Small Beginnings- LOTA Part 1

Well, I think it's time I placed the latest version of what I've written on here. I'm starting a new project, and I'd like people to know where I got with the old one, just, you know, because. This is a working title, any suggestions let me know. Thanks guys :)

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2. Chapter 2

Mythrali wasn’t too far from the “hold-up”. It was a quaint little town, famous for its Mythril mine. There was a “Gold rush,” some few hundred years back, and everyone “rushed” for the chance to get rich. The hills on that particular Atland was unexplored, and people began to build up a town around it, to supplement the needs of the avid miners. In fact, so much was their enthusiasm that they managed to disturb a rather important shrine, and the lesser God that the shrine was dedicated to became rather annoyed by it, and resolved to “reset “ the mountain, effectively undoing all the mining that took place inside it. However, despite all the ores being replenished, that which had already been smelted into usable materials remained so, and so the townsfolk resolved to simply start mining again, this time straight for where they knew all the ores were. Since then, the lesser God, who wasn’t a being of much intelligence, revisited the town every few years or so, and, with renewed anger, “reset” the mountain, and the cycle starts anew. It carries some element of danger, as anyone caught in the “reset” has to cope with being trapped in stone for the rest of their waking lives, which frankly wasn’t that long after, but the risk wasn’t really acknowledged. In fact, the “Mythril Rush”, if you will, never really ended. The town blacksmith forged weapons for the Governess and the SpellCaster was revered. SpellCaster was the collective term for anyone able to teach Magicks, and in a town built on a metal with magical properties, a SpellCaster was the job to have. This particular SpellCaster was the only person in the town, which worried Jiro.

“Excuse me sir” he asked, “but where is everyone?”

The SpellCaster turned, his metallic purple robes and wide-brimmed hat swaying as he whipped himself round. “They are ghosts. The Creishun of the governor cursed us. We need a hero.”

He was very blunt and mysterious, and sounded like he was reciting a piece from a bad play.

 “Come again?” Jiro asked.

“It is simple. I was out in the wood collecting essence of orchid for a potion, and when I came back I found the town empty. I proceeded to my cabin to decide what to do about this. I brewed an Organismic Revelation by first letting a mistletoe berry simmer, and then collecting the sweet fumes in a jar and lighting it, with a pleasant bluish hue and a constant burn. I dropped the essence of orchid into it, and blew the flame out. This left a matt pink substance at the bottom, which I poured into a vial, and, after waiting for the liquid to settle, , incanted the following spell:

 

Mesorium Invociavibi.

 

This allowed the potion to turn its mature green colour in around five seconds. I proceeded, and learned that a rogue servant of the local guild had attacked the town while I was out. Thankfully, they were only turned into ghosts, which can be undone with the correct spell. I have some potion, if you wish to see the town‘s residents.”

Vellian and Jiro, unable to process this and resolving to simply play the game, took a sip of the potion. As it began to work, they began to feel and odd sensation in their chest, as though some magical creature had spawned inside them and was rooting around, and their vision became a blue hue.

“Whoa! This is new!” Vellian remarked after a few seconds, swaying slightly. Jiro had already recovered and was examining the new bluish world.

“You seeing what I’m seeing?”Vellian enquired.

“If what you’re seeing is a blue world with turquoise ghosts walking around all over the place,” Jiro responded.

“Random,” Vellian finished.

The two were greeted by the SpellCaster a minute later, once they had adjusted. “Jiro, come with me.” He turned around as Vellian made to follow, and signalled with a blue hand towards a nearby building. “Go there, and rest. You may need it.” He motioned to a small deserted inn on the far side. “They are serving as usual, so rest, and leave the fee on the table.”

~

Vellian opened his eyes. His vision had returned to normal, and the chair where an bearded ghost had slept before he went to bed in the inn was empty. He decided to leave some coins on the table beside his bed, and as he departed, saw them lift up into the air, and disappear. Vellian walked outside and saw Jiro just coming out from behind a group of trees, looking a bit different. His green doublet was now a metallic emerald and the edges were lined with a metallic, silky threading. He wore a pointed hat that had a brim about 10 centimetres across, and a pouch slung around his waist.

“Jiro, what happened to you? You look...Erm... eccentric!”

“Isn’t it great? I’m a SpellCaster!” And, watch this!!” He reached out a hand and uttered the following incantation with surprising speed and vigour;

 

Destrunya Veriscius!

 

At that precise moment, a thunderbolt came crashing down between them, leaving a burnt patch where it struck. The clearing they were in was quickly emptied of on looking birds, who moved to the nearest house, fifty yards or so away.

“You like?” Jiro asked.

“Yes!” Vellian responded, overwhelmed by the newfound power of his friend.

“And this one!”

 

Varium REquius!

 

Water immediately burst from his hands and began writhing in the air, almost like a snake. A mad, demented snake. A mad, demented snake being electrocuted and swung around in the air.

 “That SpellCaster taught you all of that?” Vellian enquired.

