Happy Friday! Another week of great entries! Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all who submitted.
First Place = Fuyuhime (US2) - 'Turenia: I’m just a harmless little Sylph!'
Second Place = ishanroyc (EU1) - 'The Brother of Stone and the Sister of Depths'
Third Place = Freya Sensei (US1) - 'Commander of Land and Sea'
The Brother of Stone and the Sister of Depths
Chapter I: The Childhood
In a room seven children are playing all different yet all bonded with another, all having different personalities, some more evil than the others but still smiling and playing. All the seven children are of different species, only one of them human- Sebastian the scar faced boy who doesn’t look like human at first glance. Slarissa slithers past Sebastian who pays her no heed, Valuspa runs after her after Slarissa takes her doll and slithers away, all under the gazeful watch of Isretta. “Give it back! Give it back!” Valuspa shouts while Slarissa tauntingly says “now itsssss my turn to play with itssss” with a snaky voice. Right then Mallok walks into the room, he had a stern look on his face but the moment he enters the room his face softens and he looks at all his children happily, lovingly, his face always softens infront of his dear children. All the children hearing someone opened the door look at who entered, only to see their beloved father. They all drop everything they were doing and rush to him. Mallok hugs all 7 children in his warm embrace.
“Papa papa! You’re finally back!” exclaims Valuspa, “soooo niceeeee to see youuu faatherrrr” hisses Slarissa. “Yo pops! Back already? Nice!” says Sebastian. “We all missed you very much dear father” says the well mannered Isretta. The loving moment is rudely interrupted when the children’s nanny Bonegrinder comes running, panting and shouts “Rotburga! You haven’t completed your homework!” Mallok surprisingly says “Dear child Rotburga, why haven’t you completed your homework?” To which Rotburga groans and says “oh come onnn daaddd!! It’s all sooo booringg!! Studies are sooo booringg!!”. To which Mallok laughs and responds “Oh child, you must keep studying! It will certainly help you in your future! Who knows? You might become a teacher or even the headmaster at a magic school or something!” to which Rotburga shouts “NEEVERRR!!! I’ll never be a BORING TEACHER!!” and runs away. Bonegrinder runs after him screaming “come back here Rotburga! You still need to complete your homework!” The remaining of the seven have a hearty laugh. Then Mallok tell his children he has to go again. The children get sad but understand, Valuspa says “papa! Going already? Don’t leave us!” to which Mallok responds “sorry dear, resistances keep rising everywhere who want to end the shadow years”. To which Isretta asks “can’t your army handle it? Or Egan? He’s pretty good at it”. Mallok sighs and says “Dear, I must be ever present, it is hard to manage an army of power hungry and powerful people, and about Egan… He killed four of our own thinking they are enemies… That’s what I get for making a slug into my first soldier…anyways I must be leaving now”. Before Mallok leaves Valuspa says “papa! Can I go to the nearby hill and pick blueberries and make flower necklaces?” Mallok unable to say no to his beloved children says yes reluctantly even though he knows that hill is outside his blighted influence and hence near a village untainted by his evil completely. He asks Sebastian to accompany Valuspa to which Sebastian says “Oh come on pops! Do I have to?”. Mallok replies with “You’re a strong young man now, with all of your experiences, you should look after your sister”. Sebastian agrees reluctantly and Mallok after one last hug and warm smile leaves the room.
The next day, Valuspa and Sebastian are on the hill. Sebastian is sitting next to Valuspa while she is making flower necklaces.
Sebastian looks at her and asks “Why do you like doing that? Making silly necklaces, and why are you making so many? Isn’t one enough?”
Valuspa replies with “I need to make nine of these! Seven for all of us siblings, one for papa and one for Nanny Bonegrinder, oh and I might make one for Valletta! She’s just like me! An Azar! And she’s always nice to me! Oh! And she said something about being my handmaiden! That’s so sweet of her!”
“Ughhh whatever” Sebastian groans and then in the warm sunlight dozes off.
Later Valuspa shakes Sebastian to wake him up. “Big brother, big bother!” says Valuspa. Waking up and groggy now the scar faced boy sits up and while rubbing his eyes, he murmurs “what gives? What now? Want me to make flower necklaces too?” “NO” exclaims Valuspa, “You’re horrible at that!”. Sebastian gives an unhappy look and the Valuspa points at bushes near the other side of the hill, near a village and says “Look! Look! Blueberries! Let’s go have some!” Sebastian is instantly on his feet, and says no. “It’s too dangerous! It’s near a civilian village! The dark ages have made them all mad! I’ve...I’ve…seen people go crazy...let’s not go near the village, lets go back home…” But Valuspa insists and Sebastian unable to say no to yet another sister agrees and they move towards the berry bushes.
