|Protectors of Sodamonia
Author: Queen of the Dormice PM
Chaos has begun to let loose in the magical lands of Sodamonia as an evil group known as the Panther Organization rises to power. Only a sorceress, two shapeshifters, and a rogue warrior can discover their ultimate goal and stop them in the quest of a lifetime. Rated T for language.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 6 - Words: 28,597 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 01-02-13 - id: 3088428
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Me:Hi y'all! Queen of the Dormice here! I'm so pumped for my first story, especially since this is the one I'm working on for Nanowrimo. I hope to achieve my 50,000+ words with this as well as maybe even get it published. And as I've seen kidnapping characters is popular, I've decided to keep one of my own characters hostage. Everyone, meet Scar!
Scar: Where the hell am I?! 0.0"
Me: In my basement, but that's besides the point. Go on. Say hi to everyone. :3
Scar: What the hell?! Say hi to who?! O.o
Me: The readers, silly. X3
Scar: Readers? 0.0?
Me: I guess I have some explaining to do... XP
WARNING: I own everything in this! It's all original, but feel free to use any of the characters, settings, or situations for your own musings. :3
Chapter 1: The Vision
"Scarletta!" It was a beautiful day out on the Hangarti Plains. Bronze hued grasses covered the entire landscape, dotted with the occasional patch of trees. Several red deer grazed calmly as the sun rose lazily from its nighttime slumber, dawning in a new day. The absolute silence was broken again by the crack of a twig, and one of the does lightly raised her head to see what was the cause of all the ruckus. "Scarletta!" an old woman's voice called out of the distance for a second ear-ringing time.
The source of the wood-snapping noise stood up straight from pulling out tubers. It was a girl, her long hair as dark as the pitch of night and her skin a lovely olive complexion. "Coming, Baba!" Scar yelled cheerfully back to the elderly woman. She picked up her straw basket filled with herbs and vegetables and began running back towards her home village of Monataro.
Lying in-between the great cities of Simbasa and Lumiar, Monataro was a tiny town. Its population easily numbered just under one-hundred. Long ago it had been a major trading hub of the mystical continent of Sodamonia before Simbasa had sprouted in existence. Now, all that remained of its greatness was the merchant's post which now served simply as the town square.
Scar ran through the dirt streets, occasionally waving good morning to other villagers just leaving their huts forged of mud for the long day in the wheat fields. Before going towards her teacher's hut, the girl made a brief detour to the town's stables. "Good morning, Genevieve," Scar greeted her mazelle, a horned creature similar to an antelope. Genevieve gave a yippy whinny and nuzzled her rider's hand lovingly before Scar continued her run.
"Scar! Scar!" a little boy yelled to her in an excited fashion.
She pulled over and grinned happily at her tiny friend. "Hey, Martwen." Scar reached out and patted him on the head.
"Anything in there for me?" he asked curiously while peering into her basket.
"Not today, pal. It's for Baba," Scar announced, her long, black mane shifting against her back and over her shoulders.
"How is she doing?" Martwen questioned, making sure he enunciated every word. Though he was only five he often acted far beyond his years, yet his youthfulness was still given away every time he stumbled over words like a child of his age normally would.
"She's doing pretty well," Scar responded, seeming in a hurry. "But I really have to go. Bye, Martwen!" She hurried off with her bundle towards Baba's home.
"By the way, Scar," Martwen shouted to her as she ran, "Happy birfday!"His little arm gave a quick wave to her retreating form before spotting an orange cat on a windowsill and chasing after it in delight.
She finally slowed down in front of what she knew to be the sorceress' hut. The earthen house was like any other, but a small amulet with the shape of a butterfly was embedded above the thatch door. Scar paused in front of the doorway to brush the dust off of her deep red tunic; she also took a few seconds of time to smooth out the material, and then Scar moved to make her way inside.
"Baba! I'm back!" she called out while pushing the door to the hut closed with a lightly resounded thud. Scar glanced around the dark, one-room hut. The earthen walls were covered with shelves which contained books, tools, and various bottles of elixirs and herbs that one who worked with sorcery would need. In the center of the room, an old woman sat on a hand-woven rug brushing out her long and grey hair. As soon as she noticed the door had opened she stood up to place the brush on one of the shelves.
"Happy birthday, Scar," Baba said with a warm-hearted smile. It was those kinds of smiles from Baba that made Scar's insides warm and fuzzy. It held true meaning to her just as it held true to the one wishing her a 'happy birthday." It was moments like this one that resonated with her the most.
"Thank you, Baba," she bowed respectfully to her teacher.
"If you would please, put the basket over there," the old woman requested kindly as she pointed to a spot in the corner of the hut, "It is time for your lessons." Scar did as she was told and sat down cross-legged in front of Baba.
