|Magic Beyond the Mountains
Author: Nice Aerial PM
There was something dormant that lied just below the surface in Chandler, but she could never fully grasp it. When two strangers visit her house and deliver her into her rightful world, she finds that that 'something' had a bigger role than she thought.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,888 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 07-17-08 - Published: 07-15-08 - id: 2545987
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N (Feel free to skip):
I didn't get as many reviews as I hoped for, but I knew at least two people are reading and that's good enough for me! Katie Maurice-I'm so glad you liked my story, just knowing you like it motivated me to write more! The same goes for Mariella Hunt-I'm thrilled that yo reviewed.
With that said, let's jump into it :)
And let me know if you find any grammatical errors! I should get myself a beta reader, spellcheck can do it all...
Chapter 2: Tavernoko City
In the midst of the dark, oppressing wood lay this hidden light. The city was disguised on the outside until night fell, and on the inside it had fire in it's belly. As Chandler walked in she felt a hand rest on her shoulder.
"Try not to get any first impressions from this place," said Leo airily. "And stay close." As they cut through the city, Chandler took in the sights. Stout, brick houses and buildings crowded the busy town. There were so many people, rushing, singing, laughing, all dressed in simple clothes with boots or leather shoes. A group of pigs came scrambling out of a nearby building and flooded into the street. Someone just started a bonfire.
"This way," Leo said presently, when they had come to a door. She hesitated outside of it, looked back at everything, then followed him in.
This was supposed to be an Inn, but resembled a tavern. It was no more outrageous and loud than the outside. Leo walked up to the man at the counter and did some talking. She saw the man nod with a wise look in his eyes, and point to some stairs. She continued to follow them up the stairs and into the hall.
"It's not much, not at all," said Leo apologetically. "It's just an Outer-City, so it doesn't have much to offer. This is your room. I have to ask you to stay in here while Koren and I go downstairs to take care of some business. If you need anything, just call out for us. No matter how softly, we'll hear it." He flashed her a wide grin and turned away, ignoring the words caught her throat.
Koren was left, and simply looked at her deliberate expression of helplessness.
"Here, entertain yourself," he said quietly and handed her something; in her palm rested a green ember, that swayed and sparkled when manipulated. She muttered a small "thanks!" and turned into her room, satisfied.
After a half an hour of toying with the wondrous magic, she couldn't help but fall asleep in the large, fluffy bed that was provided for her. Everything that had occurred in the day drove her to fatigue, but it felt like the moment she closed her eyes she had just as soon woke up to a deep voice.
"Wake up, little one! Asj, you sleep like a little girl!" Leo's voice called. Groggily she opened her eyes.
"Five more minutes," she murmured automatically, turning over.
"Sorry, kid. Korsku!" Suddenly the covers flew off of her, and the whole bed tilted downwards so that she rolled off and fell painfully onto the floor. She whipped her head around wildly, but no one was in the room.
"Oh, sorry! I didn't mean to..."
"Please start practicing your magic again," a second voice she presumed as Koren's chimed in.
"Yeah, why don't you!" she said loudly, rubbing her head.
"I hate to admit it, but I guess I have a reputation for being a little clumsy. They say I have 'black magic'. So don't expect me to be perfect."
"I'm... coming. I'm up," the girl muttered, eyes only half open. When she pushed open the door, the two boys were already waiting for her.
"Let's hit the road," Leo said, grinning too widely for this early in the morning. "Though, technically we aren't traveling by any road."
"What time is it?" she could only say. Leo shook his head with a smile and turned her in the right direction. They descended the stairs, and she found that this time only a few people remained in the tavern-like Inn. The man behind the bar section saluted as they passed by, and Leo responded by slightly nodding his head.
"Take care of everything you needed to do?" Chandler asked smartly as the sunlight hit her in the face. Her eyes squinted as she looked around. There were considerably less people out and about, it was almost quiet.
"Yeah... Are you implying something?" Leo asked innocently.
"No, it's just that I was waiting and waiting in my room, and I didn't hear any other doors open or shut. You two must have been up all night." Leo had no response for this, and neither did Koren.
When they exited Tavernoko city, the leafy gates opened outwards and closed once they left. Chandler looked behind her shoulder, and the only thing she saw was a plain looking forest.