“Of course! I’ve had the four days you were asleep to do it!”

“Wait...whoa...”

“And the SpellCaster gave me this, too. I think you should have it. It’s called Nightslayer, it’s supposed to be the bane of the undead.”

 

Vellian, overcome by the speed all of this was thrust on his shoulders, thought it through. He had been asleep in the Mythrali inn for about four days. In that time, Jiro had learnt to become a SpellCaster and had learnt two pretty impressive spells. He had been gifted with some zombie pulveriser thingy and decided to give it to him.

Only one question remained:-

What now?

 

~

 

Vellian trudged through the swirling sandstorm toward the faint outline in the distance, Jiro well in front and keeping his usual bubbling energy going.  They were in the nearby Reine desert. After that “chat”, Vellian was surprised at his vigour. The “chat” in question had involved a hooded figure who, by some means, was able to convince Vellian and Jiro to head for the desert, where he explained one of the lower Atland’s Guilds was rumoured to be. The guide they had employed to take them into this wilderness had quite happily enlightened them as to what exactly the Guilds were.

The Guild system was created a long, long time ago by a fateful event. Four children, two brothers and two sisters, always fought, and hated each other to the ends of the Earth, until the time came for the four children to leave home. They concluded that maybe a truce of sorts was necessary, and so together travelled through the countryside, over moor and mountain, until they came to a wide, deep river. As they pondered how to get across, Death himself appeared to the four children, manifesting from the misty water. He gave them all directions to a safe passage, but each to different places. The first, and most powerful, of the four questioned this, and so death explained.

Death, being a character of quite a murderous disposition, realised the potential for hatred and despair these siblings possessed, and had decided that, given some stimulation, it might be possible to make His job a lot more interesting.

The oldest, Faran, was courageous, and Death spoke to him personally. Death told him that to the East, there was a small town called Eryich that he could conquer easily, and that it would bring him great power.

The eldest sister, Cyri, was indeed very beautiful, and Death told her to head to the West, where she would find Fort Oldrich, where a young bachelor King was to be found. She would rule by his side, and the fortress would be hers.

Dyrann, the youngest son, was an alchemist’s assistant, and an amazing engineer. Death told him that if he began to inhabit a large cavern in a desert to the South, he would one day be immortalised in stone.

But to this day, as the other three had already left, no-one ever worked out what happened to the youngest daughter.

However, Death was not a giver of gifts, or at least he was not a giver of gifts without good motivation. Death visited the oldest, a month later. Though courageous, he was arrogant, and the townsfolk were bordering on an uprising. All it took was a little “motivation” for a man to suggest a revolt, and three days later, Death collected the souls of the thirty-eight rioters, and, as he expected, the son, who was killed when he appeared on his balcony to scoff at the intruders. The surviving rebels overtook his villa, and remain to this day a sect of mercenaries for hire.

Cyri had indeed found the castle, and the man of her dreams, but Death was certainly not an angel of love, and he began his invisible work. A handsome knight had ridden into town, and again the daughter fell in love. She met in secret with this knight, and resolved to run away with him. But Death made the King hear of this, and in a fit of anger, he slit her throat, and the next day killed the knight, before taking his own life out of despair. Her legacy remained in the form of women in the fortress who killed their own betrothed husbands and became a faction dedicated to helping peasants out of forced marriages.

Dyrann was Death’s next task, and he bode his time for this. Fifty years later, he was a rich and powerful leader, commanding hundreds of men in his huge underground Guild, but by the time Death reached him, he was already becoming weak with old age. Death wanted this son for his own, and could only claim the lives of those who passed before their time. Death, however, was courteous, and appeared to Dyrann in his bedchambers one night. Death pretended to congratulate the final child on his effort, and offered him the chance to allow Death to fulfil his promise, and be immortalised in stone. Dyrann loved the idea of statues made in his name, and accepted.

But that was not what Death had meant. He flourished his hand, and Dyrann began to grow larger. He stood up in shock, and as Death watched, his arms and legs began to shrink back on him. His skin attained a weathered look, and and began to grey. After but thirty seconds, nothing was left of Dyrann but a huge stone tablet, with his face etched onto it, and Death stood over him. Though it had taken a long time, the children were all disposed of, and he left this world, with one more soul and a sense of resolution.

~

 

It didn’t look like much. All it appeared to be was an old shack with a chimney. The creamy building was strewn with dust, and looked as derelict and useless as the locals made it out to be. Vellian was beginning to doubt that the figure was correct, but Jiro hadn’t twigged when Vellian slipped a comment about the doubtfulness their guide had that they would find anything there besides cobwebs. So when they realised it was inhabited, the guide ran like...well, like he’d realised it was haunted. Frankly this didn’t help Vellian to overcome his fear, and as they edged towards the door, it opened.

 

Bright light spilled out into the desert, and a figure walked out of this iridescent glow. It had a light blue robe and, large, black pupil-less eyes. His white skin shone, and he stepped towards the duo with the elegance of one who had practiced this.

