I have just started working on a story that I had been playing around with for a little while now. Feel free to comment on it. I will be trying to add to it daily. If you want to read it as I write it(in case I get lazy and don't post it here) you can go here:My blog.
So, here is the story so far:
A single soldier, clad in scarred and battered armor, stood looking over the battle field. For as far as the eye could see there was nothing but a hellish wasteland. What had a few short weeks before been rolling hills clothed in green grass and a plethora of beautiful flowers was now a tortured wasteland of fire and death. The air hung thick with smoke and the ground glowed faintly as hundreds of small fires continued to blaze. As the hot wind blew it kicked up storms of ash and cinder that swirled angrily through the air. The bodies of the dead, both human and beast, lay strewn across the ground. The soldier closed his eyes and tried to block the images of what had happened over the last few hours from his head. The sword he held by his side trembled with the sorrow of what had occurred. A small, young boy with snow white hair, now grey due to the soot that collected on it from the air, and grey eyes, now wet with tears of mourning and terror, approached the man from behind, coming to a stop next to him.
"Yes Verta?" The man's voice came out dry and cracked.
"Make me a promise." The boy's words threatened to vanish from the heat of the air and the howling winds. "Never again. Oh please, never again." The boy drifted on the verge of collapsing but kept his feet beneath him.
"Yes Verta, never again, I promise." Raynum slowly lifted his sword, wiping its blade clean on the sash that signified him as a general. He carefully slid it back into its sheath. Turning to find the boy no longer there he whispered under his breath, as if to further seal the vow, "Never again."
"General Raynum!" Raynum turned to find a young soldier running up the hill towards him.
"General Raynum! Thank the spirits your ok!"
"Calm yourself soldier, what is it you need?" Even as he spoke the words, Raynum noticed the broken sword hilt held tightly in the man's clenched fist and the tears flowing down his face. "I'm... I'm so sorry..."
"He, he, he protected me when the Ferals attacked. Oh spirits, I wish I had been the one to die!" The soldier dropped to the ground at Raynum's feet. Raynum looked down at him with sincere sympathy before his face hardened with resolve.
"There will be time for mourning and regrets later, right now we have to do what we can. Gather all the weapons and survivors. Leave the dead for now, we will return to get them later. Do you understand me captain?"
For a moment the young man could only look at Raynum in confusion.
"Yes, now get moving, we only have a few hours of daylight left and we will not be leaving until all the weapons and survivors have been collected. Inform all you meet of the new orders.
"Ye- yes sir!" The newly promoted captain rose from the ground and set off across the smoldering landscape in search of any life that could be found. Before following after him, Raynum uttered under his breath one last time.
Chapter 1 The Awakening
Corag Rell Derbashen or Cor, as he preferred to be known, sat with eleven other boys and girls, all between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, and listened to their instructor speak. Cor could hardly keep his attention focused on the thirty-something year old man who stood before them. In fact, it was a good chance that none of his peers where listening too intently either. They sat in the main entryway to the Mausoleum of the Spirits. All around them giant stone statues of the great warriors of old stood silent watch over the polished marble floors engrave red with the names of the great heroes and the sword spirits that had given their lives in the protection of the innocent. The ceiling, brightly decorated with complex mosaics, told the story of the village’s founding. The instructor paused and cleared his throat. The sound reverberated throughout the room and was followed by a deafening silence. Every eye snapped to attention.
"Please, I know you are all excited and no doubt nervous about today, but we need to get through this." Indeed, they were all nervous, but that was expected and was quite understandable. Cor himself was quite lucky. He had just turned thirteen the day before and so had just barely come of age in time for the selection. He couldn't bare the thought of having to wait five more years for the next ceremony, like some of the older teenagers in the room had.
