Thursday, August 23, 2012
Short Story In Works #1: Legend of Mariel
Before you, you see a small green dragon drawing in the dirt with a wicked looking dagger that is glistening with a small amount of venom. Slowly she looks up with a sparkle in her eyes. As she turns to you, she beckons you to stay and listen to her story, her history.
As you take a seat on the ground next to her, two other dragons run up to you. One is red, one green, and their features are very much similar. They look at you then their gaze shifts to the dragon with the dagger.
"Mariel," they shout, "are you telling your story?"
The first dragon, Mariel smiled, "Marque, Mora calm yourselves. We have a guest in the midst. I apologize for my brother Marque and my sister Mora."
The first green dragon smiled. She looked at the drawing on the ground and roared with disgust as she planted her dagger into the design. Then she picked up her dagger and applied a new coat of venom.
Smiling once again, she looks your way and says, "My name is Mariel, this is my story." She hugged her siblings and proclaims "this is our history!"
"Over a thousand moons have past since I was able to escape the clutches of a clan who called themselves Venari. They live and rule on Dominia, a land which is not safe for any but their own. Since before I hatched, our kind was hunted. Our parents were slain and destroyed. However, there was one soul in Venari who saw our eggs as trophies. That soul had no knowledge that I was about to hatch."
"One warm day, I was lucky to be able to hatch without being watched. Gingerly, I crawled out of my shell, making great care not to disturb anyone. As I looked around, I saw two small eggs, lying next to the remains of mine. I sat there for a small time, looking over them, watching, and praying that they would be safe."
Mariel took a deep breath, and hugged her siblings, before continuing on.
"As I looked around the room, I saw something that made me want to roar in complete disgust, though my lungs are still too small to do so. All I made was the sound that a little mouse might make. On the floor just below where I had just hatched from was a trophy like no others in the room. It was of two dragons, one deep emerald, and the other a fiery red, laying next to a small egg. My heart fluttered, I felt a pull of attraction to the pair of dragons- my body was telling me that these dragons were once my parents."
A single tear welled up in Mariel's eye. She kissed the forehead of her siblings and drew them in closer before continuing.
"As I gazed down at the trophy, I saw soft glistening cloud of two colors. I could feel the warmth from my mother's breath, and I could sense my father gazing down on me. It was then that I knew what I must do: grow strong and follow the souls of my parents, so that I could rescue my siblings. As I gazed a little longer at the mist, I thought that I heard something coming. I quickly kissed the two eggs as I pushed the remains of my egg off the table and jumped down. As I glanced back at my parents and the table top, the door to the room opened. I heard someone softly whisper in my soul the words 'Go... Go NOW!' I felt a tug of sadness at leaving as I quickly fled from the room.
"As I dashed down the halls, I heard 'STOP!', but I knew that I mustn't. I knew that I would become a trophy to display as well if I stopped. With each second that passed, I knew that I was headed in the right direction towards freedom.
"As I turned the last corner, I skidded to a stop. I saw before me two large Venari members. One stood with greater poise than the other; he looked as if he were the leader of this horrendous clan. I quickly crept into a dark corner to listen to what was being said.
"I heard them talk about a loose hatchling, running towards the gates. As they stood there, the one with a greater voice said 'Merlyn, go hunt, bring me this thing who dares to run in my halls.' The one named Merlyn bowed deeply, saying 'I shall milord. Thank you, Lord Kazimerias. This creature shall not escape me.'"
"A few seconds passed. As I looked around, I saw no one; it appeared that both the warriors left. Quietly, I made my last quick dash towards freedom. As I ran, Kazimerias rounded the corner vigilantly speaking words I didn't understand. As I watched him small blue sparks grew from his palm of his hand, creating what appeared to be lightning. It sparked as it grew larger into a ball, a bright destructive ball of lightning. As he took aim at me, there was a great cloud that surrounded me - the souls of my parents were still with me. They cloaked my presence with theirs to give me the extra seconds to escape from their hall, and into the forest nearby.
