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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4. Chapter 3

As Vellian, Jirove and Krenclire, their new companion, came out of the guild, they realised they needed a map. To find the upper Atlands, it was imperative that they found a sky ship, and that meant they needed to find the Orcs. The Orcs were a race of skilled smiths that didn’t take kindly to strangers (They were known to rocket prices for all those who were not “pure” enough). However, for the most part, their wares were amazing quality, and their sky ships had some of the best reliability. All this is possible because of the fact that the main class of Orcs are extremely strong, their middle class are extremely dexterous, and their lower class are extremely tasty.

Orcum Municipus was the huge network of underground tunnels that lay to the far east of the Mechalisourrd. It was only possible to enter this place by one of the disguised entrances, and these could technically be anywhere, anything. A rock, a plate, a tree, a cottage, anything could be an entrance to one of these creatures’ homes. Luckily for them, Krenclire knew about one.

“I overheard two missionaries talking about it when they came back from a trading expedition,” he explained. “At the Atland’s drop-off, there’s a cave that leads directly to the market. Or so I heard.” Rather unfortunately, he was right and they set off, hoping that this whim may have some truth.

They were walking past an unusual set of brown mounds when Jirove noticed something. One of the hills was disturbed, as if it was a reflection in the water and someone had dropped a leaf into it. Worried, he began to walk faster and made it blindingly obvious to Vellian something was wrong. Vellian pulled up in front of him and Jirove, not looking where he was going, crashed quite abruptly into him.

“Alright, show’s over. What’s wrong?”

“Well...” Jiro debated as to whether or not he should explain the disturbance. Eventually, he decided to spill the beans.

 “You know how I’m a SpellCaster?”

“How could I forget?”

“I see disturbances in the Magical field of the Atlands.”

“O...k...”

“And one the size of the disturbance I just saw is bad.”

“Oh.”

“And only some kind of invisible dragon would be able to make it.”

“Oh.”

Vellian became aware of warm breeze breathing down his back. Vellian's hand slowly gripped Nightslayer; the sword presented to him as a gift from Jirove, ands swung it with the force of an earthquake at the source of the breeze.

A roar like thunder resonated through the air. It made the earth tremble and the trees fall. They moaned, groaned, and crashed to the ground. The silvery-grey monstrosity, bulky and huge, had revealed himself to the others. Its scales shimmered in the light, and it’s proportionately large horns flickered into existence as Vellian saw it.. The wound Vellian had made was unmistakable, a gash on the nose that had pierced the skin and drew blood, and it had evidently angered the beast.

“Duck!” Vellian shouted, but Jiro wasn’t listening. He was already incanting. 

 

 

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The dragon swayed, and its roar became slurred. It lashed out at Vellian and knocked him to the ground. As the monstrosity lumbered towards Jiro, he thought fast and tried again, channelling all his might.

 

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Once again, the dragon swayed, but nothing else happened, and Jiro fell, exhausted. That left only Krenclire, and the dragon reared as it sucked in air, ready to let out a jet of the agonizing hell that was fire. Krenclire braced himself then launched his mass through the fire at the dragon’s head. The phasing can be used for other things, too. As the dragon stopped, confused, Krenclire swung a lightning punch at the dragon’s oesophagus. There was a crack, and the dragon fell. This mighty monster had chosen the wrong prey.

As Krenclire backed away solemnly, Jirove ran over to him.

“You alright?” It was all he could think of.

“I’m fine.” Krenclire didn’t seem it. “How about your friend? He looks like he needs more help than I do.”

It was true. Vellian was on one side, a tangled, bloody mess. Nightslayer was by his right hand and his leather Jacket had turned red. His white hair had become a dirty brown, and he wasn’t breathing.

“No. No. No, no, no, no, no! NO!” Jiro couldn’t believe it.

“Calm, young one.” Krenclire put a hand over his distressed companion. “The natural phenomenon of death occurs all around us, and one more sacrifice seems hardly worth it.”

But he wasn’t having it. Jiro knelt down and cradled Vellian's lifeless figure in his arms. Jirove stopped. He turned. He stood. A cold breeze began to play through the trees. It quickly gained force, and picked up leaves and branches. The wind picked up speed, and as this spontaneous gale moaned around him, Jiro glowed and began to hover. Trees were drawn in, and Krenclire was forced to phase to stop himself from being sucked in by the ethereal hurricane. Then he screamed. He screamed, and the earth trembled. He screamed, and creatures mightier than the waves keeled over in pain. The world had brought upon Jiro this pain, and it shall pay.

