People have asked me to share some of my stories on the forums, so here we are! There's not much now, but I'm currently working on a much longer story (with multiple Chapters) that I'll post here as well.
Long ago, in the time of the four elders, a great evil arose: A being called Grinchta. A bulbous green fellow with a heart as black as coal. He wanted nothing more than to make the lives of the villagers of ardent to be MISERABLE during the holiday season. He tore down trees, smashed presents, and ate all the feasts the people had prepared.
The four elders, unable to stop their quest to stop Mallok, granted blessings to thsoe who would battle the not-so-jolly green giant. Soon, an army of villagers arose. They were sick of Grinchta's antics. Whether the elders gave them the blessings or not, they refused to stand by while he destroyed all their hard work. They armed themselves with what they could and dove into battle.
Many villagers fell in battle. The others who lived mourned their friends and fought with more vigor than ever before! But no matter how many times he fell, Grinchta would always rise again in mere hours.
No villager would back down.
They continued their fight. This was their holiday! They wouldn't give in so easily.
The portal connecting Grincta's Lair and Ardent would only remain open for a few months. That's how long the villagers had to hold him off for. Their battles raged until the faithful day came and the portal closed.
A mass celebration rung throughout the Kingdom. Songs were sung for the fallen and stories were told of the harrowing battles. Deep down they all knew one thing: Grinchta would return.
Each and every year, Grinchta would return to Ardent to spread his reign of terror. Each and every year the villagers fought. It was such that each and every year the villagers stood together in growing numbers to protect their holiday festivities.
It was in battles such as these, that villagers became Heroes.
Long ago, when the days were long and the nights were warm, a counsel was formed. The counsel of five queens of Fae. The youngest was Turenia of Light. Then came Eldelia of Poison, Rakicia of Shadow and Anosia of Fire. The Eldest of the five was the great Vesasia of Water, the most powerful of the Fae queens.
Their rogue sister, Prisma, refused to follow her sisters and instead chose to dwell outside of their Vales, hiding wherever she wished, awaiting her human prey.
Many citizens had gone to the Twilight Vale to enjoy the beauty it encompassed, but soon grew to fear it as much as the Haunted Moors. The Faes and their minions would swoop down upon anyone and leave nothing as though the person had never been there at all.
The Fae were so powerful, that many a hero fell to their might. Until one group of heroes stepped forward. They were young but determined.
These four heroes were the forerunners of something great to come. To Terminate the Five Fae's rule once and for all. A Shadow priest, a Holy Priestess, and a huntress lead by a Fire Wizard.
Together they took arms and marched across the Vale, killing all the monsters that dare step into their path. They knew what they had to do.
There were four heroes and five queens of fae. Light, Poison, Shadow, Fire and water. Each sister stronger, and more powerful than the one before her. To get to one you had to defeat the younger. Turenia, the yuongest, was the easiest to defeat. That, in of itself, spoke volumes as she hurled concentrated beams of light, searing into the heroes flesh. The priests were just able to heal their friends enough.
Low on mana, they knew they could spare little time before they would be brought before her sister. Eldelia would not be as easy as her sister to take down. Never was, never will. The sisters would grow stronger each time.
They knew that if they could barely defeat the youngest, what chance did they have against the eldest? Despite their fears, they knew they had to try. For the sake of the people and for the sake of Ardent, they had to try and give it their all.
At last Eldelia fell; the heroes breathed a sigh of relief, then only to find themselves immersed in darkness. They were in the Vale of Shadows: home to Rakicia. The dark queen emerged from her cloak of shadows, above her, the forms of priests and monks whose souls she had trapped within her realm. She gave an evil smile to the priests, one that would send chills up Mallok's spine; "Looks like I'll have two more souls for my collection!" She laughed as she dove forward towards her prey.
Holy bolt. Shadow bolt. Fire ball. Poison arrow. Over and over they fought her. The Holy priestess was beaten within an inch of her life before, in a final act of desperation, she released one last holy bolt, struck the dark, shadowy form of Rakicia. She howled in pain as the souls of her collection dove in on her, dragging her away into the shadows.
The priestess drank her potion of health and began to slowly recuperate. When the shock had past the heroes began to rejoice. Their joy did not last as they soon found themselves in the presence of a fiery foe: Anosia, the Fire Fae. She was never one to grant quarter...
As Anosia began to boast of her great power, the fire wizard merely grinned. She would have to try harder if she were to battle him properly. In his own element the Fire Wizard excelled. Her powers of fire were resisted by his own. She turned her attention towards the others, anticipating an easier meal.