"Where did it go?" She asked, bewildered by the sudden disappearance of the gate.
"It's still there. Camouflaged until night time," Leo said. "This way."
They traveled out of the woods and into an open plain, where she could further take in the sights of the world. To her left she noticed that giant, huge mountains protruded into the sky.
"What's over there?" She asked, pointing to the mountains.
"The Dark Forts," Leo said, not even looking.
"What's that?" When no one answered, she crossed her arms. "Alright. Don't answer me."
"Sorry. It's not my favorite subject," Leo explained.
"The Dark Forts are a separate part of this land. Not part of the Kingdom," Koren said solemnly when Leo refused to answer. "It is ruled by a Dark Lord." Chandler blinked twice.
"That's really close for something so... infamous."
"It's not close. The mountains are so large you can see them from here. In reality, they are probably thousands and thousands of acres east." The girl craned her head upwards, regarding the faint mountains that seemed to touch the sky so far beyond.
"Why is it ruled by a Dark Lord?"
"He took it over," Koren answered simply.
"Dark Magic." She furrowed her brow. "It's beyond your understanding." She scowled.
"Of course. About those preparations? Am I ready to hear the truth?" He studied her through narrowed eyes.
"A little longer." She sighed as they traveled on, but somehow her feet seemed to never tire. They spent the day traveling and conversing idly, until night fell and they approached another large thicket ahead. When the blanket of night fell, Chandler always felt an odd, tingling sensation fall over her that felt chilling and ...savage. She was silently reluctant to enter into the wide span woods that met them just ahead, and leave behind the clear, open plains.
"You alright?" Leo asked casually, when he noticed how the girl was behaving.
"Fine, just chilly," she said quietly, and she was bumped forward as Leo strode past her. Directly after his touch she felt warmth surge through her body, as if she had been hit by an ocean of sunlight. The heat died down into a comfortable warmth, leaving her wondering about the sudden shift in internal temperature.
The two ahead of her led her blindly deeper into the wood, searching for an adequate clearing. The one they found was bordering the wood and the open field, where the canopy of trees offered a gap to glimpse at the star struck sky
"So, where's the hidden city this time?" Chandler asked presently, staring up into the sky. She returned her gaze to Leo once she realized he was taking longer than usual to answer.
"Tell her," prompted Koren quietly.
"I don't think she's going to like the answer..." Leo murmured.
"What?" Chandler burst out. Leo grinned and outstretched his arms in a wide stretch.
"There is no city. Call it camping. Right here," he said, patting the ground that he fell to his knees on, beginning to unload his pack. She looked once at the hard earth below her, and twice at the dark boughs that encircled them.
"Outside?" She repeated skeptically, and then shrugged. "...Well, alright."
"Alright?" said Leo. "Just like that?" Chandler nodded, also falling cross-legged onto the ground.
"Yeah. I feel kind of peaceful..." She watched him nod slightly and exchange glances with Koren. "What is it?"
"You're finding your place," Leo said lightly. Something hungry lingered in her eyes after hearing these words. She shifted her body to directly face his direction and gazed at him hesitantly.
"Can you... tell me more?" She felt herself tense as he opened his mouth to respond, but then suddenly his eyes snapped open and his whole body became rigid. Koren also snapped his head in an odd direction. Silence captured the scene, and then Leo got to his feet.
"Hold on, I have to go take care of something," he said, and stalked away into the subduing shade of the forest. Apprehensive, Chandler slid onto her knees.
"Where's he going?" she asked Koren, and her voice betrayed her concern. The boy before her merely shrugged, and dug his hand into his pack. He appeared to be looking for something.
"Don't worry about it," he said quietly. "He'll be back." She crawled closer to where he sat, eyes bright.
"Can you show me some more magic?" She asked, staring pleadingly into his eyes. At that moment she noticed how the moonlight shone on his eyes, making them shine an eerie color that she couldn't quite put a name on. Her squinting caused him to question her.
"Is there something you're staring at?" he inquired, but not unkindly. Surprised at her sudden daze, she jerked back.
"Oh, um... It's just your that your eyes... I've never seen that color before. It's..." Really pretty, she thought inwardly. His shimmering eyes were something un-namable. The colors she saw were like gray, blue, and brown all mixed together, and instead of making mud they made this magical puddle. It was only now that the moonlight made them glow, drawing her attention.