Suddenly Jiro began to turn blue! Krenclire noticed it as it created an enlarged version of him that was being blown up until it became a ball. It shimmered, and began to spin with astonishing force. The aforementioned geomagnetic storm began to spawn clouds as it was sucked into the blue mass and bolts of lightning licked the ground around it. The sound itself was pulled away, and then there was light, and Krenclire passed out.

Kren came round before Jiro, and when he sat up and looked round, he couldn’t see him anywhere. Drat, he thought. Jiro’s gone off, and taken Vellian with him. He pondered the thought for a moment, turning over and eliminating the possibilities of Jiro’s whereabouts in his mind. The thought struck him as he was wondering about Jiro walking off to another town, and he realised he didn’t have much time. Krenclire stood, and if you were looking from a certain angle, you might see that his iridescent legs were visible under the blue velvet skirting he wore. They were like anyone else’s legs, except for the fact that they were bent slightly and there was another bone at the point where his heel should be. These ended in hooves, and he crouched and bent these strange appendages. He jumped.

He jumped with the force of an earthquake, and he rose as though an invisible force was pulling him to the sun. By the time he had reached the Zenith of his jump, He had covered well over 100 miles, and had covered the entire width of the Atland by the time he had landed. When he landed, the moment his feet had touched the ground, the rock was crushed under the sheer force of his jump. A crater as big as a house formed underneath him, and he walked out, unscathed, looking like he was an innocent passer-by that had merely been a bit nosy.

Krenclire walked into the town he found himself on the edge of and stopped a passer-by with rather more force than he needed to. The dismal looking man had brown hair cut short, and a pair of oblong spectacles. His grey robes reflected the man in every way, and the large tome he was carrying made him out to be the town’s librarian.

“Sir,” he started, before being hastily interrupted.

“I have no time to answer petty questions.” The man didn’t seem interested at all, until his eyes lit up and he looked at the back of Krenclire’s hand. You wouldn’t have noticed it anywhere, anytime, anyplace else but the Librarian did, and he stared at it like it was a diamond. A small picture of a single raindrop was there, as blue as the seas, as unnoticed as the air.

“Sir!!” The librarian exclaimed, before snapping to attention. “What is it you require, oh radiant one?!?”

Krenclire, taken aback by this, stumbled. Passers-by stopped to see the commotion, and as they too saw the marking they began to bow.

Krenclire was still a bit dazed by all this. “Thank you, but why do you all treat me like a king?” Half the crowd frowned at this latest remark. The librarian, however, had suddenly brightened up tenfold and provided the answer.

“Come, being of diamond, we must talk. Alone.”

~

“You are an Erichnae, a being of light originally from the high Atland. There you would have been a rather playful child, your species’ natural jumping and phasing abilities used mainly for pleasure. Although you probably hatched from an abandoned egg, you would end up finding your parents by the unexplained attraction you feel towards them. I presume you would have found love, and lived there with them until the collapse.  That mark was probably there at birth, though due to your species’ natural bioluminescence no-one would have seen it. During the collapse of the Atland, you fled with your love to the nearest upper Atland. Here, you would have carried on life until you were approached by the Mechalisourrd, who offered you a job in exchange for looking after your family. How did I do?”

The librarian sat back in one of the comfy red armchairs by the fire. He had his feet up, and appeared rather pleased to see the scarlet flames dancing around him. Krenclire, sitting opposite, was rigid and glowing less.

“Impressive,” Krenclire replied, “But one small mistake. You can cross out the love part.”

At this, the librarian sat up in his chair with amazing speed, and craned his neck towards Krenclire, frowning.

“That can’t be right; it clearly says in every book on the subject that all Erichnae find a mate by the age of fourt...”

“To hell with your books!” This was the first time that anyone had ever heard Krenclire angry. The librarian almost fell off his seat backwards. “What if I didn’t want a mate?!? What if I’m not one of your textbook illustrations!?!” He was literally seething. Krenclire suddenly snapped out of it and brought himself back together. “I...I’m... I’m sorry.” He picked himself up, and his travelling cloak popped out of his belt. “Something happened once, and I’m sorry. You reminded me... thank you for the hospitality, but I...need to go. Sorry.” Krenclire walked out of the room, pulled his hood up, and headed for the Womb.