The huntress and shadow priest found themselves trapped between a wall of fire and a wall of stone. The Priestess cast a shield, allowing them to escape within a hair of being blasted by Anosia's fiery wrath. The Priests and hunter stood alongside their leader and soon Anosia was ended in a fiery inferno of power.
Choking on the smoke left by her remains, the heroes allowed themselves a moment to let their mana return and let the priests heal them. Once all that is said was done, they trudged forward to the Vale of water
Dread filled the heroes, but they had to continue. They were so close. So very close. Soon they would bring the sisters down and the vale could be free of their tyranny.
They came into the room of mossy stone and flowing, glowing, blue waters. In the center of the stone pillars hovered the watery queen herself. The heroes gazed at Vesesia, the eldest of the Five Fae, and the most terrifying.
Twas said she could strike an army down with a single blow. the heroes grew aware that this may be their final stands.
Nevertheless the courageous team stood at the ready; preparing themselves for what very well could be their final deed of heroism.
Vesesia smiled darkly from beneath her long dark hair.
The brave heroes charged at their foe.
Spells flew through the air like lightning, striking the targets true.
Alas, as fire fought fire, fire could not fight water. Her watery powers struck their leader and the fire wizard trembled, then fell hard to the cold floor. The heroes let out a cry for their leader, but they had to relent on. If not for themselves, then for their leader!
The huntress took their leader's place and took the heavy blows. The priests sent out frenzies of healing spells to quell the damage.
With a groan, the fire wizard began to stand once more, refusing to relent to the Water Witch's twisted powers. He fell once more, but soon propped himself up against his staff.
The heroes grew tired, their spells less frequent. Mana and health ran low.
Vesesia and the heroes threw spell after spell after each other. As the priests healed their own, Vesesia had no one as such. Finally the heroes let out one last collective blow. A swirl of holy and shadow bolts, poisonous arrows and a stream a fire struck the Queen in the chest. She shuddered for a moment before she began to dissolve into nothingness with cries of agony and pain.
Vesesia was dead. The counsel was defeated.Weak and weary, they were re-energized by the victory. Together they cheered for the vale was freed! As the news spread of the heroes victory, a banquet was held in celebration.
The Midsummer nights were filled with joyous laughter, singing and dancing, grand foods of exquisite and tantalizing tastes and each of the heroes retelling the story to those that listened.
All of Ardent was joyous, unaware that the sisters were to rise again in the coming years.
I'm so glad everyone is enjoying my stories so far! I want to wait till after the next Fan Art Fridays winners are announced to share the first chapter of my story since I want it to be a surprise for everyone. The chapter I'll post here will be slightly different as I did some revision after submitting it as my entry. Also, I will be dealing with the last month of school so I may not be able to get the second chapter done as soon as I want to, but I will try!
Thank you for your patience everyone and have a lovely Easter!
Edit: I noticed that the way I worded the mention of Fan Art Fridays is that is sounds like I expect to win: I don't. With so many submissions I may not, but I just wanted to wait to see if I did or didn't. If I did, hey that's great! If not, that's alright and I'll still post the chapter. Just wanted to clear that up just in case there was any confusion.
The little girl sat on the warm rock patiently watching. A little ant crawled across the stones with a bit of food in its pincers. She watched as a humble little bee buzzed and stirred within a bright pink flower. She didn’t watch them as intently, though, as the silky strands that glittered as they were woven by its artist between two rocks.
The spider, as scary as she was, was beautiful with a deep raven shine that turned blue in the light. Her eyes glittering like gemstones as she worked. The girl smiled as the spider, seeming satisfied with her work, retreated to the corner of her web to await her prey. The girl continued to watch serenely, hoping to see what meal might come to her little friend.
“VIRANDA!” The girl jumped at the sudden noise. Birds that once sat in the trees now took flight in their fright.
The girl sat up and turned around. A tall man was stomping towards her.
“Viranda, I have called you twelve times already!”
The little girl shied away from his anger. “I’m sorry, daddy. I was just…”
“No excuses! You were called, you need to come! Now get to the house!”
“But daddy!” Viranda whirled around and carefully plucked the spider from her nest. The spider strangely didn’t seem to mind, though, as she settled into the girl’s tiny palm quite nicely.
“Look at her! Isn’t she pretty? She made a really pretty silvery web and…” the girl didn’t get to finish. Her father slapped her hands knocking the spider to the ground.
“ENOUGH! I’m tired of this!” He bellowed.
“NO!” She shrieked and tried to leap forward, but wasn’t fast enough.
