Welcome to my new story... it was made originally as a fanfic, which has reached novel length, and I decided to change it into an actual novel. Rated T for romance, violence and occasional language.

Disclaimer: Everything in this story belongs to me, but the majority of characters are based on real life people.

Full summary: A boy's own-made fantasy world, Otellus, soon becomes reality as events he writes about soon comes true. When a portal opens, linking the world of Otellus with Earth, Josh and his friends are thrown into the dangerous world of corruption, known for strange, magical animals called Praestia. These creatures are mastered by the legendary Praedux, each baring a special item which allows their souls to bond with those of the Praestia. The group must overcome several challenges to defy a sinister prophecy, all linked to the corrupt group Mortalitas, led by the traitor Xagraver, who will do everything in his power to ensure the group of friends are killed.

Prologue

Prophecy… The prophecy… Mortalitas… You will grow strong again! You will become stronger than before, and continue! But… At the same time, eight children will arrive in Otellus. They'll be foreigners, not have a clue where they are, what to do! They will receive their first Praestia; they'll travel the world, too weak to defeat you at the start! But they will grow powerful; they will be the strongest Praedux in Otellus… Tragedy… Death…

Otellus is a magical country, full of both humans and strange creatures called Praestia. These amazing animals are mainly found in the wild, but a certain group of people, the Praedux, train them to battle for them. The Praedux are the guards of Otellus, spoken of in legends as protectors. There is no limit to the number of Praestia each of the Praedux can keep, but because of the dwindling numbers of wild Praestia, every Praedux keeps a maximum of four. No-one knows exactly how the Praedux came to be, nor how they are chosen. Some believe that they are chosen by a God, some believe that it is through an event that happened almost seventy years ago, while others simply believe that anyone can be part of the Praedux, but it is just being kept a secret from those the government feel unworthy. But one thing for sure... is that the Praedux are true masters of Praestia. They are bound to each other by soul, and should one of them die... their master dies as well.

As for the Praestia themselves... they mostly appear very similar to ordinary animals, or... animals as they used to be in the world before it changed. Dogs, cats, mice, fish, birds... they appear normal, yet they have each developed strange powers, based on several different elements. There are a few rare species, usually the result of an experiment gone wrong. It has been sixty-eight years since the world changed, where a strange object from space collided with Otellus, plummeting into the ocean. Whatever was inside this object reacted with the animals of Otellus, giving them the power over a certain element. How the Praedux were made... as said before, remains unknown. The common belief around Otellus is that whatever was in the object that collided with the world, contained something that linked the Praestia's souls with the Praedux, forever bonding them. There are many different theories for why only a few are Praedux, and not everyone, but that will likely forever be unknown. Either way, Praedux and Praestia share a link that nothing else can match, and between them, they bear great power.

Otellus itself is a fairly small island, or country, on the planet of Pavenarius. The country is divided into ten regions, each except Vegrasus, ruled by one of the nine Praedux masters.

Xagraver is the Praedux master of the military region, Voxilitis. As of seven years ago, the entire region of Voxilitis was declared traitors and enemies, banished from the rest of Otellus. The borders of this strict, disciplined region are constantly watched, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. Before the betrayal, Voxilitis was home to the prime force of all of Otellus, which is what led to such a disaster when Xagraver grabbed control of the army and led it against the rest of Otellus. The war went on for eight years, through dozens of skirmishes. The constant battles were costly, leading to the destruction of Vegrasus, a fairly small region in between Voxilitis and Capulus. The region was home to the final battle, which had ended by one of Xagraver's bombs detonating, destroying the majority of both armies and the capital city of Vegrasus, and taking one of the ten Praedux masters, queen of the skies, Vermina, with it.

The Praedux and Praestia fight together as a team. While it is the Praestia themselves that win battles, that hold the true power, the Praedux each have weapons and powers themselves based on their element. When Praedux first bond with their Praestia, some of the creature's power is transferred to an item or weapon. Whether it be a sword, a gun, gloves or a necklace... while the Praedux still have that power in their body, to be able to control it requires the item to be in their possession. It is clear that the Praestia are the true battlers, but without the Praedux' guidance and bond, they would be nothing. Praedux and Praestia rely on each other to survive, and it is both of them combined that makes them legendary.


