A Tale Of Allswen

Hi, my first story on Movella's. Ok, in the fantasty land of Allswen dragons and humans live in harmony but they are driven mad by greed, longing for the most powerful item in all of Allswen. When they finish fighting among themselves they realise their mistakes. This story is set a few hundred years after the fighting.

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1. A tale of Allswen - my first novel!

A tale of Allswen

 

A beginning and An End

 

 

“Far, far ago – when the world of Allswen was fresh and new, the empire was created. Forged by both dragon and man it was a shining example of cooperation. In the heartland plains, the imperial city shone like a jewel. A hub of trade both above and below board, the hawkers in the market place sold everything from hunting drakes to unicorn horns.

                    The library and cathedral overlooked fountain square, which was filled with philosophers and mages alike. Dragons frequently glided into the library’s specially widened entrance or into the cathedral to worship the elemental gods and their greatest gift. The Dragon Stone. It was the very thing that could summon the imperial dragons from their slumber beneath the city, the rulers of old. It was guarded day and night in the cathedral by guards that would give their life for it.

                     The shadow of the Citadel loomed over the entire city; it stood proud on the highest point. A writhing mass of towers and arches, the chaotic architecture somehow made sense and added to its splendour. It was the home of diplomacy and subterfuge, ruled by the twelve members of the council. The circular hall was filled with twelve thrones and twelve dragon slabs, the latter where empty waiting for the day when the twelve Imperial dragons returned from their meditation.

 

***

 

The four Dukes of the elemental strongholds, one in each part of the Empire stood solemnly in the centre. Their land was set in the ancestral homes of the elemental gods. They had travelled far. Air; from the Sleeping Wyrve mountain range to the north. Water; from Scale cove to the west. Fire, from the Steelscale Volcano and the arid deserts to the south. Earth, from the humid forests of the east.

“We have come to discuss your failures, my dear Dukes…” hissed Ocato, one of the council members.

 

“Aurora, the Stronghold of Air. You are meant to collect taxes from your people. Sell your bows from your Skypine forests, fish from your Fjords and Icebone from your mountains, to our allies in the Outer Isles. You have not done this…” sneered Crano.

 

“My dear council members, the taxes are unforgiving and my towns and villages cannot produce your required amounts of produce. Shall our allies in the Outer Isles feast on our fish whilst my people starve? Use our Icebone weapons whilst my people cannot defend their homes from Wyrven’s? Hunt with our bows and use our wood? Should we –” Aurora, protested but she was silenced by the council members.

 

“Silence! I will not have my Allies spoken about by you! You seem to forget that I could eagerly replace you with one of the barons in the empire.” Roared Ocato.

                                                

They where all subjected to this treatment. The earth stronghold for not selling enough fruit and rare wood. The Fire stronghold for not enough minerals and weapons. Water stronghold for smaller taxes on trade boats and not enough pearls and fish. And all for not influencing heavy taxes on their people.

 

“My lords, as we are but humble people under your generous care. Forgive us our sins, for – though I am hesitant to speak, I feel that the Outer Allies are just using our most benelovant masters to make war upon our people. And as both my land and Aroura’s are in the line for a possible invasion, I must profess that we cannot fulfil your orders. Smiled Meredith, using her pleasing accent to full use.

No wonder her people where perfect diplomats. Beautiful and they had a way with words.

 

The council nodded as if in a daze, not one of the members noticed Meredith murmuring the runes of a spell.

 

“Very well. You will not be replaced and we will discuss the threat from the Outer Isles. Now, leave.”

The dukes bowed respectfully and filed out.

 

 

The council members where enjoying a haunch of flytern, when they received the word the Outer Islands had invaded and, with heavy losses the armies of the Dukes had defeated them.

“Good.” Said Ocato as he bit into the winged deer’s flesh.