With one swift step he brought his boot down, ending the spider’s life. The girl began to cry. He shook his head. “I have told you time and time again, I…”
“Viranda! Hodr!” A woman bearing a striking resemblance to the girl came running up in a panic. She stopped short seeing her daughter’s red, crying face and quickly ran up to her. “Vira, baby, what happened?” She stroked the girl’s dark curls.
“H-he killed m-my s-spider fr-friend!” The 6 year old blubbed out.
“Hodr…” The woman began sternly.
“It was a bug, Verbose! Besides, I thought you were afraid of spiders, Vir.” He seemed more agitated than angry at this point; Maybe disappointed.
“B-but she was a n-nice spider!” Vira looked straight into his eyes. One could’ve thought they saw a hint of regret amongst the stormy grey.
Holding the girl close to her, Verbose stood up. “We don’t have time for this! We need to get back to the village! Now! Something terrible has happened!”
As the family ran back to the village, Vira found herself comforted by the warm embrace of her mother as she carried her across the grassy hills of Maiden, unaware of the danger of tomorrow.
When they finally arrived in the village square, a large crowd has already accumulated with a buzz of confusion and fascination. At the center of the crowd, there was a man, unknown to Viranda, sitting on a bench. He kept his head low and in his hand as he leaned against the wood and stone. His clothing was once a dark grey but now were tattered and stained and looked nearly as bedraggled as he who wore them. He looked exhausted and very, VERY upset. Whispers coursed through the crowd like an electrical current: Who was he? Why was he here? What has made him so upset?
Verbose and Hodr came to the front of the crowd with Viranda between them. The crowd parted itself to let them through; Her father was well respected amongst them.
The man looked up at the crowd and spoke in a tired tone “I’m certain you are all wondering what brought me here to you…” He didn’t get to finish his sentence.
“Who are you? Why are you here?”
“What do you want with us?”
“What are you wearing? Are you a warrior or a wizard? What class are you?”
“Who sent you?”
More shouts rang out from the crowd about the man’s ambiguity.
Finally the mayor spoke up:
“Silence! Silence everyone! Let the man speak for himself and perhaps you will have your answers!”
He turned back to the man and nodded.
The man scanned the crowd and, for a moment, locked eyes with Vira. She squeaked and hid behind her mother’s legs.
“My name is Ryder and my class does not matter. I fear the news I bring you is not joyous, but rather grave indeed.” His voice sounded rather regal for a man in his state. He paused for a moment.
“The Black Thrush has returned!” He instantly reached into his coat and pulled out a large black bird feather and a scrap of fabric with the Black Thrush Symbol on it.
The crowd gave a collective gasp and murmurs resonated through the crowd once more. As the mayor tried to quiet the upset crowd again, Vira looked over to the man. He still held the items aloft, but something flashed in his face. What was it? Surely she wasn’t the only one to see it? She scanned the crowd for a sign, but saw none. At last the crowd grew quiet enough for the stranger to speak once more.
“People of maiden! I implore you to stay calm! I tried to warn King Leo but he refused to send troops to aid my people and as a result, my village was burned to the ground with only I surviving! Leo still won’t believe what’s right in front of him!”
Vira recalled hearing about that; so many people had died in the fire. They had said it was the result of a furnace, but had it really been the black thrush?
“People of maiden, I implore you to do what Leo is too cowardly to do! Stand up and fight! Arm yourselves and protect the Seven Realms from the Black Thrust! Pick up your weapons and protect your homes!”
A cheer resonated through the square. The man’s commanding voice filled the people with a patriotic pride.
He smiled. “You are not the only ones. I gave the warning to other villages and they’ve agreed to help as well. We will leave tomorrow at sunrise. You have tonight, my heroes, to prepare yourselves and bid farewell to your families fore I, after all, cannot ensure your safe return.”
The crowd began to disperse with Viranda hearing murmurs on what should and shouldn’t be packed for such a journey.
“You’re not going! I forbid you!
“You FORBID me? I’m not a child Hodr; I can make my own decisions!”
“Well what about me? What about Viranda? What would I have to say to her if her mother never comes back!?”
“The TRUTH Hodr! For once in your life you could always be a bit more honest with our daughter!”
“The truth!? You want me to tell her the truth!? Like WHAT? Like her mother ran off and got herself killed on a stupid quest a random guy gave her!? I don’t trust that man, Verbose!”
“You could tell her I was trying to do the right thing! You know the Black Thrush is rising, you’ve seen the signs yourself for YEARS! They were bound to return someday, is it so hard to believe that it could be now!?”
Vira had been listening in from her room upstairs. This was the first time she’d heard them argue like this, they’ve had arguments in the past but this was the worst.