"Deeper I ran until at last I felt that I might be safe. I slowly began to walk toward a very large tree, to come up with a way that I could rescue my family from the hall. As I leaned against the tree, I noticed a glint of silver among the leaves.
"Carefully I dug around, and eventually saw a small but deadly dagger. On the hilt of the dagger, there was a strange symbol and two small stones, one emerald and one ruby. I dropped the blade, and began to look around to see if this was something from a fallen warrior. Finding nothing, I looked at the blade again. I heard a soft voice say 'Mariel.' I looked around to see who hand spoken, but I found myself alone. 'Mariel,' the voice said, 'the blade is yours, be strong, be silent, and be quick, and remember, remember your past, little Mariel.' I picked up the blade once again. The symbol was not a strange pattern, but two dragons, entwined around the stones.
"This was how I gained my name, and my first dagger. Both were presented to me by my parents' souls," Mariel said proudly.
She looked at her siblings, and told them to rest for awhile. Patting their heads, she went back to her story.
"As night began to fall, I saw a soft green glow that was my father's image, bouncing before me as if he wanted me to follow. I knew he would lead me to someplace where Venari would not be able to touch me, and where I would be able to train, strengthening myself against them. In my mind I saw an image of someplace safe and dry in the heart of town. I had never seen this place before, but I knew my parents wanted and needed me to go so that's where I headed. Finally we came upon a great city, with large stone walls."
"As I ran to the center of town, I heard someone yell 'Killer!' Quietly I ducked around a corner. I thought that I had avoided this killer, but instead I ran right into him. As fast as I could, I looked for someplace safe to go. As I looked around the only place I could go was up a set of grand stairs."
"From the top of the stairs, I watched as a dragon and Merlyn battled. Merlyn was faster then the dragon, and like Kazimerias kept whispering words and destructive balls of lighting and fire flew from his palms destroying anything that was in its path. After Merlyn killed the dragon he set about stealing gold, jewels, armor, potions, and anything else he could carry. When he was satisfied with his prizes, he said spoke more words that I had never heard before and the rest of the corpse disintegrated and Merlyn seemed to grow stronger.
"I slowly crumpled into a heap and began to mourn the loss of another dragon. In that room I made a promise that they would play for what they did.
"As I mourned, I slipped into a deep sleep. I dreamt of my mother and my father. They told me that before I could take my full revenge, I would need to train and drive myself to the fullest extent. They informed me that I would age much slower than other dragons, and that if I helped someone that they may not help till I least expected it. I was told that the building I stood befor was a place for training, and that I should use it until I outgrew its uses. I was shown a clan who hated Venari and when the right time came they would welcome me with open arms. I was told of a god who would help me with my quest of revenge on Venari.
"Slowly my parents disappeared into the mist off of the western shore as I awoke from my rest. I wandered around this great area seeing that there were many things to kill. I followed this path for over fifty moons. Each day that passed reminded me why I chose this life; I saw more blood, and much more of Venari and their killings. When I was 4, I decided to wander away from this traning area, and see what else I could kill; I wandered into a place called The Gingerbread House. I asked someone if I might survive hunting there, and they laughed at me.
"Each time someone told me that I couldn't, I tried anyway. I spent my days and nights testing what I could and couldn't kill. I found out that I was able to train in areas that others my age couldn't. Others also saw this and tried to take advantage of me. Some I chose to help, but if they talked of joining Venari, I refused, for Venari put hatred in me when they killed my parents and tried to kill me.
"Finally after a hundred moons, I reached the point of joining the clan my parents showed me. I slowly wandered towards the great Hall in the West. I tentatively knocked on the doors. I stood there, feeling that someone or something was watching me, and as I peeked over my shoulder, I heard a voice say, 'Come in child, The Kenshi have been expecting you.' I looked up to see a man standing before me. He had a kind face and a smile. As he opened the doors wider, I saw a great hall."