Both of them reach the bushes, they see the bush full of blueberries, gleefully they start picking them and eating them. “Soooo sweet” Valuspa exclaims, “told you its not a problem”. Sebastian doesn’t answer he is too busy stuffing his face with handfuls of blueberries.
Their happy eating is rudely interrupted when a lady and a man walk up on them. The woman screams and the man exclaims “what is that thing?” pointing at Valuspa. Soon the entire village with pitchforks, axes, sickles and pickaxes come. They all surround the children before they could even realise what is happening. The only thing the children could hear were terrified murmurs such as “what is that blue thing?” “A demon! A demon! That must be it!” “the creature with it, looks scarred, is it human?” “doesn’t matter kill them both, KILL THEM!”. Soon the entire crowd starts chanting “kill them, kill them” all the while both the children are too scared to move. Valuspa starts crying and that reminds Sebastian of the past. A past in which he failed his sister Saphira, that gives him courage to stand up.
Sebastian shouts “Leave us alone! We haven’t harmed you!” But that only gets the crowd more fearful. They fear what they don’t understand and they don’t understand what a disfigured boy and a violet girl with monstrous teeth are in their village’s blueberry gardens. Hearing Sebastian’s voice a villager with sickle tries to attack Valuspa but Sebastian in an attempt to save his sister, this sister, pushes her away and the sickle slashes at his face. Scarring the boy further. Sebastian starts crying, the pain he feels reminds him of when he got scarred protecting his previous sister, Saphira, he failed then too.. just like he is failing now. Valuspa screams out “why? Why did you get in the way? You’re human they might have spared you!” Sebastian says in a weak and hurt voice “I lost a sister once, I only tried to protect another, and it seems… I have failed once more…” The children accept their fate…ready to die…holding hands but then Mallok’s Wind, the horse of Mallok himself runs up on the crowd, stomps some of them and gets to the children, before the villager’s could react it picks them up puts them on his back and runs like the wind. He runs so fast he couldn’t be seen by the villagers, he makes no sound while running at top speeds. Only a golden glint is seen. Truly an abnormal yet incredible creature. Valuspa crying tells her brother “thank you big brother! You saved me! Im sorry for what happened, its all my fault!” Sebastian hugs her and tells her “It’s allright, we’re safe now. It’s not your fault at all! I should have said no…its my fault! But..but..I’m happy, because I was finally able to protect someone important to me! Thank you for saving us there Wind!” The horse merely neighs and that is enough to make the children feel happy. After they reach home Bonegrinder scolds the children for straying too far from the Drom, after she patches Sebastian up she informs Mallok of the incident.
That night the village was destroyed and Mallok made certain that each and every villager was tortured to death. The events are too harsh for words to explain but let’s just say….Egan got to chew on a lot of bones that night.
The next day Mallok tells his children to be vary of the outside world, commends Sebastian on protecting Valuspa and reassures Valuspa that it was not her fault, and begrudgingly agreed to make flower necklaces with her some time. He thought to himself “it really is hard to be a single father….of seven”. That night he left again for he had to quell resistances in Goldenvale, after he was finished the city of gold had become a ruin, only a former shadow of itself, later on claimed by razorbacks and mintaurs in years to come.
Chapter II: The Promise After The Fated Battle
After the war in which Mallok fell, the world was happy, or atleast most of it was. The brood of the seven, now all grown up wept like children for their deceased father, along with many more who had come to enjoy the shadow years.
Valuspa walks over to her brother with the corpse of her father, tears in her eyes she walks silently unnoticed by all in the vicinity. Sebastian with a jewelled mask which hid both his scarred faced and emotions, was facing her, takes his adopted father’s body without a word turns around and starts walking but then stops. He looks back and asks Valuspa “What are you going to do now?” She states then asks sobbing “I’ll destroy it…that Ardent they have created the allied Heroes, I’ve already made dark versions of the Traven areas with my magic, I’ll make a ruined shadow version of Ardent to which I will rule, which will become Ardent’s future! But…what of you? Are you really going to bring papa…I mean father back to life? And how?” Sebastian doesn’t look Valuspa in the eye but says “I don’t know but ill figure it out, but first to this Ardent…I need to destroy it from within.” Valuspa is unsure of Sebastian’s plan but keeps quite instead she says “remember back when we were kids? Rotburga hated studying, he was the worst at it! We all used to tease him! Now he is a professor at the Wizard School, how time changes, he might even become the headmaster! Who knows? ….I miss those times”. Sebastian looking at Valuspa says “me too” and starts walking away. Valuspa feels empty on the inside but starts walking in the opposite direction when she suddenly stops when her brother calls out to her again.
