The Rise of Darkness

In a world of seemingly undisturbed peace, a dark threat rises. Unknown to the clans, there has never been a more prevalent time for the treaty to be in place, but when the treaty is destroyed, unity falls with it. The job of securing the safety of the clans and the eliminating of evil is left to a small group of young clan members.

Together, Karaka, Samil, Takiar and Theodore must fight to regain the peace that has been lost. This is a tale of companionship, adventure, and most of all, betray. Follow a story as it turns into legend.

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2. Prolouge

Prologue

 

Fantire treaded his well-known route to the clearing. He knew his way around like it was written on the back of his hand. Imprinted on his mind, he subconsciously navigated himself around the low bearing trees and bushes. He knew everything there was to know about the forest, its secrets, its shortcuts, clearings and secret places. Knowing which herbs could heal him and which would cause him an agonising death was handy knowledge. He passed a large white beech tree, the sight of its gnarled roots and twisted branches made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Today was an important day, for everyone. All of the clan’s futures relied on the outcome of today. He had brought along his son, most likely a mistake, he was already frowned upon by the others. Raising a future clan leader included the burden of dragging the young, often uncompliant, offspring to such events. So, Shakir trailed behind him loyally, with nothing but admiration for his father. He was a weak boy, scrawny, short as well. He wasn’t the son you’d expect of a high faring clan leader such as Fantire. He would admit he was disappointed in him, and actively avoiding bringing him out in public when he could. He knew it was petty, but he still could not show any weakness in his bloodline, a history that until the birth of his first and only child was as strong as any. He looked at his small son now, and what he was destined to be. The others didn’t think he’d be a good leader, it had been foreseen that he would be a burden on the clans more than a blessing, what can you really say to that?

 

He saw the clearing approaching, shadows moved gently against the backdrop of the trees behind them. His heart rate picked up pace, something that only happened in rare, high stake moments.

 

The clearing was inhabited by a ring of figures, small children standing beside them, patiently and faithfully. Although there were many people in the area, there was a sense of emptiness in the air. The grass was worn down to its barest roots, the soil peeping through, wet and damp. The clearing had been used for years before, for times just like this, grave meetings, important meetings. Throughout the history of important decisions that had happened here, there had never had been such an significant and necessary time to use it. It was a sacred place, a place etched with life. There was little left of the ruins of old mossy cobblestone their ancestors had laid down years before. Since, vines had gathered in corners of overgrown and wild trees, and some had started to hang down from the stone, brushing unsuspecting heads with slime and insects. There had become a canopy of large leaves above them, protection from the bright sun. It cast a dull green light to fall over the area, adding more to the already tense atmosphere.

 

Shakir of the shark clan, aged only 5 winters, still full of the excitement and energy that came with youth, ran around his father, Fantire Lock, clan leader of the Shark clan. The leader’s face was battle worn, glistening with scars from past battles etched across his face. Up his arms black markings stood out against his skin. They formed an intricate pattern, travelling up his veins, from his wrist all the way up past his forearm, to disappear into sleeves that stopped just past his elbow. His body was almost covered with them, dancing around his neck up to his face. He wore complex items of clothing, a tunic made up of many stretches of cloth draped around him, most being animal furs and hides. His tunic went down just past his knees, revealing scared but muscular calves, strong and powerful. Again patterns swirled around his ankles on speckled skin. He wore a simple headdress upon his head, the sort that you’d expect from a clan leader. It was created from feathers of a deep blue, and decorated with small jewels and symbols that represented his clan. The same went for the other leaders, who were all wearing similar clothing, along with some adaptions to represent their own clans. Fantire was in deep conversation with the other leaders, all of which were scarred in their own respects – memoirs and souvenirs of their past life. All went silent as a large, pressed piece of paper was passed around, of which was signed by each leader in turn. Shakir looked puzzled at it, but only for a moment before being distracted once more by a passing moth. All the other young children were still standing perfectly still behind their mentors, obediently, whereas Shakir was impatient and was restless, trying to get his father’s attention. To the others, he was just seen as the least likely to lead his clan to power and greatness. It may be harsh, but heirs were brought up from the youngest of ages to ensure they are both strong and tough, able to withstand any challenge they may come to face. A broad man draped in brown skins walked to the centre of the circle,