"Scar," Baba continued in a firm tone, "you are sixteen years old and have been training under me for the last… How many years again?" The elderly woman fumbled with words until Scar sheepishly held up seven fingers. "Ah, right. Seven years. Anyways, you've mastered all four natural elements: Fire." Baba procured a small flame in her palm. "Water." The fire extinguished to be replaced by a small pool of cool water that wavered in her hand. "Earth." Baba's hand nearly instantly dried as a pebble rose from the ground and landed softly in her hand as the remaining water dripped away from her long fingers. "And wind." A strong breeze passed over her palm and sent the pebble flying into the wall of the hut with a soft thunk. Baba grinned, pride welling up inside her. "I believe you are old enough to finally learn the treasured art of sorcery; the ability to See the past, present, and future." Scar could not help but shiver in excitement; she had been waiting so long for this day to arrive. She could hardly believe her ears and even pondered pinching herself to make sure that she hadn't been dreaming.
It had been the duty of the village sorceress or sorcerer to relay to the people messages from the spirits for hundreds of years. Another responsibility, of course, was to help protect Monataro from enemies, whether they were human or natural. Both sorcerers and sorceresses were very great beings, yet only sorceresses could access and harness the powers of the magic world in controlling the elements. It was these very teachings Scar had been studying for almost half of her life.
"I'm ready, teacher," Scar nearly whispered. Baba nodded and stood up to retrieve something. Scar watched, now completely enthralled, as the older sorceress put a wooden bowl in front of her and prudently filled it with a liquid that glowed all of the colors of the rainbow.
"This," Baba began, "is eternity water. It is your gateway from our world to the magic world. Understand?" Scar, though her big, brown eyes were wide with wonder at the way the eternity water sparkled, simply nodded. The student eagerly reached out to touch the liquid.
"Ah-ah!" Baba scolded and then slapped her hand away from the bowl. "Not yet!"
If it had been anyone else who had touched her that way, Scar would have gone into an outburst, but she had always kept her temper in-check with Baba since her very first day of training. Once, when the teacher had scolded her for toying with one of the more lethal potions, Scar had blown up at her with screams and threats. Baba almost dropped her as a student, but Scar came back the next day to apologize and solemnly swore to never again lose her cool in lessons. She had kept that promise well.
"Sorry, master," Scar blurted sheepishly whilst pulling her hand back.
Baba wore a stern look on her face. "Don't touch the water now. Without the right chants it could tear apart your very soul." Scar stared at the Eternity Water with amazement. "Your first direct connection to the magic world will be extremely sensitive."
"So my battle and healing powers haven't been magic?" the thoroughly confused pupil asked with a slight tilt to her head.
"Oh, they have. But every time you've used them you have been merely skimming the possible connection. This time you're going all in. This is your final test, Scar. If you can pass it, that is. It is most certain the spirits have chosen you as a rightful sorceress of Monataro. Unlike the others…" Baba thought back to her previous students, of which there had been four. All of them had perished trying to get into the magic world.
"Others?" Scar questioned, ever curious.
Baba shook her head. "It is nothing." Both of the sorceresses were silent as Baba considered telling her of her students' demises.
"This rite of passage is a dangerous one. Not all who have attempted have succeeded. Are you sure you want to do this? I would be more than happy to have you as an assistant for the rest of my days rather than my replacement. I could find another to train," the old woman offered. Of all her trainees, Scar had been the one she loved most. To lose her forever might have been too much for the elderly sorceress to take.
"Baba, I'm ready. I can do this," Scar told her teacher, her eyes glowing with confidence and determination.
Baba was about to press the issue, but decided to keep her mouth shut, leaving the loving words of dissuasion unsaid. "Alright, we shall begin," she spoke instead. "Let me get the tollberry seeds."
"Tollberry seeds? What for?" the younger sorceress in training asked. She knew those seeds were normally used to calm crying babies.
"My, my. You've always been the curious one, my dear. But today it's been nothing but questions from you," Baba teased her. Scar shrugged, more eager to learn the ancient art of Seeing than playing. Baba stopped smiling and pulled out the seeds that her student had collected that morning. "Your body needs to be in the most relaxed state possible, even more so than meditating. Otherwise your mortal soul could get in the way of the connection. Very bad things would happen. Here, swallow these." Baba dropped half a dozen seeds into Scar's waiting palm. Without a second thought, Scar put the tollberry seeds in her mouth. It took all of her willpower not to spit them out; the seeds had a very bitter flavor similar to the scent of a hollyhog spray. However, with a hard gulp the seeds went down easily enough.
"Now what?" Scar asked, still visibly disgusted by what she'd just consumed.