“If you want to leave then, I don’t care! But you’re not bringing this!”
Vira heard the sound of something heavy and made of metal being picked up and thrown into a chest with the click of a lock followed by her mother yelling;
“You are such a child! You think that locking up my mace will do anything?! I have to leave, Hodr! To keep our home safe. To keep our Vira safe! I have to at least try! With or without your support!”
Vira sat beside her bed and wrapped herself in her blanket, hands against her ears, crying and trying to block the noise out.
“You don’t care!”
“Yes I do!”
“You know I can’t! I want to, believe me, but I can’t!”
“Is it because you’re bored here? Is life here not exciting enough for you or something!?”
“NO! There won’t BE any life here if we don’t fight the Black Thrush!”
“What is it going to take to get through to you!?”
“NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING!”
“Not even Vira?”
His deadpan tone silenced the argument.
The home fell so silent you could hear a spider’s footsteps.
Verbose spoke very low, very solemnly;
“I’m doing this for Vira.”
Without another word she turned and walked out the door. Vira watched from her bedroom window as her mother walked towards the stores, paper in hand, illuminated by only the light from the windows and the pale, glistening moonlight. A feeling of dread and fear blanketed the young, shivering girl.
Things may seem a bit different than previous chapters, this is because the story is being written chapter by chapter and I'm also editing the story a little bit. Here Verbose and Hodr have had their arguments but they usually work through them in the end. His stubborness and her temper often getting the better of them. I am going to try to write more chapters and I'm working on one for tomorrow for Fan Art Fridays.
Chapter III; Verbose's Goodbye
The sun had yet to rise above the emerald and pink hills of Maiden. As birds began to shake their wings, preparing to begin their morning songs. Verbose crouched in the doorway, embracing her young daughter.
"Mommy will be back in a few months sweetheart." Her eyes glitstened like dew on a flower. The little girl stared up at her mother, recalling the troublesome night before. A new mace, shining with pristine purity, was strapped to her back.
"Where are you going?" The girl's voice rang with worry. She had heard her father mention that her mother could die... She remembered her grandmother dying....
Verbose wiped the tears from the child's cheeks. "I'm going to stop some very evil people from hurting innocent people. Vira continued to cry.
"But I don't want you to go!" Vira flung herself onto her mother.
Verbose thought for a moment before reaching into her bag and protruding an elegant pendant from her bag. It was on a silver chain and the gem was a deep, gleaming purple, matching Verbose's eyes. "Here, take this" she placed the necklace around Vira's neck as it gave a small yellow glow. "It's my promise; my promise that I'll come back to you." Vira stared at the necklace as the glow faded and then back to her mother.
"Why can't I go with you?"
"It's far too dangerous. Besides, your father needs you here." She glanced up at Hodr. He stood a ways back in the hallway, leaning against the wall, arms crossed against his white wizard robes. Their eyes met for a moment before he looked to the floor.
"Heroes!" A bell rang from outside, followed by Ryder's voice; "We must embark!"
"I have to go now sweetie," Verbose gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead " you be good for your father, okay?"
"Okay" the little voice cracked.
"Oh, my little Vira." Verbose once again wiped the tears away as she embraced her daughter. As she stood up, she looked to Hodr. She stepped forward, hand outstretched, eyes pleading for some emotion to show in her husbands face. His brow furrowed as she stubbornly kept his eyes down. His hands cletched around his arms. Verbose stood... then reached.
As she lifted her bag from the floor she took a singled more glance behind her, eyes glistening with sadness, a look that seemed as though she wished to stay. An invisble force seeming to pull her back to her family.... but she ignored it. I have to protect them, whether he wants me to or not! She thought. in both anger and sadness. Twelve years they'd been married, and he wouldn't even look her in the eyes.
She stepped out into the cool, dark air. The horizon had begun to glow a warm red beneath the darkness. The other volunteers, 50 or so, had also gathered in the square. Fredrick struggled to control his tarantula as it hissed, unhappy to be awake at this hour.
"Heroes, mount!" Ryder's voice called out; Strong and leaderlike. He turned and lead them, on his large bay stallion, through the streets and out of Maiden. When Verbose turned around to take one last glance at her home before embarking, she saw Vira, in the growing light, waving from the doorway. Behind her stood Hodr, his eyes were unreadable. Despite his stoic stance, he gave a small tremble. She waved back before turning away;
"Let's go Caspian." Verbose spoke to her horse in a gentle tone, and, with a click of her tongue, followed the rest towards the rising sun, becoming only a silhouette on the horizon.