“We are here today, to acknowledge the acceptance of each clan, to bring us all together in a treaty that was first drawn up 15 winters ago, uniting us against our enemies, and giving us the ability to be able to support each other in times of need. We already are aware of the terms of this clan-wide agreement. I hope this is the last time we meet here in such dire circumstances. Is everyone here clear on the terms of the treaty?” a wave of nodding was spread around the area, “Since everyone is in agreement, we shall continue with the signing.”

 

Shakir walked up to his father, hoping from stone to stone in some form of game. He tugged on his father’s robe of deep blue whining,

“Can we go now? Oh dad can we please go now?” in a complaining tone, gaining disapproving and judgemental looks from the other leaders. Fantire effortlessly pushed his son away roughly, and the clan leaders started murmuring between them, gathering in closer whilst they did so, leaving Shakir far out of the loop. Fantire went with them, with a slightly raised voice, trying to assert his power. He was far outnumbered however. He bowed his head sadly. Shakir tried to listen in, trying to be included in his father’s conversation, but he couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. His father turned out of the gathering area, the clearing of mud and decaying leaves, and walked towards Shakir. Taking his hand in a tight grip, he walked strongly out of the forest clearing, into the darkness and wilderness which was to come. Fantire pulled his son behind him, who tried to get a last look of the clan leaders. Looming as dark figures, draped in all their feathers and fineries, dark faces and young children with their staring eyes glared at him from the shadows, before Shakir was pulled along once more. They left the figures with their stern looks as they muttered between themselves once more.

 

Fantire's expression was sour and angry, a darkness grew over his face as they walked deeper and deeper into the dreary and dark forest. The darkness engulfed them, like they were being swallowed into the forest, becoming part of it. Nonetheless, Fantire still walked, bad tempered and with haste, still pulling Shakir behind him. He didn’t say a word, not explaining what was happening, nor what he was doing. Shakir looked around confused, he didn’t know this part of the forest, he had barely had lived long enough to know its ways and to know his own way around it. Once they had reached a certain point of their quiet journey Fantire let go of Shakir, prising his hand from his. He knelt beside Shakir,

“Son. You have to stay here now. You cannot follow me.” A pained expressions grew in his eyes,

“Dad? What’s happening?” Fantire shook his head,

“No son. I can’t explain this. It pains me to do this but you must stay here now.” He simply turned around and started to march away from him. Leaving him slightly behind. Shakir walked behind his father, but he just pushed him away. Fantire picked up his pace as he suddenly disappeared in to the depths of the trees, the trees that Shakir did not know well. It seemed that the forest was part of his father, the way that his extreme, wild hair and fingers were like mad branches and knotted tree trunks. He could find his way through the forest like he was just as much part of it as the grass beneath his feet. Shakir ran to where his father vanished, panic stricken and full of fear, but his father was nowhere to be seen. He looked around, but all was still and silent apart from the occasional rustle of leaves, swaying of trees and bird noises overhead. As he stood and rotated in a circle, he heard more animals, small pattering and rustling from the rabbits that aimlessly ran around. He was completely lost. He had nowhere to head to, and he wouldn’t even know where to go. His father had left him, abandoned him, kicked him out. Abandoned by his very own father, he looked for someone, someone to help, someone to tell him what to do. Shakir was left alone next to a large oak tree, its trunk bleached white. He crawled up into a ball and lay at the bottom of it, his only protection was its gnarled roots which arose out of the ground in curls, only to re-enter the ground a metre away again. The trunk was slimy and sticky with amber, where encased were hundreds of ants and various flies. Shakir was left against the moss and damp leaves that curled themselves around his leg; cold, hungry and alone.

 

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