“The Mechalisourrd welcomes you. Please come in” said a voice, as he softly raised a hand to point to the gateway. They stepped through, and oh, what a sight it was! Ornate arches curved around the edges, and looking down, they saw that there were at least a hundred stories below them. It was possible to see these wonders of architecture because of the fact that each level dropped off at the same point, and all opened out into a massive atrium. A long, perfect stream of water with some kind of serpentine body danced around this open space, spewing things out and carrying trays on its long, convulsing back. Millions of people, in the brightest, most dazzling colours anyone has ever seen in their lives traversed these levels, some on their own, most with others. They were walking as if it was nothing like the awe-inspiring spectacle that Vellian and Jiro beheld, and as the two looked away from the scene they realised that their guide was leaving without them.

They walked and walked, and for some reason every time they came back to the point they had started from, they had somehow moved down a level. Soon after, they stopped next to one of many small, spherical and translucent pods that were lined up on the walls where there was space. They hovered about a foot away from the ground, and bobbed as passengers entered them.

“It is a lot quicker to use these to go lower, but this is the first level that they are allowed,” their angelic host explained. “Too many people up there, someone might get hurt. By the way, do you like our water nymphs? They’re new to the guild, and act as great postmen.”

Funny postmen, Vellian thought.

“Yeah, I guess they are, aren’t they?” Jiro replied.

“They work fine for us, and they don’t expect pay. We’ll get by,” The host pitched in.

“Oh, o... wait? What did you just d...?” Vellian stopped.

“Replied” Jiro answered.

“It is only civilised to respond to someone when they say something” the host finished.

Vellian pushed the nagging worry aside as they turned off down a corridor. The sphere seemed to gain pace, as if it was afraid of the darkness that reigned in here. Soon they were out again, and into a maze of corridors. The sphere turned this way and that, with the same too-good-to-be-true grace the host had. Finally, as they headed for a set of large doors, they slowed and stopped, the door of the pod opening.

 

“Welcome to the throne room,” the host announced, before falling away to one side.

As they entered the expansive hall that stretched out before them, with glowing arches and fountains of water that danced in the light, thousands of these beings, all in the same uniform, moved into line and stood to attention. A voice resonated through the hall like the roar of the earth, bellowing orders in some strange language Vellian was not acquainted with. At the far end of the hall, there was a huge stone slab with an intricate engraving of a face carved into it. It was an old man, with dreadlocks that radiated from every side. It was a strange mural.

Vellian's eyes swept this room, and realised that the same host that had guided them to the throne room was now walking to join his fellows. They were all identical, with the same large black eyes and elongated necks. Their skin was a luminescent white and their robes were a very light shade of lilac. As the two passed them, they made a low bow, and as they did so, brown cloaks formed around them to turn them into identical copies of the hooded figure that had originally told them about the guild. Each one was identical; they were all one and the same.

Scores and scores stretched far back into the hall, each bearing the same cloak and staying stock-still. They were no longer the angelic figures they first appeared to be, and they could have passed for any traveller anywhere in the Atlands. Apparently they had succeeded, as they were able to travel the long distance to Mythrali village to tell Vellian and Jiro about the place. A thought flickered through Vellian's mind that there didn’t seem to be a motivation for such an act, but he dismissed it.

Now they approached the great stone carving, and as they did so, something extraordinary happened. It was as if someone had breathed life into the carving, and its face began to move outwards, the locks of hair began to protrude from the surface and they all pulled in as this stone face opened its mouth. A booming noise resonated through the hall, and instantly a thousand million figures bowed, row by row, until only a sea of brown hoods remained.

“You have travelled for many miles to reach this place.” It was the first time Vellian had been spoken to by a stone statue and he wasn’t aiming to make it anything common.

“Yes, sir. We have come to ask for assistance.” Jiro was more prepared than Vellian was, and he bowed with Jiro as he spoke. “I am Jiro Koniyotu, of the town of Ur, and I come with my companion Vellian Enqua to request aid.” Jiro looked up, and he saw the face retreated backwards slightly, before its great mouth creaked and its lips moved once more.

“You require aid in what?” its voice shook the hall, yet none of the angelic hosts moved.

“The ‘Creishun of the governor’ has apparently turned all the residents of Mythrali into ghosts. Do you know anything about this?”

The face considered this for a moment, and then explained: “If it is the Governor you seek, you should head for the upper Atlands. All my commandants respond to him. In the-“ he paused and coughed- “Highest Atland the governor makes his home. I cannot spare many of my hosts at present, so I think it is in order to give you Krenclire, the host that you came with. Krenclire, could you accompany these two?”

As the face spoke the words, one figure near the middle stood up. Although Jiro assumed he was 6 feet tall, he seemed quite short as his brown cloak retreated into the belt and he began to walk. This was remarkable, seeing as he was apparently phasing through the ranks of ever-present crouched look-alikes. He walked through them, and as he came through the front, he made a low bow.

“Vellian, Jiro, we must leave. Thank you, master. Come.”

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