The Viranda Chronicles: Chapter IV - Life After Goodbye
"You need to try harder, Vira!"
"NO you're not! IF you were you'd frozen that target by now! Do it AGAIN!"
Vira glared at her father and then the white staff in her hand. This morning she'd thought it pretty, and now she hated it. Almost as much as him. The moment that thought crossed her mind, a pang of guilt struck her heart. She was just tired, that was all, she'd been studying all night. She still had her pen in her pocket.
"Hodr... perhaps she isn't ready yet?" An older wizard with dark brown hair stepped forward. His black and red robes flowed in the drafty hall.
"She is 8 years old Hephaestus! I was seven when I could cast a proper spell!" Hodr growled as he angrily turned away. He stood and pondered for a moment. "Maybe she could have an easier time with fire magic?" His tone was more exasperated than anything. "Do you have any beginner fire staves?"
"Hodr, I don't think-"
"I said," his voice calm "Do. You. Have. Any. FIRE. STAVES." His voice was even but his tone was impatient and flared with a loosely-held back anger.
Hephaestus stood for a moment ".... yes we do, ... but..."
"BUT WHAT?" The room felt ice cold as Hodr's voice rumbled through the spacious hall.
"Perhaps she is more like her mother?" Hephaestus gestured to Vira. As nice as he was to her, Hephaestus and her dad both shared the flawed habit of treating Vira as if she weren't even there or an object that is to be discussed over.
"Hodr stood still. His eyes transfixed on the fire wizard before him. The room fell dead silent. It was now cold enough Vira could see her own breath in front of her face like a dragon's smoke.
"What.. did you just say?" Hodr's voice was cold as steel and deep like a dragons.
"I said, she could be more like her mother. Verbose was a very powerful priestess. Perhaps Viranda has more in common with her than just her appearance. " Hephaestus repeated calmly. He was used to Hodr by now. They had grown up together, but there was a glimmer of fear deep within Phestus' eyes. Hodr took a deep breath.
"How.. DARE YOU speak of her!" Hodr slammed his icy staff to the floor sending a wave of ice and snow through the training hall. Vira was thrown back, tears of pain and anger flooded her eyes; her chest and head burned. Phaestus climbed back to his feet; he wasn't thrown as far as Vira was.
"Hold your temper Hodr! Simply because you refuse to accept reality does not mean you can enforce that upon Viranda!" He rarely lost his temper, so it was unusual to hear the fire wizard's voice rise and burn like this.
"Hold your own Hephaestus! I accepted it a long time ago! Everyone else just seems to have forgotten that! Verbose ... SHE is in the past!" He stormed over and grabbed Viranda's arm, hauling her to her feet. She whelped in fear. "I won't let Vira go mad like she did! Vira is going to be raised RIGHT. As a WIZARD!" His grip got tighter and tighter, hurting Vira's arm; Phestus saw this.
"Hodr, I..." He stepped forward, arms outstretched in a calming gesture.
"No! I won't let you or anyone else fuel her little fantasy! She isn't going down that path. I'll ensure it!"
His grip got too tight now. Vira could barely feel her left arm. Desperate: she reached into her pocket and protruded her feathery pen. With all her might she jabbed it into Hodr's hand. He screamed and let go. Without hesitation Vira ran like a frightened hare, slipping on ice as she went.
"VIRANDA!!!" Hodr angered bellow thundered after her but she did little to heed him. She burst through the double doors and ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Through the streets, running past people, sometimes hitting a carriage or box. Her chest hurt but she ignored it. She ran out of the town and up a grassy hill and began climbing the dark rocks. She heaved herself over the edge of the wall and hit the ground running. Her body begged for her to stop but she continued as though her life was on the line. She wouldn't stop; she couldn't stop, not until she reached it.
Monstrous fungi plagued the hills outside the walls, but they were slow and stupid and she could evade them easily.
Finally, at long last, she found it. A little plaza with cobblestone walkways and trees. At the center there was a statue of a woman, a warrior clad in armor, a sword in one hand and a face of determination. Vira's legs shook and gave out under her. Her vision was swirly and her stomach churned. It took a few moments for her to regain her senses, but eventually she felt well enough to stand again. She glanced up to the statue, the face of the woman was elegantly carved beneath a helm of stone. She looked down; mounted to the foundation stone of the statue, there was a bronze plaque. Engraved into it: In remembrance of those who gave their lives
fighting to protect our home and land from the
evil of the Black Thrush. May you forever be
remembered in your children and your stories,
and may time never forget you.