"Now, before we proceed, let me ask you this, what is the story told by the pictures on the ceiling of this chamber?" The instructor waited a few seconds, and sensing that an answer would not be coming, continued on. "Very well, I'll explain. The story is that of this village’s creation and birth of the spirit weapons. Long ago, the great beasts ruled the earth. The land was split into two halves; the northern regions, where the great beast lived and hunted, and the smaller southern region, where humans farmed and raised their herd animals. For hundreds of years the relationship between the beasts and the humans was serene, the humans did not wander into the north to hunt and fell trees and the beasts respected the humans’ lands and did not feed from their herds. But then the time of great darkness fell upon them. The Ferals, beasts who decided that the earth should belong to beasts and that humans were a diesis to rid themselves of, began to spread into the southern regions, killing all humans they came upon. Those humans that fought back were quickly overpowered. Those who fled before the onslaught quickly found themselves running out of places to hide. The Ferals refused to let up, even as those beasts that supported the humans tried to compel them to stop. All hope seemed lost until Verta, King of the Beast, came to the humans and offered them a deal. He would allow himself to be sealed within a sword, so that the humans would be given a chance to survive, and in return he would gain immortality at the price of his freedom. The humans quickly accepted the offer and the deed was done. Soon other noble beasts followed Verta's lead and were sealed within weapons to be wielded by the humans. With these weapons the humans fought back and repelled the Ferals. After peace was restored, this village was founded. Since that day, over six hundred years ago, the spirit weapons have been passed down from generation to generation. The wielders have protected these lands, both from evil men and the Ferals that to this day still seek to eradicate the human race."
Pausing for a moment the instructor looked across the group and smiled at the sight of them all taking in every word he spoke with rapturous attention.
"That, as you all know, is why we are here today. Every five years a new group is chosen to become wielders. Each of you stands here today because you were found to have those qualities which are necessary to wield the spirit weapons and protect this land. All of you have already come of age. You have left behind childish games and ideas. You have also parted with many friends that are younger than you. After today, you will truly be set apart. You will live on these grounds, you will train day and night, past the point of exhaustion. You will gaze into the fissure of death and see that which those you left behind could never imagine."
The instructor stopped again, judging the reactions of his audience. He noted the faces of those who had stopped breathing, so consumed by the image of their lives to come that they dared not take in air and ruin it. He also noted, with a bit more interest, those who's look could only be described as barely contained enthusiasm, the way they seemed to want to push him aside and run forward, if only to greet their fates that much sooner.
"Before we proceed, you will now be given a chance to turn back. To return to the life that you are accustomed to. You will not be judged, however, you not be given this chance ever again. If you wish to leave, turn and do so now, but be sure to not look back as you do."
The instructor watched the group. The tension in the air grew with each passing second. A boy on the edge of the group seemed almost ready to step back but took a deep breath and strengthened his resolve. Inwardly the instructor breathed a sigh of relief. Had the boy faltered any further he would have been pulled aside later and asked to leave. There was no room for a wielder that lacked courage. He let a few more seconds pass before suddenly clapping his hands in front of him. He took a perverse pleasure at the sight of the young men and women before him jumping as the sound cut through the tension and filled the room.
"Now, please follow me." The instructor turned and led the group through a large pair of thick, wooden doors.
On the other side of the doors Cor froze in place. Before him was a massive circular room. The walls of the room curved upward, coming together to form a dome nearly
one-hundred feet above them. Every twenty feet up the walls there were ledges that ran the circumference of the room. Ladders led from one level to the next, gaining a gentle slope as they neared the top of the room. Lining the wall on each level were hundreds of weapons of all different shapes and sizes. From swords to spears to bows and tonfas, all of them were carefully laid on decorative racks. Armed guards stood at even intervals around each level. Cor had never seen anything like it before in his life. A slight “Whoa” escaped his lips. The instructor waited to let the group catch their breath before continuing his speech.
“This is the Chamber of the Resting Spirits. It is in this room that all the dormant spirit weapons are kept. This is also the largest room in the entire mausoleum. Now, if you will all line up from oldest to youngest, we can get to the more important part of this day.”
As the group rearranged Cor found himself at the far end of the line. It was only then that he noticed that at the center of the chamber was a wooden table with a wide assortment of weapons spread across it. As if to confirm what he was thinking, the instructor began to speak again.
“Before you is a table. On that table are the spirit weapons that have been selected to be used at this time. Each of those weapons has existed since long before your grandfather’s grandfather was born. When it is your turn, you will go to that table and select the weapon that you wish to have. Choose wisely, once you have chosen you can never go back. We will start with the oldest first as they have had to wait the longest for this day. First up, Nevel Andreas.”
Nevel, a seventeen year old boy with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, stepped forward and proceeded to the table. Without hesitation he reached down and grabbed a long spear. Without a word he returned to his place in line.
Next up was Saria Ironson. Only a few months younger than Nevel, Saria stood several inches above the rest of the group. Her blond hair was wrapped up in a tight ball atop her head. She strode forward and after a moment of consideration selected a pair of scimitars sheathed together in an ornate piece of leather.