 

 

By moonlight the Dukes met again, sitting in a clearing, their dragons on guard next to them. They where all bruised and battered, armour stained with blood; small gashes and cuts. Brenn, the fire duke nursed a broken arm.

                     The dragons where no better. Vindana - the Ice dragon - fur was matted with blood and clumps of short feathers had been torn from his wings. Ku’choma’s crimson scales where cracked and damaged, the fire dragons throat a red almost black from blood. The other two licked their wounds miserably.

 

“The council is weak. The empire lives on a thin facade of luxury whilst the strongholds work themselves to death to keep it up.” Hissed Brenn, his eyes burning with fierce rage. “I lost countless country men, fighting men who use the very weapons we produced.”

 

“We could go to war.” Said Meredith simply. “I mean it. The Imperial guard is a bunch of silver – spooned nobles, who’ve nether seen real war. Together, we could over through the council.”

 

“We don’t need war. If we wake the Imperial drag-” began Hemlock

 

“They’ve been asleep for 150 bloody years! Why would they wake up now?!” Brenn interrupted furiously.

 

Scowling at each other, they turned to Aroura; the only one that had not voiced her input.

“I think… Hemlock is right, if we can get the Imperial Dragons back, we should.”

Hemlock smirked and Brenn furiously glared at the duke of the forests.

 

“But the council has grown used to not sharing their power. They would never let us raise the Imperial Dragons. I will send word to my people.” She sighed

Her faithful hunting drake swooped onto her arm. She whispered to it in the crackling sound of Ice-tongue. The others watched the creature swoop away in the night sky. Then they sent word to their people. The response was the same.

“I guess, we go… to war.” Said Hemlock.

 

***

 

In the first week the casualties where horrendous; the Imperial Guard outnumbered the joined armies 3-to-1 but they couldn’t match the ferocity of the rebellion. These men and woman had suffered all their life and would fight with their bare hands if necessary. The council immediately retaliated with force and brutality and famine wreaked the lands as the fields where burnt and salted. The once mighty rivers ran with blood.

                     The war was long and hard; both Dragon and men fell. One by one the dukes died. In their place was men and woman who had never known anything but the hard hands of warfare. They where suspicious of their allies and the once genuine friendships where replaced by heavily elaborate diplomacy. When the Imperial guards attacked a division of rainforest archers dressed as men from the Wyvern mountain division it did nothing to help tensions. 

                      Then came the day that a legion of desert soldiers attacked the Duke of Scale cove; the four strongholds declared war one each other. The people of the Empire - on all sides, grew tired of this warfare. The original message of the war had gone. All that anyone wanted was the title of Emperor.

                          After years of fighting; when the Empire was a barren wasteland. The four armies reached the Imperial City. It had been razed to the ground, the only thing left was the ruined cathedral where the Dragon Stone lay. The floor was awash with corpses and viscera. As one of the dukes reached for the Dragonstone, a fierce rumbling shook the ground. What remained of the cathedral collapsed around their ears; the plaza erupted as the colossal shape of a dragon burst through. It's silver scales glittered like fire and it's piercing golden eyes forced the fighters to kneel and the Dragons to hang their heads.

 

“War? IN MY CITY!? My fellow council members and I have returned after 250 YEARS of meditation to find this country is ruined.           It seems that this Dragon Stone is too powerful for mere mortals; I shall fly over the seas and hide it. The gods will allow four children and four hatchlings, for the young are the best of you. Born within years of each other, in the far future.

                   Your prophets every year will look at the newborns in each of the Strongholds. If the chosen one is one of them they should be trained. Later the prophets shall determine when the time is right for them to find the Dragon Stone. If they do they shall be the Emperor and Dragon Leader.

                     Now, Dragons and men. Look what you have caused, look at the countless deaths.” Roared the Imperial Dragon.

         The dragons and men stared at the corpses. A moan escaped from the crowd, a moan that developed into full blown weeping. Seeing the chaos the men fell on there blades whilst the dragons clawed at there chests.