Below the heartfelt inscription, there was a long list of names. Some where people that she knew. The barber, Thomas and the Blacksmith's brother, Joseph. She scanned the list until she came to the one she was looking for: Verbose Adriel-Kori, aged 32
The Viranda Chronicles: Chapter V –
She ran her small fingers against the cold bronze. Memories washed over her; Her mother teaching her how to ride a horse and how to perform a simple healing spell (mostly because she’d fall OFF the horse). She remembered how she would snort when she laughed too hard at a terrible joke Hodr had made and how he’d begin laughing until they both collapsed. She struggled to keep tears at bay. She remembered, seeing the glowing sunrise behind her mother as she turned away for the last time. How she had promised to return but didn’t.
The soft voice startled her back to the present. She whirled around to see a man standing at the edge of the plaza, his red and black robes blowing in the breeze. She breathed a sigh of relief. “’Phaestus!” She smiled, thankful it hadn’t been her father.
He paused for a moment, laying his hand to rest on a wooden beam. “Are… Are you okay?” Worry shrouded his face. “I’m sorry I brought up your mother like that.“
“It’s fine.” Her voice was quiet.
He shifted on his feet. “How’s your arm? I saw how he grabbed it-“
“I’m okay.” She looked down; guilt raked her for having lashed out as she did.
“He’s angry, but I glanced at his hand and it’s not even bleeding, if that’s what you’re concerned about.” He knelt down on one knee so he could look her in the eye.
She looked back up at him. “I don’t wanna go near him.” Her voice quavered. “He’s angry all the time.”
“I know, Vira. He’s still hurting.” She looked at the plaque once more. Hephaestus seemed to think for a moment. “He still loves you, you know.” She glanced at him. “He almost sent the entire village out after you.” He almost laughed.
“I told him you were clever enough to evade the fungi and I see I was right.” He brushed a tear off the girls face.
“No matter what I do, he just gets angry at me! I just want him to be happy.” Tears streamed down her face once more, her voice quivering.
“There, there,” Hephaestus wrapped his arms around her as she shook “I know it’s hard right now, but someday, it’ll all be okay.” He looked at the girl.” There will come a time in your life that you will learn that if you keep reaching out, you might fall yourself.”
She looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
He brushed her hair aside. “You’ll understand someday. Now come,” he stood up “let’s get back to the village.”
“Verbose had a way with words, I can say that for certain. She certainly lived up to her name!” They both laughed. The sun had begun to sink below the horizon as they slowly walked back to the village. Talking to him she was learning a whole new side to her mother.
“Did mom REALLY take on ten wargs at once?” Vira’s eyes shone with admiration.
“Yes she did. She did all the while sending off mass heals to keep your father and I alive.” He smiled. “She was a very powerful priestess who rarely backed down from a fight.” He leaned close to Vira “it was both a virtue and a vice.” He laughed. “She once got into a fight with a bandit twice her size!” If Hodr and I hadn’t come in at the last moment I feel she would’ve had more than a broken leg!”
“Wow” Vira’s eyes widened for a moment. Suddenly she stopped and looked at the ground.
“Vira?” Hephaestus, realized she had stopped and looked back. “Are you alright?”
She twiddled her fingers for a moment. “Will I ever be as powerful as mom?”
He walked back to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I haven’t a doubt in my mind.” She smiled and his eyes glanced back towards the village for a moment.
“So tomorrow when we train, we’re going to practice a single ice spell for now and work up from there.”
Viranda stopped, clearly confused.
“But you just said I’d be as powerful as…”
“As your father, of course, but that takes time. Everyone has to start somewhere!”
Vira opened her mouth once more, but stopped when she saw the stoic figure coming towards them.
“Where was she?” Anger still singed the edge of his voice.
“She was paying respects to the fallen, Hodr.” Her father stopped right in front of him. “We think that it’s best to start on one simple spell and perhaps that will ‘awaken’ so to speak, her abilities. Also, if we eased up on the reading, perhaps she will be able to focus more. Ease into it, you know?” Hope glimmered in his eyes.
Hodr stood, emotionless, for a moment. Vira and Hephaestus met eyes for a second, both very worried.
“Fine.” The two let out a sigh of relief. “Now, let’s go home.”
The sun was down and the street lights were lit by the time they got back within the town. Before they split paths, Vira stopped Hephaestus.
“What if I can’t do the spells?”
“I don’t know if you’ll actually be able to perform any spells. I know that it’s happened before, but as rare as multi-class families are, I can’t say for certain.”
“What am I going to do it I can’t?”
“I’ll think of something, don’t you worry.”
“Vira!” Hodr had noticed she’d fallen behind.
“Coming, Daddy!” She called. She Hephaestus a hug before running after Hodr.