 

Krenclire was constantly thinking about his past. He hid it safely away, and never liked to touch upon it. Though his skin looked immaculate, there were some discoloured patches, blackened blemishes hidden by his light shoulder padding and skirting. No-one else had seen them before, but they were scarring from severe, untreated, burns.

The womb, as it happens, is a fitting acronym for what it is. The Well of Man’s Beginning is supposedly where the first man was found, as a baby. They say that the dead will be reborn there and the born will die there, and was largely accepted to be a myth. However, Krenclire was banking on the idea that Jiro knew something he didn’t, and headed towards the Womb.

 It took longer than it should have. The Womb’s supposed location was seven hundred miles away (5 leaps for Krenclire) but when he got there he was met with nothing but a clearing and a small hole in the ground, perfectly cylindrical and too deep to see the bottom. The hole was only about thirty centimetres across and at first warranted no portion of Krenclire’s attention, but after quite thoroughly searching the rest of the area, decided it was worth something after all. However, fatigued and exhausted from the long journey, the huge amount of effort of jumping, and the thorough search he had just completed, he lay, and drifted into a deep sleep.

~

A green meadow, filled with beautiful flowers in every colour of the rainbow, stretches out in front. Couples and families sit and picnic or play, enjoying the long and iridescent summer sun. However, one pair, in a corner by a tree, looked distressed.

“Myren,” One of them breathes.”Why leave? What is wrong?”

“You of all people know I love you, but you of all people know the case,” the other replies, tears beginning to well up in her eyes.

The first breaks away. “Why? What do riches matter? What does your father matter?”

“He chose for me to be with someone else. I can’t change that. Tomorrow I shall have to leave for the rim with him, and you know that.”

“What does it matter? Come, with me, now.”

“Gre...”

“Please! You know the Atland is faltering, and the rim is one place you cannot be!”

“I can’t, I told you. I must go.”

“No!”

“Yes. Goodbye.”

The female walks off, leaving the other standing, alone. He in turn storms off into the woods, and his hooves leave glowing trails of embers behind him.

~

Krenclire awoke with a start. He sat bolt upright, and saw the sight he had yearned for. Jiro was just walking through the gap in the trees, Vellian's still lifeless figure in his hands. His robes were a black so deep that it seemed to suck in the light around it, reflecting his mood.. He had numerous wounds, and looked absolutely exhausted, yet still he carried on, until he had set Vellian down with the grace of a gazelle at the mouth of the hole. He stepped back, and looked around expectantly. He still hadn’t noticed Krenclire hiding behind a tree.

As if by magic, the hole began to emit a light. It became brighter, and for a moment, Krenclire wondered if Jiro’s earlier outrage was repeating itself. But it seemed that, as a figure rose from the alleged hole, that she was in fact the source of the strange glow. A Female, donning light, flowing robes with the appearance of a nightdress, and long white hair that hovered up as if charged with static electricity. She had a blue hue to her that drained all other colour and gave her the suiting appearance of a ghost. She hovered about a metre above the ground, and was bathed in a heavenly blue hue.

“I am Illyerin, guardian of the sacred Well of Man’s beginning. What do you desire?” She spoke in a voice like a harp.

“My name is Jiro. I am here to ask for the life of my friend.” He couldn’t really say much else.

“You may have the life of your friend if you so wish.” Jiro lit up, and then shrank as he heard the next part. “However, I also desire something.”

“What?”

“You.”

“What?”

“Your life for his. Seems a fair exchange.”

“But...”

“Deal?”

“There must be some other way!”

She pondered this for a moment. “Well, there is something.”

“What? Anything!”

“Go to the Mechalisourrd. Find a host. Bring it to me.”

“Who you calling ‘it’?” Both Jiro and Illyerin turned to see Krenclire walk out through the tree. “I am a ‘he’. Now what is it you want?”

“Worship.”

Krenclire spoke again. “Could you please cut out the one word answers?

“Very well. The Well is not recognised by the Mechalisourrd as enough to be a feasible sacred site. That must change in 3 days. Should be simple enough for a boy with your talents.” The way she completely missed the whole impossibility of the matter annoyed Jiro slightly. She turned to Jiro with a flourish, her countenance becoming increasingly more twisted. “I keep the boy as an incentive, and the Erichnae as a bargaining chip. 3 days.” She disappeared, and Jiro could only watch as first Vellian, then Krenclire were dissolved. As Krenclire faded, he mouthed 4 words.

Find Myren. Find destiny.

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