Sebastian shouts “Valuspa!”
Valuspa turns back puzzles and asks “yes big brother?”
“If you need me, don’t hesitate to ask, if say someday some hero comes to kill you, call for me ill come and protect you”.
To this Valuspa starts laughing and says “I can switch between physical defence and magical defence, I’m unbeatable!”
Sebastian calmy asks “and if there are multiple heroes, knowing physical and magical attacks? And of different classes?”
“I’ll deal with it!” Valuspa states angrily. “I have many, many people under me, they’ll help me out, I’m not alone!”
Sebastian sighs and say’s “very well then, goodbye dear sister”.
“Goodbye dear brother, I hope we see each other soon”.
They silently walked their separate ways, in opposite directions.
Unfortunately for them, they never did see each other again, at least not in this life. Valuspa died to the hands of a great hero who only became greater and stronger after killing Sebastian as well.
Chapter III: The Otherworld
Years after the promise was made Sebastian now ruled Pyrron with an iron fist. Sebastian now known as Lord Pyrrus angrily throws away a chair on a wall, howling in rage and grief, his gargoyle tries to calm him down but to no avail. Even the emotionless Pyrrus cries for the death of his now dead sister Valuspa. Vowing to destroy the hero who killed her he starts making plans to expand his army for the eventual conflict.
He screams out “It happened again! I couldn’t protect my sister again! How many more would I lose?”
That night a lot of things stirred in Pyrron, but for once it was not the stir of rebellion by the Brindles.
After along time has past since Valuspa’s death, Pyrrus now faces the hero of the brindles, his new enemy from afar, only he knows not that it’s the same person who killed Valuspa. After a long fought battle Pyrrus loses to the hero and his team. His summoned gargoyles couldn’t protect him nor could his power to turn others to stone. While the hero and his team celebrated, he laid dying, thinking to himself “oh….so that’s how it ends…so I die alone…like I predicted…I could not do anything, father is still dead and so is my former bride, Ardent still well, my sisters not avenged, I…I am a failure…”
When Pyrrus opens his eyes he is another world, he suddenly turns around when he hears a familiar voice “Big brother, I have been waiting”. Pyrrus is shocked to hear the voice and turns to it only to see his dead sister Valuspa. “Valuspa! I…I thought you were dead” Pyrrus exclaims, Valuspa only gives him a sad smile…then he realises that the are both dead and in the other world. “But, but why have you been here? Why didn’t you move on?” Pyrrus asked. Valuspa responds calmly “You needed someone, if not in life then at least after it, so I stayed”. Then Valuspa smiled and said “Lets go, the otherworld awaits”. Pyrrus gets up but falls to his knees and starts crying, sobbing he tells her “I…I have failed, I couldn’t bring father bak to life, I couldn’t save you, I couldn’t destroy Ardent, I couldn’t save my bride or bring her back and I couldn’t…I couldn’t …. Save Saphira all those years ago! I …I am a failure!”. Valuspa tells him calmly with a smile “No big brother you aren’t a failure, you made a kingdom for yourself, enslaved an entire race, made a new race-the gargoyles, befriended a dragon, made father proud! And most of all! Most of all! Saved me back then all those years ago! You are not a failure brother! You are a genius! Perhaps the best of all of us!” Hearing all this Pyrrus gets up and starts walking. But then he stops again and says “I’m scared… would you…come with me?”
“Ofcource” Valuspa says holding his hand. “this time I will protect you” says Valuspa smiling.
Both Pyrrus and Valuspa start walking, while walking they turn back into their child selves, like back when they went berry picking only this time Sebastian’s face doesn’t have a scar on it and he’s not scared anymore, he is happy, content with what he has for once, not desperately running away or trying to get things he doesn’t have, he is happy and at peace.
They start laughing and running towards a bright portal which will lead them to where they will now reside, though they know what is to come they are happy because they know at least they have each other. The colour of this otherworld and what fate awaits them is left to the imagination of the reader.