“Don’t worry, I’ll have a staff ready for you in the morning!” He called after her.
Vira, looked back over her shoulder, watching him until he’d disappeared behind the buildings. She was thankful for all he had done for her. She’d study hard and try harder than she had before. She would make her father proud.
Hephaestus was right, in a way. She could do more now, but barely. She could summon a small amount of ice, barely enough to give someone a chill, let alone freeze an enemy. Her father stood at the edge of the training area. He didn’t say anything. She wished he would. Sometimes his silence was worse than his yelling. She wished Hephaestus were there more often. He and his wife had had a baby and he was often tired from splitting his time between family and teaching.
Viranda stared at the staff in her hand. It had a pure white wooden handle and at the top was an elegantly formed cage of white metal. Inside the cage was a glowing icy blue stone. A month ago Hephaestus had spent the night crafting it to suit her. It only had a single rune on it: Deep Freeze. He said she could move onto Glacial Spike once she’s gained more strength with it. Now that seemed near impossible. Her energy was completely drained. Her mana spent. She felt like she could lie down on the floor and sleep for days. Her father must’ve seen this.
“That’s enough for today.” His voice was flat, but she could hear cold disappointment burning the edges of it. Nonetheless, relief surged through her as she followed her father outside and back towards the house. The sun had lowered in the sky giving a warm glow to the pink landscape.
At home, her father said nothing and she herself could barely eat. Earlier she would’ve scarfed down the Fish Steak in front of her, but now she had to force herself to eat little by little. After dinner was done she went straight to her room. She sat on her bed and stared out her window. The sound of laughter caught her attention.
She looked to the grassy field across the road. She saw children her age running around, chasing each other, and chasing after Fireflies. She felt a deep longing to run with them. People were often too afraid to speak to her, fearing her father and thus their children didn’t see her outside of school. Maybe, just maybe she could go and play with them. The thought of playing tag and chasing fireflies seemed to renew the energy she lost during training. She jumped off her bed and ran toward her bedroom door.
She froze the instant her hand touched the doorknob. She’d forgotten one thing: her father wouldn’t allow it. He never did, so why, even for a brief moment, did she think she could? Her hand dropped back to her side as she slunk back over to her bed. She stared longingly out the window once more. Squeals of joy echoed from the field as a game of chase ensued. Suddenly, a girl looked up and met eyes with Viranda. It was Jada. She was a sharp-eyed huntress, so it wasn’t a surprise that she would see Vira from such a distance. She waved and beckoned to the lonely girl to join her. The others stopped to see what she was doing.
Vira glanced at them, then back at her door, then back to them, then to the door once more. She thought for a moment. She waved back then leapt off her bed. She went out her door and crept down the stairs. She saw her father had fallen asleep reading a book in the living room. She crept back up the stairs and was careful to close her door without a sound. She ran over to her window and opened it just wide enough to let herself out. She climbed out onto the awning above their porch and was careful to close the window down on a piece of wood so it wouldn’t slam shut and leave her locked out.
Being careful so as not to slip down, she made her way to the edge and leapt off into the grass with a thud. She froze waiting. She looked back through the living room window and saw her father was still asleep; he hadn’t heard her. She smiled as she turned and ran off to join the others.
As she got closer Jada ran over and gave her a hug. “Vira! You finally came!” All the breath was knocked out of Vira in an instant. Jada was bigger than she was (well, most people were actually…) and could easily lift her off the ground.
A young boy spoke up “But won’t your dad notice you’re gone?” He looked back towards Vira’s home with a worried glance. His name was Thomas Jr., or as everyone called him, Tommy. He was the son of Thomas Sr. the Blacksmith. His light sandy hair covered up a good portion of his dark face.
“He’s asleep right now, so long as I’m not gone long, I should be just fine.” The boy smiled, then calmly laid a hand on Vira’s shoulder.
“TAG!” He yelled and began running. Vira laughed in what felt like the first time in forever as she began to chase the others around. First she tagged Jada, then Jada got Andromeda, then Andromeda got Tommy, then Tommy got Orion (Andromeda’s Twin), and for an hour the children chased each other squealing with glee. Eventually, a warrior, Franklin, was “it” and chose Vira and Tommy as his targets. He was big; bigger than Jada. It was hard to believe he was the same age as the others, standing half a foot taller than the rest. They were the two smallest children in the town; they had no hope of outrunning him.
They all laughed as he ran after them. In their attempts to dodge him, they climbed up on a low stone wall and ran along it Vira behind Tommy; Franklin followed. Just as Franklin caught up to Vira, a stone unlodged itself, sending the three down. Unfortunately, Franklin was on top.