"As I walked through the doors to the hall, I heard many things. There was talk about the Venari clan; there were whispers of the one who survived. I later found out that they were talking about me. I also saw the man who opened the door give a small leather pouch to another person. I was told that the man who opened the doors and welcomed me was a man by the name of Courage. He was the great leader of that time. Later Courage told me of what the leather pouch contained: 10,000 gold pieces. The wager was against my being able to escape Venari, while I trained and before I came of age. Courage lost that bet when I walked up to their clan doors.
"The moons passed quickly like leaves floating in the wind. Each day I trained in the arts of killing. I kept myself moving, always working towards my goal of avenging my parents. I was out training, when a young Venari came into the same area. I knew that he would kill all of the mobs that I was practicing on. Silently, I tucked myself into a hollow of a nearby tree. From there I waited for the Venari to walk past me and start fighting a small bear nearby. I used my theiving skills to approach this young Venari. Just as he killed the bear and bent to skin his prey, I planted my venom coated blade into his back. As my blade broke his skin, the Venari screamed out in pain. I pulled my blade out, stepping back into a defensive stance, and as the Venari stood up he swung his sword at me, I parried to the right only missing the very tip of his sword. As he stood to regain his footing I stepped forward slicing my dagger across his chest. As my blade touched his skin again, he screamed even louder. While my fight was going on, I heard shouts around me, Venari cheering this young one on, yelling that I don't have enough moons under my belt to kill someone who is far more skilled and aged. The more I heard from their mouths, the more I hated this one lone killer.
"During the fight I began to wonder if I would succeed. I kept hearing everyone's cries and shouts and knew if this fight continued, there would be others to help this small Venari. I needed to end it, and quickly. While we parried for a few more rounds, I saw the opening I needed. Smoothly I stepped to the left into the small space next to him and dragged my bloody blade across his neck, finally killing him. While this Venari died from my blade, I cleaned my dagger of his blood on his shirt and waited, unlike Venari, I wouldn't destry a corpse. I gave the corpse a guard until I heard the movement in the trees, I snuck quietly out of the area.
"When I arrived back in my home of Kenshi, I was greeted with great cheers of success. Everyone was excited I actually killed someone many moons older than I. For many more moons my life continued in this fashion, killing those who hated where I came from, until one morning, I awoke with a feeling that something was wrong, very wrong. As I rounded a corner in the hall, I noticed my leader arguing with another clan mate. I watched in horror as that clan mate killed my leader and guardian. I prayed to my parents for guidance, and I was led to the shore of my home. As I sat on the dock waiting for the next boat across the great waters, I listened to what my parent's souls were telling me.
"I heard them talk to me about a younger sister I would meet on the land called Terra, who would need my help, and of a clan called Justice. I was told that Justice would help me rescue my siblings from Venari's grasps and help me protect my little sister on Terra."
She paused for a few seconds to hug her siblings closer to her.
"Soon the ferry arrived, and my parent's souls urged for me to board. As I got onto the ship, I was told more about clan Justice, and their rules. I learned that my worshiping a certain god wasn't allowed. So on the ferry, I chose a new god, a god that would help me stay alive. After I landed on Terra, I joined the clan Justice and hunted those killers in Venari and my past clan Kenshi. I felt lost in a sea of venom, lost beyond my time until the day I found my little sister. She was so tiny. I knew her time on this land was limited. I attempted to help her grow stronger, but alas she kept getting weaker. After what seemed like a lifetime, my little sister just faded away. I lost her to the cruelty around us."
Mariel looked up, with a tear in her eye and said, "Our little sister is remembered by the soul that floats with me. Her name was lost when she left this world, but her soul joined our parents and they all still watch over us." Mariel took a ragged breath as she hugged her siblings.