John Sitman was the next in line. His red hair and freckles had often made him the brunt of teasing. He had always opted to take it with a straight face and not try to defend himself, so it was a bit of a surprise when he chose a longsword as his weapon. As he took his place in line he shot Nevel a toothy grin.
Simon Rooste stepped forward before his name was even called. He made his way to the table and carefully studied the sacred objects before him. His eyes lit up as he spotted the Kusarigama
. Grasping the handle in one hand and gently spinning the weighted chain with the other he made his way back to the line.
Kim Retherson failed to step forward when her name was called. The instructor cleared his throat and called it a little louder. This time Kim jumped.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She made her way to the table and picked up a bow. Not seeing any arrows to accompany it she quickly made her way back.
The Wihtler triplets, Ray, Edmond, and William, all of whom where identical to each other, walked forward together, much to the instructor’s disapproval. They reached the table at the same time and simultaneously reached for the same pair of tonfas
. For a moment the three conversed between themselves. Finally Ray grabbed the tonfas, Edmond chose a battle ax, and William picked up a shortsword. Cor looked on in confusion as he tried to sort out who was who.
Cor glanced at the remaining two members of the group and back at the table. He was sure that by the time he got to choose, there would be no good weapons left. Kayli, a girl not much older then he, smiled when he looked at her. He was pretty sure that she had a crush on him but he had never bothered to get to know her. As she stepped forward, the thought crossed his mind that he should ask her to see if there was anything good left, but before he could ask she was already at the table holding a pair of curved daggers. Cor let out a silent sigh. Why did he have to be the youngest one here?
Hethro Adortman Gerathal III stepped forward. Cor’s blood ran cold as the closest thing to a rival he had move for the weapons. Cor didn’t know what made his blood boil and freeze at the same time whenever he saw Hethro, but he knew it was something about the way he talked and acted when he was around those he considered to be beneath him. Of course, this included every person standing in the room, his parents, the village elders, and several gods and deities that were rumored to exist. Hethro sauntered to the table and, with all the grace of a hungry tiger, snatched a rapier and, with a smug look on his face, returned to his position.
Now that it was Cor’s turn, he found that it took every ounce of will power to force his legs to move. As he neared the table images of there not being any weapons left filled his mind. Already he could hear the mocking laughter of everyone in the room as he found that he was the butt of the cruelest joke ever played out. But his fears were for naught. As he drew closer he saw plainly that there were in fact two weapons left to choose from.
The first one caught his eye immediately. It was a beautiful sword, sheathed in gold and partially wrapped in a silvery cloth. The hilt was encrusted with a plethora of valuable jewels. Cor wondered why such a spectacular weapon was not chosen earlier. He slowly reached out, but as his hand approached the weapon he got a strange feeling that the sword itself was worthless. He paused for a moment. Was it just his imagination? Cautiously he withdrew his hand and looked at the second weapon. It was instantly obvious why this one had not been chosen. The weapon was a katana but was in bad shape. The sheath was cracked and dented; the decorative leather that had once encased it was worn and torn in many places. The hilt of the weapon was chipped and discolored. Even as he looked at it Cor wondered if this was some kind of joke. Perhaps an error on the part of whoever was supposed to set these weapons out. But at the same time he couldn’t help but feel a certain draw to the old sword. It was as if he could feel a yearning to be held emanating from it. With one last glance at the golden sword, Cor reached down and grabbed the katana. A small jolt of energy passed through his arm. He flinched but did not drop his new sword. Had the others experienced that too? They had showed no sign. If they had and not spoken then he wouldn’t either. Cor quickly returned to his place. The instructor walked forward and picked up the golden sword.
“Well, I see you all passed the final test.” He glanced back at the group, even as a small murmur began to circulate among them. “Let me explain. You may think that you chose your weapon, but the truth is, they chose you. If you are not attuned to the spirit within the weapon, you will never be able to truly wield it. This sword, though beautiful, is empty. If you had chosen a weapon by appearance only, then you would have chosen this one. But, you didn’t. Congratulations, you are now ready to become wielders. The last stop is just ahead. Please proceed through those doors and await further instructions.
((Added more))((@V For whatever reason, the forum software failed to add the spaces in front of the first sentence of each paragraph making some of the paragraphs run together, hopefully this edit will fix that. As for the story, I plan to explore more of the history as the story goes on. There are also a few twists on the way to liven the basic idea up a bit. Thanks for the feed back.))