Baba sat down next to the young soon-to-be sorceress. "Now all we can do is wait. Wait for the seeds to take effect." The pupil nodded and settled herself deeper into the rug, its once-bright colors being the last thing she saw before falling into a trance of meditation.
Scar's mind cleared itself completely; she thought of nothing but whiteness. In the state state her mind had entered it was cold and empty, yet somehow a heat inside her prevented everything from frosting over. It was this state of mind that could relax the tides, bring rumbling volcanoes to a halt, turn a zephyr into a hurricane, or bring on the greatest earthquake the world had ever seen. This was a calling to the spirits. This was the greatest source of controlling all four elements. Scar remained like this for several hours, in an absolute peace so few could achieve.
"Scarletta, awaken. It's time," Baba placed a frail hand on Scar's shoulder, causing the teen's eyes to open. It was then she noticed how light-headed she felt. The seeds were working. Baba pulled a book out from one of the shelves and turned it to a bookmarked page.
"Read this," the teacher commanded gently while pointing to a small paragraph.
Scar read it aloud slowly and articulately.
"Spirits come to me.
Fill me with your great knowledge,
Knowledge of the past. Present. Future.
From faraway places.
From my neighbor's home.
Spirits… tell me your secrets."
At the end of the last line the eternity water began to glow brightly in colors that left little to the imagination. Scar looked up at Baba in joy; she was doing it. She was going to See.
"Scar," Baba almost choked on emotion, as she knew the next part of the process could mean she was going to kill her pupil, "You need to dip your face in and open your eyes."
"Ok, master." Scar bent forward towards the bowl only for her teacher to hold her back for a moment.
"I love you, my dearest child," she nearly sobbed.
Scar was shocked; she had never seen Baba cry before, nor had she ever heard those words come from the old woman's lips. "I love you, too, Baba." She smiled.
With that, the elderly sorceress let go of Scar and allowed her to place her head in the eternity water. "Please spirits," Baba whispered, "Let her be the one."
As soon as Scar had dipped her face into the eternity water, a tremendous wave of pain overtook her body. She tried to scream, but no noise escaped her mouth. Using all of her willpower she opened her eyes. Colors soared by her in endless spectrums. All of the sounds of Sodamonia, from a mother hollyhog grunting to her babies in Trickle Forest to a merchant yelling out advertisements for his crops in the streets of Simbasa, blended together into a symphony of utter chaos. The pain ebbed throughout her, growing stronger and stronger until she thought she wouldn't be able to take it anymore.
Scar could sense her soul being torn away from her body. The feeling felt cold and hot yet soft and rough. Her soul tried hard to stay stitched onto her physical form, but she was losing her grip until she was still attached by a single thread. Her body began to unravel as she started flying faster and faster past the colors with the lone string connected to her wrist.
Suddenly, it all stopped. The pain was gone. The colors were gone. Scar found herself sitting on a grassy hilltop speckled with snowy white daisies. She touched the soft grass in wonder; she had heard of green vegetation like this before, yet she had never seen it in person. Scar felt a slight tug on her arm to find that the thread was still connected to her wrist.
"You might not want to do that. You could be lost here forever if you break it," a gentle, male voice spoke from behind her. Scar whipped around to see who was speaking to her. A man stood behind her, his brown beard almost touching his chest and his crown, which looked like a silvery halo of vines, gleaming in his hair. The ornate, golden robes he wore glowed in the sunlight, and the wooden scepter he held firmly in his hands seemed ancient.
"Who are you?" Scar commanded.
"Greetings," he bowed down to her, "Welcome to the magic world, Scarletta. I am Raoul, king of the spirits." He introduced as he stood upright again. "As I was saying, that's your only connection back to the mortal world. Without it you could be trapped here for eternity."
Scar immediately went on the defensive, as she had heard from Baba the many folktales of evil spirits disguising themselves as good to steal the souls of mortals. "How do you know my n-" She stopped speaking as she realized the fireballs she had been trying to summon to her palms weren't appearing. "What the hell?!" she freaked out. Without her sorcery, she was powerless.
"It's no use in the magic world," Raoul smiled kindly, "None of your abilities will work here."
Scar let out a huff. "Now that we've pointed out the obvious, what is it that you want to show me?"
"Please, come with me. All of your questions will be answered." The man turned away from her and began walking. She paused, but eventually Scar followed him careful to keep some distance between her and the man. A flash of light enveloped the two as they kept a steady gait. When the bright light went away, Scar found herself and Raoul surrounded by a scene more repulsive, more hateful than she had ever imagined possible.
Armored, dead bodies were strewn about on plains similar to the ones Scar had back home. The sky burned a hazy red, and the only sound to be heard was a weak wind blowing. The stench of blood overpowered Scar's senses.