              Seeing the bodies the Imperial Dragons sighed. A sigh which travelled across the land, refuelling the earth and cleaning the bodies. The people returned to the land, a council were chosen, the cities rebuilt. It was a beginning of a new era. An era that will come to an end with you, Fenir.”

 

***

 

Mabedui’s voice carried through the air as he ended his story. He cast his eyes on the boy in front of him, still lost in the tale. Fenir’s white hair flopped lazily over his forehead into an untidy fringe. His deep purple eyes gazed into the distance, through the small window, out on the wilderness that lay beyond the blank blizzard that engulfed his mountain home.

                                     The man felt sorry for Fenir, though many a child envied him. To be the Chosen One, in the homeland of the Air Divine! To live in the lap of luxury in a mountain castle! But the truth saddened Mabedui. He had been the boy’s drake keeper and guardian, since the boy had arrived at Ice Flame Mountain as a mere babe; he cared deeply for the quiet twelve (or as he kept reminding him thirteen) year old. He had little hope of surviving the search for the Dragon Stone as all the other Chosen Ones where older than him, the youngest just turned fourteen, the oldest a muscle bound sixteen year old. They would crush him like a Griffon devours an antelope.

                                      Looking at the swirling whiteness, he felt a longing for his desert home. He had never liked the Divines who governed the lives of mortals, especially when his family died in a sandstorm. In a village, where prayers where offered to Fire daily to keep the forges burning this was unacceptable. When he grew of age he left, wandering from village to village. For so long he wandered they named him wanderer - Mabedui rather than his given name of Oasi

                               When he learnt a Chosen One was born he travelled to Mot’kio; a city perched precariously on the crater of Steelscale Volcano. He disliked it from the start, the furious heat merged wit the endless clanging of anvils. The twisting tunnels and alleyways reminded him of a sand rat warren. Thrusting spires burst through the pall of acrid smoke, dark obsidian monoliths, dedicated to Fire, to stop the Volcano which they depended on from erupting.

                                As he walked through the alleys he found himself at a slave market. Hordes of wealthy men bought frightened young dragons for their children. His eyes had grown wide with anger when he saw the thin bedraggled creatures, with looks of terror on their faces. In all the villages he’d seen dragons had been treated with courtesy. If they had happened on a tribe of dragons, they would be invited into the craggy caves and offered water and food. The same was to dragons that landed near the village. In the harsh desert all life was respected.

                                 Mabedui wanted to burn this place to the ground. He knew spells that could do so but he would kill all these people and if the fire spread… He locked eyes with a young dragon about his age. His black scales where cracked and blood stained but unlike the other glazed eyes of the other dragons, his darted around nervously.

 

“Help me!” the dragon in the crackling language of the Desert tribes. When no one seemed to comprehend he called it out in Empire Speak.

 

“Help, please help!” 

 

“Shut up!” snapped the muscular man with the whip, kicking him for good measure.

 

“Here, we are gentlemen; a seventeen year old Nightscale. Feisty little beast; damn good flyer though; like a bolt of lightning! I’m starting with 15 gold coins, any offers?”

 

Mabedui raised his hand, ignoring snickers and glares.
 

“He won’t afford even that scrawny pup. Look at him! I think I’ll by the Nightscale I would give him to my lad but the look in his eye… Bah, well he could work in my mines.” Sneered one man to another.

 

The haggling continued until Mabedui, had spent all his savings.

 

“I would warn you, sir. I will keep going until I have sold my blade. I swear I will get this dragon.” He said quietly to the one man remaining.

 

“Sold! To the wanderer from the deserts!” yelled the auctioneer.

 

Mabedui, stroked the dragons muzzle gently as he lead him out of the alley.

 

“Hello, my names Mabedui. I’m eighteen, not much older than you. I’m sorry for how they treated you. I’ll take you to an inn and get you a meal. What do you like to eat?” he said in desert tongue.