Josh sighed a bit as he looked at his computer, rereading what he had written. The eighteen year old boy was very imaginative, and had literally typed up the description of his fictional world, 'Otellus', in fifteen minutes. The boy enjoyed writing stories and making up worlds, but never before had he fully succeeded in making one. He always got bored. He knew he still had a long way to go, just with the design of 'Otellus', before it was ready. But the basics were done. Praestia... animals, each with a different element, commanded by special humans, Praedux. Nine different regions, one a traitor region... A plot would be easy to come by. But what would he go for? There was always the tale of a young farm boy discovering a Praestia and bonding with it, and then going on some dangerous journey for whatever reason. Perhaps that was too cliché...

He pushed himself away from the machine, climbing up to his height of six foot and left the room after grabbing his phone and keys. He began descending the staircase towards the front door, skipping the occasional step. The text tone went on his phone, and he unlocked it, halting in his steps. 'Hey, meet me at the field in five minutes xx' He smiled slightly, looking up to the name of the sender. Lolly. He pulled open the front door, closing it behind him. He was greeted by the warm summer air, making him glad he had decided against wearing a jacket. A cool and gentle breeze disturbed his browney blonde hair as he walked down the drive, and his blue eyes looked up to the cool and blue sky, squinting slightly because of the sunlight.

After a few minutes, the boy arrived at a small field, three of its sides surrounded by a wood. He looked to a bench, where a younger girl was sitting. Her hair was a dark brown, reaching down to her shoulders and curly. Josh also thought he could spot a few twigs and leaves tangled amongst it. She was dressed in a light brown jacket, a blue shirt underneath it. At the sound of footsteps, the girl looked over her shoulder, spotting Josh before climbing to her feet. Her bare feet, mind you. The girl was... well... really quite short. She smiled, raising her arms in a gesture for a hug. Josh accepted it, before pulling away after a few seconds. "Morning... er... did you take a shower this morning? And forget your shoes?" Josh greeted as the two sat back down on the bench, gazing across the field. A few children were playing football, shouting and laughing at each other. On the other side of the field, two women were walking together, a pair of dogs running around and playing ahead of them.

"Hai." Lolly replied brightly, before frowning slightly, "What?" She frowned, before realizing what he meant, "Oh! Oh, right... Yes, but... You know me and trees... And I probably should've worn my shoes, I trod on something sharp in there." She glanced down at her now rather dirty feet, before continuing to say, "So how are you? Been up to anything interesting?"

Josh gave a light shrug, "I'm good thanks, you? How's the exam preparation going?" The girl was in her final year at school, and the final school exams, the GCSEs, were approaching. The two had been at the same school for a few years, but hadn't actually met until after... thanks to Josh's other 'friend' Laura. "And... I've started the story I was talking about... got the Prologue done, but I still need to actually... think up the plot."

"The revision's going okay." Lolly replied, taking her phone out of her pocket and checking a new text, "I wish they'd hurry up and get the internet going again at home, though, it's difficult to survive... let alone revise, without it." Josh let out a slight chuckle at this. "And oh! I should come over later and read it... I said I'd help you with it, after all. And you should definitely make a character based on me!" She looked up from her phone, saying, "That was Laura, asking where we were. She also said you didn't reply to her text." Josh frowned as he took his own phone out, reading the text he hadn't heard. "Not avoiding her, are you?"

Sure enough, Josh had a text in his inbox reading 'Where is you? ' from 'Laura'. Laura was how he'd met Lolly, and the two girls were now good friends, being in a lot of the same classes. "No, I'm not." Josh quickly replied, before questioning, "Is she coming out or something? She told me on facebook last night that she was busy today. Great, now she probably thinks I am avoiding her." Josh sighed, before beginning to reply to the text. "What do you two talk about while I'm not around, anyway? You always seem to have these inside jokes... I feel left out, being at college."