"Holy shit!" Scar refrained from covering her nose, "Where are we?"
Raoul bowed his head in sorrow. "These are the Hangarti Plains hundreds of years ago."
"No wonder they look familiar," she said softly.
"Back in the time of lords," the spirit began, "King Leio was one of the greatest rulers Sodamonia had ever seen. Though, his two sons were in constant conflict; one wished for the kingdom to progress into new technologies, and the other wanted to remain close to the natural world. Once their father had passed, it was found that he had loved both of his sons so dearly he made them both the heirs to the throne. Yet it wasn't long before the newly-crowned kings were fighting again over ideologies, and so began the Dark War between them that raged for decades. This is one of the battlegrounds of that terrible war."
Scar spotted a smaller corpse in the distance and ran ahead to examine it. It was the mangled body of a little boy, appearing to have been no more than a few years old. She almost fell to her knees in shock.
"He was just a kid. He was innocent. Why'd he have to die?" Scar's face was twisted with anger as she felt a familiar feeling akin to unbridled hatred toward whoever would do something as irresponsible as to let innocents, much less a child, lose his life in the midst of a war that he had nothing to do with. Words could not explain it. It was something so strong it could only be felt. She took a quick breath and regained control of her emotions.
"Civilians like him were simply a casualty of war," Raoul said, coming up behind her, "That is why we had to stop it. The spirits had to make a compromise for the two kings, something that was both advanced and one with nature…"
"Magic," Scar stated in realization.
"Yes. We gave the humans the gift of magic, a way for creatures and man to live in peace. Of course, this magic created new species of animals and peoples, but ever since then all has been relatively well." The spirit touched Scar's shoulder, his fingers feeling cool through her clothing, and she spun to face him.
"Scarletta," he looked deeply into her eyes, "You must make sure something like this never happens again." He motioned outwards with his arm to all of the blood-stained leftovers of war. Scar slowly nodded in understanding.
Raoul turned away from the child's corpse to start walking again. Scar had no choice but to trail him. As they avoided stepping on centuries old dead bodies, the world around them began to crumble, as if it were turning to ash. The new environment that surrounded the sorceress and spirit king was dark and dreary. Tombs and grave markings were everywhere in the dead grasses, the occasional caw of a raven breaking the deathly silence.
"Where are we going?" Scar asked quietly as her curiosit got the best of her.
"We're going to meet someone. Someone very important," Raoul said sternly as they were coming upon a shallow pit in the center of the graveyard.
When Scar was near enough to look into the dip in the ground, she saw a man, or at least what used to be a man, lying limply across a bed of rocks. His skin was a dull, rotting gray and every bone in his body was exposed, yet the feature Scar found to be most ominous about him were the glowing, yellow eyes sunken deep into his skull.
The thing moved its head to stare in the direction she and Raoul were standing, causing Scar to jump. "Who- Who's there?" it asked, its voice extremely scratchy and almost frantic.
"It's I," Raoul answered seeming to be not at all disturbed the grotesque creature talking to him.
"Oh Raoul, what a pleasant surprise. And you brought a mortal with you?"
The king of spirits did not respond, but instead glaring at the ugly thing expectantly.
"Child," the near-corpse's hoarse voice rang out to Scar, "I'll make a deal with you. The deal of a lifetime." He beckoned for her to come closer.
"That's enough, Teki!" Raoul shielded Scar away from him with the draping arm of his robe. The name Teki was all too familiar to Scar from Baba's teachings; he was the Spirit of Death.
"But the last one… He took it so well," Teki nearly whispered.
"Enough of your tricks, brother!" Raoul boomed, causing the Death Spirit to shudder in fear where it lay. Another flash of white submerged everything in sight, and when the light faded Scar and the Raoul were once again on the beautiful hilltop where they'd met.
"What was that all about?" a thoroughly confused Scar asked.
Raoul sighed. "The Spirit of Death was someone you needed to meet. For seeing death itself makes one realize how valuable life truly is. Life is something worth defending, Scarletta. Remember that."
"I will," Scar grinned at the enlightenment she had gained.
"There is one final detail I need to add. You will meet three others soon. They will be as important to you as they are to Sodamonia. Farewell, my friend."
"Farewell? What do you mean-" Before she could finish her sentence, the King of Spirits gave her a violent push, sending her tumbling into darkness.
Scar: So these 'readers,' they're basically watching me from all over the world? 0.0
Me: Sounds about right. :)
Scar: That's really creepy. 0.0"
Me: As it should be. :)
Scar: I wanna go home. DX
Me: LOL XD
Thanks again for reading! And I'd like to send out a special thank-you to my beta-readers, No Filter, Golden feathers Edward, and Strawberry Rainshower. Be sure to look them up! :3
Reviews = Love ;)