 

“You’re a desert dweller like me? I’m… I’m Nata’kala. I like antelope, the haunch mainly. Your not going to make me your slave are you?” the dragon replied hesitantly.

 

“No, you’re free to do what you want. I’m just a wanderer, you can travel with me if you’d like.”

 

“Yes, I would. Thank you.”

 

***

 

Nata’kala was his best friend now; they’d fought together bravely; meandering across the empire.  They’d found themselves in the Sleeping Wyrve mountains when the Chosen One was found. They left their inn in Denifell and made the hard journey up Ice Flame Mountain. Somehow he had become the Drake Keeper and body guard and Nata’kala the body guard for Serana, the ice dragon that was Chosen to govern and fight with Fenir. He’d grown fond of the boy but his heart was filled with worry for the innocent lad in front of him.

 

“Bed.” Mabedui said simply; snapping the boy out of his fantasy.

 

“Bu-”

“You’re going hunting tomorrow and you’ve got lessons in the morning. I’m sure Serana will have an early night too.” he said firmly.

Fenir sighed and made his way to bed. He walked briskly, pulling his cloak over his ears as he walked through the draughty corridors. Opening his bedroom door, he bumped into his maid Lydia.

“Hello, master Fenir I’ve lit the fire and there’s spiced milk by the bed, do you need anything else?”

“No, thank you Lidya.” He said politely; slipping past her into the warmth of his bedroom.

 

Fenir slammed shut the door and smiled. He loved his room. It was the only place in the world he felt safe and happy. Although the castle looked magnificent; weaving in and out of Ice Flame Mountain; it was draughty and uncomfortable. He was lonely in the adult filled castle. Despite the Acadame’s wanting him to quest and battle with Serana they seemed desperate to keep them apart, in his bedroom though he could forget that.

                     It was large and circular; a tower room with a balcony jutting out. The large fire place took up the majoritary of the room; light blue smoke drifted from the burning sky pine. A trapdoor was set in the roof. Fenir’s bed was large and warm with layer after layer of furs. Book cases lined the walls and thick glass window where inlaid with warmth and protecting runes. As he yawningly pushed pass the embroidered curtains, he saw the blizzard still going strong. Flakes clung to the window and he couldn’t even see the night time glow of nearby villages or dragon caves.

                        He rapped hard on the trapdoor.

“Come in”, sang a silky smooth voice. Pulling down the ladder he climbed into the towers roof.

                         The room was a mirror image of his but with a tall roof. The bookcases where slightly lower and the desk was on floor level. The bed was replaced with a flat slab of dark rock where a young dragon lay.

                          Like Fenir she had deep purple eyes, unlike him however his eyes sparkled with glee. She’d often teased him about his sad eyes and his shock of snow white hair.

“You were born old!” she said. Serana’s soft white fur almost glowed and her feathers looked as soft as a cloud, they where always warm even in the coldest winter. They reflected the heat of her skin to keep her body temperature close to freezing.

 

“What happened with you today, Fen?” she said.

 

“Professor Lekberg went as mad as a wyvern because I didn’t know the entire life history of a governor that lived 250 years ago. You?” he grinned.

 

“Pretty good but – well I’m tired of just reading about the country and looking at maps. Every time I suggest if we could see these places they think I’m mad!” she replied.

 

“Well, I’ve got teachers that seem to think I’m insane for reading all these old books.” said Fenir.

 

“Huh, we should swap for a day!” she sighed.

 

“Imagine that!” he laughed.

They chatted like that for almost an hour before Fenir looked at the time runes by Serana’s door.

 

“Oh no! I had an essay about the battle of the Segadorian pass to do and Mabedui said we have hunting early tomorrow.” He gasped.

 

“I doubt it, when was the last time we ever did something fun?” Serana grimaced.

 

“Well, night anyway.” Fenir said as he went back down the ladder.

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