"D'aww." Lolly said sarcastically, laughing, "Nothing you need to know about... The normal stuff."

"The stereotypical normal stuff would be make-up, clothes and boys." Josh commented dryly, receiving a thump on his arm from his friend, "But of course... er... I'm not stereotyping. Keep it a secret all you want, I'll just gossip about you next time I see Laura."

"No worries, she'll tell me." Lolly retorted with a smile, causing Josh to roll his eyes, "Relax, it's not as if we talk about you... at least, not all the time." Josh smiled fakely.


It was midnight when the dark cloaked boy approached the gates of Voxatrum, the capital city of Voxilitis. Two men were stood guard at the gate, a pair of wolves at their feet. The beasts immediately climbed up from their relaxed position, growling menacingly. Sparks flew from one, while the tips of the other's fur turned to ice. The guards immediately turned to face the approaching boy, one lifting a glove, the other drew out a gun quickly. "State your purpose." The guard with the glove commanded loudly, his glove glowing yellow, "Quickly, or the wolves will attack."

"...Do not threaten me with your Praestia, fool." The boy replied coolly, drawing a sword. Flames erupted from it, creating a lantern at the dark gate, "I am a Praedux too... and I have a meeting with Xagraver, your leader." The guards looked up to the sky, seeing three large birds circling above, barely visible beneath the moonlight. "It would be a bad idea to refuse me entry." The two guards hesitated, before gesturing for the boy to follow. He smirked as he walked forward, feet soon touching cobbled pavement. Towering, unfriendly buildings soon lined both sides of the street as he followed the guards and their Praestia. He looked up as a small bat flew through the sky, screeching, the only sound to pierce the cool night air.

"What's your name?" The second guard, the one with the gun, questioned. The teenager behind them looked up at the majestic building that stood in the centre of the city. A mass of tall, unforgiving and dark towers reached up hundreds of feet in the sky. "You been here before?"

"Many times." The teenager replied simply, falling silent for a while, before continuing to say, "I'm Shadow. And when I next visit, I hope this escort is not necessary." The conversation lapsed to silence again, as the guards at the gates of the palace allowed them through. They travelled up a flight of steps, arriving at the great doors to the palace. They proceeded inside, and through a maze of corridors and chambers. Eventually, in the very heart of the building, they approached a final, grand set of beautifully marked doors.

"Well, here we are." The first guard announced, pushing open the door and allowing Shadow to walk through, "Don't try anything." Shadow ignored the command, strolling confidently towards the throne that was sat at the very end of the room. Upon it was sat a tall, strongly built man with ragged black hair and a short beard. His cold eyes bore weariness, the dark of his pupils absorbed of emotion. He frowned, watching the teenager as he approached, before climbing to his tall height, red cloak touching the ground as he stepped forward.

"Ah, Shadow..." The man drawled, extending a hand, which the boy accepted, "Did you succeed?"

Shadow nodded without enthusiasm, folding his arms, "Of course I succeeded, Xagraver." He unfolded his arms, lifting up the pendant around his neck, "I have succeeded in bonding with Glacird." A transparent apparition appeared in the air, flying around Shadow. It was a large bird of prey, surrounded by a blizzard. Xagraver watched it, a smirk reaching his aged face. Shadow released his hold on the pendant, the jewellery falling back against the boy's neck. The apparition faded, and the temperature of the room returned to normal.

"Excellent." Xagraver finally said as he turned his back on the teenager, "That's all three of them in Mortalitas' control... years, I have spent looking for those Praestia. And now... they have finally been found. More powerful than any other Praestia in Pavenarius. Excellent."

But the boy laughed coldly, stepping forward, "But do you believe that these three birds are enough to prevent your doom?" The last word was said with such power, that it echoed around the small chamber. Xagraver's eyes narrowed, and the guards at the doors turned their heads. A minute of silence followed this question, as Xagraver watched Shadow intently.

"What is the meaning of this?" Xagraver asked in no more than a hiss, his fists clenching tight. The guards exchanged wary glances, considering coming to their leader's aid. He glared at Shadow, continuing, "Doom? What doom do you speak of?"

