Vellian replied, “I don’t remember. I’m not sure I even knew it was there.”

“Do you know how you got here?”

“I just remember a... No, you’d call me crazy.”

“Do not fear” His grandfather reassured Vellian.

“A...crystal. It made a prophecy, something about the equilibrium.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Yes, that’s all I can clearly remember.”

“Then the situation is worse than I feared. Now go, I must contact my Companions.”

“So you know what above Earth is going on?”

“Not precisely.”

“Grandpa?”

“Just go see your friends. I need to tell the King what I believe may be the case.”

Reluctantly, Vellian obeyed. As he left, he wondered what ‘the case’ was, and why it concerned the king. For a moment, he thought of turning back, but decided against it (owing to his grandfather’s tendency to finish a discussion and leave it there). Oh well, he thought. Better go find Jirove.

 

~

 

Jirove, it turned out, was the town’s inventor. Although some admired his skill, others suspected he stole the designs, a theory that could fit his claim to be able to communicate with ghosts. Nevertheless, Vellian was the best friend Jirove had ever had.

When Vellian found Jirove, It turned out that he was being pushed around by a number of scruffy nine-year olds.

“You’re crazy!” one whining voice shouted.

“Yeah!” another one echoed.

As Vellian started to walk up to them, his imposing presence made an effect. The young boys backed away, and the moment he reached for his dagger, the boys ran screaming, not daring to look back.

“Jiro? You all right?” Asked Vellian.

“Fine, Vell,” was the response. Rather final for him, Vellian noticed.

Vellian surveyed him. Jirove or Jiro (as his few friends called him) was around 5 feet tall. He donned a murky green doublet which draped down to his soles and seemed, although it obscured his feet, to always hover a millimetre above the ground.  His messy brown hair was in its normal state and his shirt, which was just visible underneath his cloak, was untucked.

‘Pesky 9-year-olds’ Vellian thought.

“Yeah, too right” Jiro responded.

“Humph... Wait! Whoa, what did you just do?”

“Erm...replied?” Jiro responded, his eyes showing as little of a giveaway as the rest of his body as to the apparent display of a strange event.

“What? Oh, never mind”, Vellian finished.

“Guess what, Vell” was the next break of silence, occurring a few minutes later.

“There are ghosts haunting Mythrali village?”

“There are ghost’s haunt... Hang on, how did you know?”

Vellian shrugged. “I was being sarcastic; I wasn’t exactly expecting that to be it!”

“Well, here, come on!!!”Jiro exclaimed, gaining his usual spring as he tugged Vellian along.

“We’re not...”

“Duh!! I want to show you!” Vellian concluded that he had no choice, and ran along south, towards Mythrali.

As they began to run through the fields away from the quaint meadows and sun-glazed pastures, Vellian realised he was ebbing away from land he knew, and started to worry. Vellian noticed how one of the boulders seemed to be breathing, and thought nothing of it. Honestly, he thought, you’re not that mad, are you, Vellian, he thought.

 Just then, it moved! It shifted and twisted like some vile underground creature into what one might call a deformity of nature. Vellian had the thought that this Goblin-y thing was rather timely, but he dismissed the thought. The monster was not unlike the ones that Vellian had seen in the cave, only without the hood. It seemed more savage than its smaller counterparts, and although Vellian wondered whether it was capable of speech, he decided against asking it.

As Vellian reached for his dagger, he realised that Jirove was without a weapon.

“Jiro! Run!!” He shouted.

He didn’t need telling twice. Jiro ran off, crouching behind a bush.

Vellian launched himself at the ogre, thrusting the dagger into its stomach, to no avail. He retreated, ducking to avoid an incoming blow. Vellian used his shield as a ram, and knocked the beast over. But it wouldn’t give up. It picked itself up, and thrust itself lazily at Vellian. Vellian had only just recovered from his previous encounter, and wasn’t keen on fighting. He stabbed the creature in the arm, and then kicked it to the ground, before finishing off with a blow to its head. The creature heaved, and then lay still.

“Ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd!!! You so rocked!!!”Jirove rushed over.  “Where did you learn that?!?”

“My grandfather, he teaches me everything” Vellian responded in his usual cool tone.”Come on then, show me this ghost town of yours”

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