"After I joined Justice, I learned that Terra was home to two more clans: Kindred, who were more killers, and Seeker, a peace loving clan. I did whatever I could to protect Justice and Seeker members. There were many times when I was almost killed, but family's spirits kept me strong. As I learned new thieving traits, I heard of a new green dragon escaping Venari's halls. I knew that I needed to travel to my old home to help my sibling to safer grounds.
"I grabbed my traveling pack and asked the clan for supplies that I might need to help transport a small red dragon. I was given over 1,000 gold pieces and directions to a small hide-out on Dominia that I could use. When I was about to land on Dominia I heard shouts coming from land. It appeared as if someone told Venari that I was coming home and they had created a welcoming party.
"I knew that time was precious, I silently made a small dragon form sleeping in one of the estate rooms on the ship. Then I climbed off the ship and swam to shore a few stone throws south. From the beach I watched as the Venari and Kenshi stormed the ship looking for me. I stifled my laughter for fear of them hearing me, delighting in the knowledge that they wouldn't find me. As they searched the ship, I snuck away. I was more than five stone throws away when I heard a scream of anguish and hatred. They had found my 'sleeping form.' I heard screams of pain as I ran though the trees towards the center of town. I ran from one end of town to the next sneaking and hiding when needed. All the while I searched desperately for a small red dragon. I prayed that I would find her on my way to the Justice outpost. As I wandered, looking over the now slightly damp directions from my clan mates, I stumbled into a small grove of children. As I wandered around the area I heard a soft roar and a cry of fright from a small child. When I turned the corner there was a small green dragon fighting what looked to be a large troll bully. When I looked closer I saw features I had seen before - it was the green dragon I had been looking for.
"As I watched the fighting continue, I heard the soft voice of my mother say one word to me, she said, 'Marque.' When the young dragon had killed the troll, I stepped quite noisily and said 'Marque?' The young dragon quickly turned while raising his palm he said those magical words he had previously used to win his battle. 'Wait' I cried, 'My name is Mariel. I have come to help you.'"
Mariel pause in her story, turned to Marque while saying, "I still love you, even though you tried to attack me."
Marque quickly ducked his head, while uttering apologies to Mariel. Smiling Mariel went back to telling her story.
"Marque questioned my knowing his name, and was suspicious of my wanting to help. 'Why do you want to help me? How do you know my name?' 'I heard of a small green dragon escaping the Halls of Venari,' I said to Marque. 'I am the only other dragon to do so, and when I had escaped there were two more whole eggs in the Venari treasure room.' I heard a small gasp come from Marque before he spoke again. 'It was your shell fragments I saw under that table? But you still haven't answered my questions.' I stopped to listen to the sounds around us, before answering Marque further. 'I'll answer your questions once we get to the Justice Outpost, but for now Kenshi and Venari are hunting me. So we must be quick.' Marque and I fled from that area in search of the Justice outpost and hoped we would find someplace safe to sleep that night after we answered each other's questions.
"Our run to the Outpost was a short one; Marque was training right by my Outpost. We spent the rest of that day talking about our escapes. We found out that we are both guided by family members. Our father tends to guide me, while our mother guides Marque. We both fled the Venari Hall and ended up in the same forest at the same tree that I found my dagger. Marque didn't find a dagger, but he found something more powerful for him, a spell book.
"Later that evening, we quietly gathered supplies for our boat ride home. Since Venari couldn't find us inland I knew that they would be waiting for us by the docks. In the past, both Kenshi and Venari would call demons and beasts to do their bidding. This way they would be able to kill anyone at any stage in their life, even those like Marque who had not come of age. In my travels though Dominia, I saw old and new wanted posters for me and new ones for Marque. Venari was offering 50,000 gold pieces for my hide and 10,000 for Marque's.
"Before the next dawn broke, Marque and I quietly prayed that our fallen family would help us get to the ferry without any bloodshed. We snuck though town and into the mountains that sat between us and home. I already knew that we couldn't climb onto the ship from the sea, so we had to use the dock and leave ourselves exposed.
To be continued...