"The doom of Mortalitas." Shadow replied coldly, gazing at Xagraver with his dark eyes, and the leader shifted uncomfortably under the gaze, "You know what I speak of. Years ago... an old man told you the prophecy. Do you not remember that day? The portal has been opened, Xagraver... the new Praedux are coming. And each one of them will have a separate element, the strongest of it... They will arrive in the town of Puteulus, they will grow strong... and unless you counter the prophecy, they will rise up and defeat you." Xagraver closed his eyes, and Shadow chuckled darkly. "Yes... I'm sure you thought the lunatic was lying... but on the highest peak of the Aralache Mountains, the portal has been opened once more."

"How do you know this?" Xagraver asked quietly, fiddling with the hilt of his sword.

Shadow gave a mere shrug, "I was hunting Glacird... found only in the Aralache Mountains... I saw the portal. But unfortunately, Ethaniel found the children first, and has taken them back to Puteulus. Tomorrow morning, they will wake up... clueless to where they are, or of anything." Xagraver approached the window, looking out over the sinister buildings of Voxatrum, "Ethaniel will begin their training, and they will each be bonded with a Praestia. And as soon as that happens, the timer begins... and it will only be so long before it explodes, taking Mortalitas with it."

"We have the three birds under our control." Xagraver turned from the window, casting the boy a look, "With them, we will win."

The teenager smiled mysteriously, "Perhaps... but I would rephrase that statement. The birds are under my control; for they are bonded to me... they follow my commands." Xagraver rolled his eyes. "But relax... for now, I am a mercenary working for you... I am on your side, for now at least."

"I think that should be the end of the prologue." Lolly commented as Josh finished typing the last sentence. The girl was sat on Josh's bed, watching her friend type up more of the story. "It's interesting... seems a bit cliché, though. But it's nice how you're actually writing down our conversations and stuff... makes it more realistic. And I'm flattered you took my suggestion seriously, by putting me in the story. I hope this doesn't have a lot of gushy romance, by the way... cause that's just... ew. You're not putting me as your partner or anything, right?"

Josh raised his eyebrows, looking to her with an amused smirk, "Me... writing romance? Oh, please... I barely succeed at ordinary... writing, let alone describing romance in a story." Lolly smirked. "...Alright, alright. I'll... try and write some romance – don't give me that look - but seeing as I've put Laura in it, it'll be rather awkward writing up one for myself and her."

Lolly gave a short laugh, "Yeah. You'd better make it okay enough for her to read, seeing as she prefers reading the less... M-rated romance stories. So aye, make it less descriptive.."

"...If you think I'm going to describe anything like tha-"

"I sure hope you don't... I don't really want to read... that, thanks. But yeah, if you're going to show Laura this, you'd better agree to not give it much romance."

"Right, well..." Josh replied dryly, returning his attention to the screen, "That would only be slightly awkward, anyhow. And I wasn't even considering that anyway. No, no, no. Anyway... yeah, this prologue is getting a bit long... I don't really want to confuse people too much. I mean, right now it probably looks like it's just going to be a story that describes two friends making a fictional world and a story... that would be rather boring." He trailed off, "It really is strange writing down what we're talking about right now onto a story. So who else we adding?"

Lolly hesitated, tilting her head as she thought, "Well, we have to complete the cycle of friends... Well, you being at college, you hardly have any friends. But there are a few people at school we can include, including your lovely Molly." Josh paused in his typing, staring at her with a frown. "What, don't you remember her? She's not really easy to forget." Josh stared blankly. "...The girl who has a big crush on you that you tend to completely blank whenever she's around. She calls you Joshy-kun." Josh sighed, looking up at the ceiling briefly. "She's really not that bad, just get to know her. She's cool." Josh sighed, looking back to the screen, hesitating. "I mean, you don't have to. But if we're going for the whole us going to Otellus and saving the world cliché thing... may as well have her as a character."

"...Right." Josh sighed, before putting his hands back on the keyboard, "I guess I'll start chapter one."