She failed to notice that she had begun staring again.
"It's earsean," he said, and she had to ask him to repeat it several more times before she could grasp it. "It probably sounds strange to you because they do not have a word for this color in your world."
"Oh, I see..." She said, and as he shifted through his pack a long something tumbled over. The long, flat tube fell on it's side, and it's top slid off, revealing something flashing. Chandler's eyes tore from the earsean orbs to the reflective red blade that was half un-sheathed on the bare earth. "Is that a sword?" She asked, disbelieving. He nodded solemnly. "What for?"
"Protection," he said shortly, casting her a strange look. The curious light in her eyes mirrored the light bounding off the thin, long sword as he pulled it back into it's sheath. "You want to see it ...?" Curiously she nodded, and a smooth screech filled the air as he fully unsheathed the blood red sword. Carefully he turned it so the hilt was exposed to her, inviting her touch. With a nod from Koren, she took the sword in her hand.
"Be careful," he warned, and his eyes seemed to be glued to the girl as she slowly raised the blade, parallel to her face. Her own glassy reflection gazed back at her, stained red. It was much too large for her, and in some way it was amazingly heavy, yet surprisingly light. Before she fully contemplated the complexity of such ostensibly simple item, something strange made her jump.
It was Koren; His body jerked and he sprang to his feet, looking around vigilantly. It made her jump too, and the sword fell with a dull clang to the ground.
"What is it?" she asked hastily, glancing at the dropped sword, then at her surroundings.
"I heard something..." he muttered, but more to himself. He remained in his watchful stance.
A rustle caught Chandler's attention, coming from the same shadows that Koren was staring at so persistently. The rustling increased, as did her heart beat. Once the thing that produced the noise left the shadows, her blood froze after her last steady breath. Several things happened over a span of a very few seconds.
What looked to be like a blue tinted man, or creature, with curling horns and a vulgar, twisted face barreled out of the shadows. It's beady scarlet eyes were narrowed, and the first thing she noticed was that they seemed to be focused only on her. She was paralyzed with immense shock when she saw the creature detach from the shadows and tear towards her.
In a blink or two Koren was in front of her, his towering frame shielding her, but the monster charged on. When he drew close enough Koren seized it by the throat, nearly lifting it off it's feet. A blue flash burst out from the air and she then saw Leo appear near them both, a pure blue sword in his hand.
She returned her horrified sight to the monstrous man, whose neck was leaking blue blood. There was no warning before its head slid off its body, landing on the ground with a sickening thud, and rolling just a few feet away from her.
A scream pierced the air, and both Koren and Leo turned towards the girl. Chandler willed her feet to carry her faster as she disappeared, fleeing into the moonlit plains.
Her chest heaving, she finally stopped when the clearing was out of sight. The repulsing image of the severed head rolling to her heels refused to dissolve from her mind. However, the gentle assurance she felt when around the two strangers she met disappeared fast, and was replaced by something very much more real. The revelation of the solid ground beneath her feet, the real grass itching her ankles, the opaque sky above her head came so suddenly.
She heaved and vomited over the grass, now on her knees. Alarmingly, she felt a strong hand grip her wrist. She whirled around to stare straight into Leo's face, looking severe.
"Don't run away like that... please," he said quietly, as she tried to wretch back her wrist.
"What's wrong with you? Where am I? W-What was that..?" she cried out with a wild look in her eyes, recoiling in fear when Leo drew closer. He stopped advancing, seemingly shocked.
"Get away," she said. "I saw what you did!"
"It was going after you!" Leo exclaimed.
"So you had to... cut... do that? Kill him?!"
"Chandla, it's a monster! I would give my life for your protection!" She stopped struggling to gap at the disheveled boy.
"Why? I don't know you," she told him. "Leave me alone! I'm leaving!"
"Where?" Leo snapped, thrusting an open hand towards the plains. "Where will you go?"
"Away from you! I have no where to go! It's not my fault you brought me here!"
"Right now, please trust me! You're place is here."
"You have to answer all of my questions, right now," she demanded. Leo sighed.
"I promise you that if you stay the night here, everything will be answered in the morning."
"No, I want-"
"Unessend." It took no more than a second after the word was uttered for Chandler's unconscious body to fall to the ground.