As Vira and Franklin giggled at the misfortune and got back up, Tommy let out a whine. He sat up and rubbed his thin knee which was now skinned and bleeding. “Oh, I’m so sorry Tommy!” Franklin shrunk with guilt as the other children began gathering around to see what had happened. Andromeda knelt next to her cousin.
“Tommy, are you ok!?”
“Y-Yeah I’m fine! And it’s not your fault, Franklin!” Tommy rubbed his knee a bit and winced. “It doesn’t hurt that bad.”
She didn’t know why, but Vira reached out and hovered her hand above the scrape. It went from his knee to halfway down his shin. She closed her eyes and remembered what her mother had once said to her. She concentrated and felt a small drain to her mana and a warm feeling as a glowing golden light emanated from her hand and matching circle appeared around both of them. The children watched as the blood stopped and the skin began healing over. Within just a couple of seconds, you could barely tell it had been there. The only reminder was in the memories of the children, Tommy’s bloody sock and a small scar. Vira’s hand was shaking as she drew it away. Moments passed, and before anyone could speak, shouting startled the children.
They looked up to see several of the parents running towards them. Much to Vira’s dismay, her father was among them. As the parents drew closer they began asking questions. Apparently one of them had heard the crash and saw a flash of light. Hodr’s eyes met Vira’s as she felt her face burn red hot. What could she say? What could she do? If he found out she used a priest spell he’d-
“We’re fine, Dad!” Tommy smiled as he stood up. His father towered over him. Thomas Sr. was the blacksmith. He stood tallest among them, ironic that his son was the smallest among the children. His dark shoulders were twice the width of Hodr. It seemed like he could be closer related to Franklin than to Tommy. “We were playing on the wall and fell off.” His father looked down and saw the blood on his sons sock. The boy suddenly grew nervous. “Oh.. uh….” Tommy knew, heck everyone knew how much Vira’s father wanted her to be a wizard, not a priest. If he knew she used Priest magic, she could get into big trouble. It was inevitable, they’d have to tell. Vira opened her mouth to speak. She felt her father’s eyes burning into her.
“His knee was bleeding so I healed him!” Andromeda cut in. Vira suddenly looked towards her. Of course! Andromeda and Orion, Tommy’s cousins, were priests like their parents. She’d almost forgotten since Tommy and his father were warriors. Andromeda and Orion’s mother stepped forward, the local healer, and knelt down, examining Tommy’s leg.
“You did a fairly good job. It wasn’t deep so the scar will fade quite quickly.” She looked to her daughter and smiled, but her eyes crossed Vira’s for a split second. Does she know? She stood once more. “I think it’s about time the children got to bed. They’ve had enough adventuring for one night.” Vira sighed with relief, but it didn’t last long.
As the children dispersed and went home, some following their parents, Vira’s relief faded as she realized that her father was still staring at her with his cold grey eyes. She almost attempted a smile. His face seemed to relax a little, or maybe that was a trick in the light, and he turned back towards the house. Vira followed, meek and quite as a mouse. Once inside he turned to her and pointed to the stairs.
“Get to bed.” His voice sounded tired, like he didn’t want to deal with her anymore for the night. She ducked her head and complied, racing up the stairs as fast as she could. She got herself dressed and climbed into bed, resting her head on her stuffed bear. A small breeze still came through the window, but she barely noticed it. Her mind swam with the events of the afternoon.
As the moon rose clear above the horizon she recalled the feeling that she had when she healed Tommy’s leg. When she tried using ice magic, it didn’t feel right. It was forced, but when she had used the healing spell, when she used Priest magic, it felt... right. It felt natural to her, as natural as taking a breath. Not that Wizard magic felt unnatural or anything, just that it felt slightly off. Like a shoe that was a size too big or small.
Her gaze drifted to the rock wall once more. On one side was the field, on the other was a garden, beyond it she could see the massive dark stone wall that encompassed the town. Beyond that lay the fungi and even farther; the edge of Maiden. Down below the floating island was a snowy mountain range; Shiverspine.
She rolled onto her back and held her hands up into the moonlight. Her mind churned over and over. She couldn’t be a wizard, she wouldn’t. Despite what her father wanted, she was meant to be a priestess, she knew it. She lay her hands down again as choices were laid upon her. Andromeda and Orion’s mother or father could train her, but the problem was either they feared or respected Hodr too much to go against him. She could also try to reason with her father (she snorted at the thought). She sighed. If she wanted to ever become the priestess she felt she was meant to be, she had only one choice: to leave Maiden.